Interview: “Alvaro Daily”

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Arnil Paras and Ace Bonita are the developers behind the popular new app “Alvaro Daily”.

Based in the Philippines, Arnil and Ace launched an app early this year dedicated to Venerable Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, Prelate of Opus Dei and Successor of St. Josemaria Escriva.

Arnil is a lecturer of politics and economics at the University of Asia and the Pacific and Ace is a software developer working with one of the leading local software companies in the Philippines.

“Alvaro Daily” is seeing great success around the world. And, Arnil and Ace have more in store as this year marks the centennial of Alvaro del Portillo’s birth and his beatification on September 27, 2014 in Madrid.

The St. Josemaria Institute is grateful to Arnil and Ace for their exciting initiatives and for this special interview:

Q:  How did the idea of the Alvaro Daily app develop?

Ace: One day Arnil sent me a text sounding very eager about a project, which he said will make a difference in the world. I’m not usually gullible, but for whatever reason I fell for this one. So I agreed to meet up. He introduced the idea of launching an app devoted to Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, success of St. Josemaria, in the hope that it will spread devotion for this holy man. I figured it wasn’t such a bad idea – so we did it!

Arnil: The idea came initially as a “suggestion” during a day of nonchalant daydreaming. Later, that “suggestion” turned into a strong determination that I had to do the project. Easily, Ace came to mind as the person to collaborate with as he is a fantastic programmer.  

Q:  Making resolutions and Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, how did that come together?

Arnil: One of the features of the app is a resolution tracking system. It helps you fulfill your resolution and allows you to trace your progress over the week, which you can change at any point in time if you wish. The link between Bishop Alvaro and resolutions seemed very clear to us. He is someone who inspires fidelity to one’s vocation, and this fidelity really redounds to being heroic in our daily resolutions. In other words, the vocation of everyday little things! He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much, as the gospel reminds us.

Q:  What have been the immediate results and responses to the initiative? Have they been expected or unexpected?

Ace: We didn’t quite expect the deluge of support we’ve received worldwide in such a short period of time. Thus far, the app has been downloaded in over 40 different countries in the world. It has also been featured by www.opusdei.org and www.stjosemaria.org. Thanks to the generosity of the people behind these websites, many more people are finding out about the app. And of course, how can we fail to thank the support of individuals who share the app by posting it on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Alvaro_Daily_App 

Q:  Is “Alvaro Daily” linked to a specific effort or cause?

Ace: Arnil and I agreed early on in the project that we’d like to help in the completion of Saxum, an international conference center and multimedia resource center located just outside of Jerusalem, which is being constructed in honor of Don Alvaro, whom St. Josemaria called Saxum (the rock). It’s perfect for pilgrims who want to encounter Jesus Christ in the places where he walked, prayed, made friends and lived a significant part of his earthly life. We’d like to donate part of our proceeds to this worthwhile project.

You can visit their website www.saxum.org if you’d like to know more about it.

Q:  What other projects do you have planned linked to Alvaro del Portillo, especially for his upcoming beatification?

Arnil: We’re focused on improving the app based on user feedback. We have received quite a number of positive responses as well as constructive criticisms. Both are very much welcome. They inspire us to continue improving our product. For instance, we are updating the app to include videos, photos and articles about Bishop Alvaro. We’re hoping to launch these new features on the day of his birth centenary (March 11). So to our users, please update your apps and let us know what you think!

We’re also planning to expand to the Android market. Hopefully we can issue one soon. Unfortunately, we don’t have a specific date yet.

As for the beatification, you can be sure we’re planning a surprise!

Q:  What do you believe is the one thing the world needs to know about Ven. Alvaro del Portillo?

Arnil: Fidelity! St. Josemaria founded Opus Dei to spread the message that we are all called to become holy in and through our ordinary life. Bishop Alvaro was a close and faithful collaborator of his, who showed us that by being loyal to one’s vocation, we become happy and secure in the hands of God. Sometimes we can fall into the thinking that our vocation is the source of difficulty. But Don Alvaro’s life precisely corrects this mistaken view – our vocation is a source of purpose and joy.

Ace: I agree with Arnil. I would only add that Bishop Alvaro is also a person of deep humility. Obviously, I didn’t meet him personally (I’m not that old). But based on the anecdotes I’ve heard from people who met him and the books I’ve read about him, he was a person of deep humility – the kind that leads you to depend more on God and less on oneself. St. Paul’s words “For when I am weak, then I am strong” come to mind when I read about his life.

Q:  If people are interested in the app or more information where can they go?

Arnil: If they’d like to view the app in the app store, they can follow this link for the English version (http://bit.ly/1ewtlw8) and this other link for the Spanish version (http://bit.ly/1kv1Xie).

We also have a YouTube video about the app which they can share with others:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai-VEytWR7Q

Ace: We also have a website where they can sign up in case they’d like to receive an email newsletter about Bishop Alvaro del Portillo and his beatification: www.alvarodaily.com

Lastly, we have an internship program for undergraduate students as marketing officers. We accept people from all parts of the world. We have someone from Ecuador, Spain and the Philippines at the moment, but we’re happy to accept more. In case you’re interested to know more about it, email me at devapps@alvarodaily.com. 

This article is intended for the free use of readers and may not be copied or reproduced without permission from the St. Josemaria Institute (info@stjosemaria.org).  Photos provided courtesy of © Alvaro Daily

Father C. John McCloskey, III, STD is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei. He currently is Research Fellow of the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, DC.

His articles, reviews, and doctoral thesis, all of which are archived at Catholicity.com, have been published in major Catholic and secular periodicals, including Catholic World Report, First Things, L’Osservatore Romano, the Wall Street Journal, National Catholic Register, the Washington Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and ACEPRENSA.

St. Josemaria Institute
The St. Josemaria Institute was founded in 2006 to promote the life, teachings, and devotion to St. Josemaria Escriva among all men and women who desire to find meaning and happiness in their daily lives by growing closer to God. The St. Josemaria Institute produces and distributes digital and print media as a means to spread Christian values around the world and to help people navigate and live well in the digital age.

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