Vatican introduces high-tech rosary

Click to Pray, a prayer initiative started by the Jesuits, has developed a companion eRosary that is actually a wearable digital device that operates through an app on your cell phone (Think: Smart Rosary). While it currently is not available to the U.S. market, we can offer a bit of a background and a sneak peek.

For 175 years, a Vatican apostolate overseen by the Jesuits has taken on the task of making the pope’s monthly prayer intentions (always centered on world-wide concerns) not only known throughout the world but acted upon. This is because the most effective missionary effort is prayer. Hence, the name of the apostolate: The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

Catholic APPtitude has offered the apostolate’s Click to Pray app as a recommended prayer app. This new digital rosary device works as a companion to that app and as an extension of the Click to Pray mission of getting the world to pray not only for the pope’s stated prayer intentions, but for peace in our world. It is that latter intention which is the focus of the intention for the new rosary.

Because the new digital wearable rosary is an extension of that apostolate, other themed content is heavily dependent upon the pope’s choice of prayer intentions for the world.

The Vatican made the announcement introducing the high-tech rosary on October 15, thereby offering its endorsement for the product offered in conjunction with Vatican Media.

This rosary fits a need in the rosary app world which sufferers from the obvious lack of tactile beads given the two-dimensional nature of your phone or tablet’s monitor. A vibration with each advanced “virtual” bead doesn’t cut it for many users. So even though we don’t have an actual sample to test, let’s look at some of this rosary’s features:

  • water-resistant smart rosary bracelet connected via Bluetooth
  • offers traditional rosary meditations as well as various themed meditations
  • Offers a variety of lovely music selections or sound effects suitable for meditation which can also be turned off
  • tracks health data like number of steps taken (so you can ditch your step counter device)
  • made of ten black agate and hematite beads and a polished cross that does not have a corpus on it–Uni -sex and Uni-religion styling.
  • offers daily meditations/actions based on Gospel principles
  • includes instructions on how to pray the rosary
  • tracks your bead count
  • tracks how many rosaries you prayed
  • Tracks your time spent in prayer
  • geo-tracking shows on a map where members are praying in real time throughout the world–always a cool feature
  • tracks numbers of prayers on a given day
  • Price/availability –the rosary is now available for pre-order (not in the U.S.) on Amazon and Acer in Italy for 99 euros (approximately $109 U.S.) However, It is not yet available for shipment to the United States.

Assessment thus far…

A very cool idea, indeed, that fits well into the rosary app market. However, it is apparent that to use this as intended, you’d have to occupy both your hands–one to advance the rosary beads and one to follow the app.

While I don’t have the actual rosary to try out, I can see a couple disturbing glaring omissions:

  • No corpus (body of Christ) on the cross
  • Nowhere in any of the materials or in the press release is the word, Catholic, mentioned. Not once. (Please alert me if I missed it).
  • “Mysteries” are also referred to as “Gospel Stories”

So, I’m concerned about minds that would produce a rosary to … not offend anyone? Not sure how else to put it. The themes, dictated by the pope, address material/physical elements of the world, but not conversion of the human soul for salvation. Some folks have expressed concern over the themes offered, but the traditional or “standard” mysteries are always an option, of course, for you to pray as you wish.

Say what?! And then there’s this text from the app, so the jury is still out.

Here’s a video overview of the smart rosary.

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Categories: Blog for Catholic Apptitude

Author:Jennifer Kane

Content Evangelist, Jennifer Kane, is a secular Carmelite (OCDS), wife, mother, grandmother who worked for more than 30 years in marketing/communications holding degrees in Journalism/Communication (BA) and English (MA) from St. Bonaventure University. She authored the Vatican application for minor basilica status in 2016 for The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Olean, New York from which stemmed her history book of the basilica, A Place Set Apart. She previously authored the book, A Worthy and Capable Clergyman, the second part of this book in a slightly different format. She is founder and editor of the website, CatholicAPPtitude.org, the #1 English language website cataloging/reviewing Catholic apps for mobile devices.

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