Fort Worth seminarian creates ‘iConfess,’ an app to help with confession
SAINT BENEDICT, La. – Do you have trouble remembering your sins when you go to confession? Are you ready to go to confession, but you don’t know where the nearest parish is? Worry no more; there’s an app for that!
The app “iConfess: Confession Guide” is now available for iOS users to download from the Apple App Store. An Android version is not yet available, but the app’s creator, Saint Joseph Seminary College student Xavier Polisetty, said he hopes to change that within a few months.
“Confession is such an important sacrament for us as Catholics, and yet it can be intimidating and difficult to go to regularly,” said Polisetty, a seminarian from the Diocese of Fort Worth. He said he created this app to help break down those barriers.
“iConfess” walks the user through the steps of making a good confession and includes a thorough examination of conscience, allowing the user to keep track of sins that need to be confessed.
The app’s features also allow the user to:
- Find confession times at a parish near their current location. The user can sort by start time, distance, and language.
- Set reminders to create a variety of spiritual habits. The user can set reminders to go to confession, read the Bible, pray the Rosary, read Mass readings, sacrifice something, and complete the daily examination of conscience. He or she can also set custom notifications.
- Generate a prayer for any situation to inspire a conversation with God.
This free app has no advertisements on it, meaning Polisetty does not make any money from it. “That would take away from the experience,” he said. “I really just want this to help people.”
Polisetty graduated from Texas A&M University last May with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He arrived at Saint Joseph Seminary College in August and enrolled in the two-year pre-theology program, which offers the basic requirements in philosophy and undergraduate theology that are necessary for entrance into the theologate.
“I always thought I might be called to be a priest, and the feeling has never gone away,” he said. “But technology has always fascinated me, so I chose to go to A&M, where I could study computer science while still exploring my vocation.
“The Catholic student center there is really strong, and over those four years I made good Catholic friends, and I developed a stronger relationship with the Lord,” he added.
“Experiencing the Lord’s grace through confession at Texas A&M made me want to share this incredible gift that God has given us, and that was the inspiration for this app. When I graduated, I had a much stronger prayer life built on the sacraments, and I was ready to make the jump to the seminary,” he continued.
Polisetty began working on “iConfess” following graduation, then once he settled into seminary life he approached President-Rector Fr. Gregory Boquet, OSB, about using his pastoral assignment time to continue its development. Each seminarian has a pastoral assignment during the school year, either on campus or in the community.
“I’ve always wanted to use my technology skills for the Lord, and so I thought it would be a good application (pun intended) for my pastoral assignment. It was reassuring to see Fr. Gregory’s whole-hearted support for it, which gave me time that I could dedicate to working on it. Most of all though, I am thankful for all the help God has given me as I worked on this, from a supportive family to even giving me some divinely inspired debugging ideas,” he said.
Polisetty first released the app in February but didn’t tell anyone outside of his family. He then continued debugging code, working out rough edges and improving features. He also added the prayer component using ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbox. He released the updated version of the app earlier this month.
“iConfess” is Polisetty’s second app. He also created “10MB: Time Tracking, Made Easy,” which lets users track their time in 10-minute blocks and allows them to see how they are actually spending their free time and to make changes, if needed.
By Sandy Cunningham, Manager of Communications and Marketing, Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College