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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pastoral Care for iPhone – Review

Pastoral Care in iTunes Store
After greatly appreciating Concordia Publishing House's Pray Now App for iOS devices, I was eager to try PastoralCare App. The Pastoral Care App is a $19.95 purchase from the iTunes store. There also is an app for Android devices that was not tested.

Starting the PastoralCare App
The PastoralCare App is started like every other application for iOS by tapping the icon. Unlike most iOS applications, PastoralCare does not display a splash screen while starting, giving the application a somewhat unfinished feel.

PastoralCare App after starting
Once started the PastoralCare app presents the user with the Rites found in the Pastoral Care Companion. At the bottom of the screen, icons help the user navigate to other resources in the app. 

Communion of the Sick and Homebound
Once a particular rite is selected, the content from the Pastoral Care Companion is displayed.

Another very handy feature of the PastoralCare App is the complete Pericopes for both the Three-year series and the One-year series. A handy feature of the application is that it figures out the calendar for you. If you can't remember if it is the First Sunday after Christmas or another feast, the application figures it for you. Clicking on the readings gives you the full text from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible.

A Selection of Hymns
The PastoralCare App also contains the text of 171 hymns from Lutheran Service Book. This is a very helpful feature.

Bookmarking Feature

The application also offers a bookmarking feature.

Final Thoughts

The PastoralCare app is a good addition to Concordia Publishing House's digital resources. The app lacks some of the polish of other iOS apps but the the content is impecable. One advertised feature of the PastoralCare app, the playing of the Psalm tones did not work on my devices. Either I could not figure out how to make it work, or there is a compatibility issue with iOS 5. I suspect this will be corrected in a future update. Potential customers should be aware that this is not a universal application. It is designed for the iPhone in particular and not the iPad. While it does run on the iPad, it does not run at native resolution resulting in blocky text and graphics.

Screen Shot from iPad
Despite a couple of rough edges, the PastoralCare App is worth the purchase if you are in need of the resources in the Pastoral Care Companion. For someone who travels frequently and who is looking to reduce the number of books packed in my bag, this application is invaluable. It also would be very helpful for the pastor as he makes calls. Although not the target audience, the application has value for the lay person who wants a handy book of prayer and Scripture readings for a variety of life events. 

With the expansion of Concordia Publishing House's electronic resources, one can only hope that an electronic version of the Lutheran Service Book is in the wings. Of course, the development of additional electronic resources depends upon sales of existing product. If you own an iOS device and either are a pastor or an interested layperson, I highly encourage you to consider purchasing the PastoralCare app. Concordia Publishing House – keep the resources coming!

-- Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver


  1. I'd also love to have an electronic version of Lutheran Service Book. However, from comments I've seen on Facebook this is highly unlikely because of copyright issues. One thing I've toyed with is working with an iOS developer to develop a digital Lutheran hymnal with public domain texts (and tunes) from all of the commonly used Lutheran hymnals (CW, TLH, ELH, LSB, etc). You could even make indexes (indexes are factual data and cannot be copyrighted).

    1. wow, thanks for the info about is useful feature, I didn't know about it.

  2. Any chance you can cross-post this over at the Electric Sheep site?

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  4. You might want to consider applying some "spam filters" for your comments or moderating them. At least 3 of the above are spam that have nothing to do with discussion.

    Just a thought.

    -- Matt Dent

  5. Al, you can select other chant tones by tapping on the line of music displayed when that is featured in the App. It moved from tone to tone that way.

    Thanks for the review.