A new gaming app based on the popular Pokemon Go series, which invites people of all ages to search for saints and biblical figures, has left Pope Francis in “awe”.
The app, named Follow JC Go!, follows in the footsteps of Pokemon Go, the successful mobile game which has been downloaded around 800 million times and has gained over £1.5 billion in revenue since 2016.
Pokemon Go uses the mobile device GPS to locate, catch, battle and train virtual Pokemon. However, instead of catching the little Japanese creatures, Follow JC Go! allows players to roam the streets in search of saints, Marian devotions and biblical figures. The player will then interact with the saint or biblical figure and in order to ‘catch’ them they must correctly answer a question about them.
Fundación Ramón Pané, a Catholic evangelical group, created the app in preparation for World Youth Day 2019, which will take place in Panama from 22nd to 27th January.
Ricardo Grzona, executive director of Fundación Ramón Pané, revealed that Pope Francis had praised the app after he was recently introduced to it.
“You know Francis is not a very technological person, but he was in awe, he understood the idea, what we were trying to do: combine technology with evangelisation,” Grzona told Crux.
Forty-three designers, theologians, Bible experts, Church historians and engineers had produced the app over 32,000 hours since August 2016, Crux reported.
“Never has the Church had a project like this…this is the Catholic app with the most advanced technology there is,” said Grzona.
As well as searching for saints, the app will include a map with billboards containing short videos with biblical explanations.
When players pass through or near a hospital in real life, the app will also suggest that they stop and say a prayer for the sick as a work of mercy, Crux reported.
Follow JC Go! was recently launched in Spanish and will be available in English, Italian and Portuguese in the coming weeks.
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