‘Friar’ App Fosters Virtual Franciscan Prayer Group

Maria Hayes In the Headlines


NEW YORK — At the beginning of Advent, the Franciscan friars of the United States announced the launch of their new smart phone app, “Friar,” a virtual Franciscan prayer group that seeks to unite people across the country.

“The ‘Friar’ app allows people to post their prayers, as well as join in the prayers of others and have friars across the country and others pray for them. The app also allows people to have a candle lit for their prayer, or someone else’s prayer, in an actual Franciscan church,” said Fr. Tom Washburn, OFM, executive secretary of the English Speaking Conference of the Franciscan Order, of which the US Franciscans are a part.

The app has been well received so far, with more than 440 downloads in its first week according to Jim McIntosh, OFM, digital media director for the US Franciscans. The number of prayers posted on the app continues to grow hourly. Requests have ranged from very personal intentions — prayers for healing, prayers for employment — to broader requests, such as prayers for an end to violence around the world. Users receive notifications when their intentions have been prayed for by another individual.

“I am very pleased with the way the app has been quickly adopted by so many people,” said Jim. “It is gratifying to see how we can use modern technology to connect people requesting prayers with those who will pray for their intentions.”

In addition to prayer requests, the app also includes the latest news from USFranciscans.org.

“Friar” is available in the Apple App Store for iPhones and the Google Play Store for Android smartphones. There is no cost to install the app or to submit or join in prayer requests. There is a small fee to light a candle, which will be lit in a church staffed by the Franciscan friars. Half of the proceeds go to the churches that are lighting the candles to support their ministries. The other half of the proceeds is being used to cover the cost of developing the app, according to Jim. Once that fee has been paid, all funds will go to the charitable works of the seven American OFM provinces.

Created by the U.S. Digital Media Committee, USFranciscans.org was launched earlier this year to provide updates about the more than 1,000 Franciscan friars in the United States. Friars can access news about the revitalization and reconfiguration process through the Friars Only section of the website.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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