January 17, 2014

To be priest and 'geek'

PLATTSBURGH — If the exact wording of the Act of Contrition escapes you, there’s an app for that.

In the Digital Age, Catholics can tap an array of divine apps to become better Catholics.

Msgr. Robert H. Aucoin, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Potsdam, presented “Smartphone Your Way To Heaven” recently at St. Peter’s Church in Plattsburgh.

Aucoin, a self-identified “computer geek,” uses digital devices to assist him daily in his priestly duties.

“I just saw a practical application for it,” he said. “So smartphones, iPad, Droid tablets and all that are used for all kinds of purposes, and I wanted to show people there is a Catholic purpose, too. One of the main purposes is books, not just books to read but original resources for Catholics. For example, there are many different translations of the Bible. There are some apps that have all the different translations.”

The apps allow people to search easily for a reference.

“If they know a particular word found in the scripture, they can quickly search through the whole Bible to find that word.”

Aucoin’s computerization dates back to the late 1970s.

“I was a principal at a Catholic high school in Watertown,” he said. “My first use of the computer was scheduling students for classes. I used to do it by hand. Over the years with the Internet, it was just a much broader use for computer and I found many Catholic websites.”

In the 1990s, he wrote for Catholics on the Net and wrote a syndicated column that appeared in six Catholic newspapers.

“I started writing about those websites that were Catholic in nature and when smartphones began to be available, I started playing with it and found there were similar apps as I found on the computer. Some were the same. Having it in your pocket makes it that much more convenient because you don’t have to carry a computer around with you.”

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