This handout photo shows the Click to Pray eRosary, which is a rosary bracelet that connects to a smartphone application. The high tech rosary was unveiled at a Vatican news conference Oct. 15, 2019. CNS photo/courtesy Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network

Speaking Out: E-Rosary an option for new generation

By  Paula Ducepec, Youth Speak News
  • November 6, 2019

If there is an over-used excuse for neglecting our duty to pray the rosary, it would be busyness. 

We often say how, due to the busyness of every day, we arrive home tired and all we want to do is rest and sleep. Praying is often the one thing we forget or push aside for tomorrow as something that can wait — God is always there anyway. 

During the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October, the Vatican unveiled the “Click to Pray e-Rosary” technology. It’s an app-driven wearable device that teaches and reminds us how and when to pray the rosary, and other prayers, through audio guides, images and personalized content. Included in the app are prayers to aid in reflection and guide to prayer and focus. 

This is an attempt to make the rosary accessible for people on the go and for the newer generation to familiarize themselves with traditional prayers with a medium familiar with them.

So, I downloaded the app. (I do not, however, have the rosary bracelet device that is synchronized to the app). This app is like your spiritual Fitbit. Instead of telling you to get up and walk around, it tells you to stop what you are doing and pray. Through this accessory, it allows you to stay connected to your phone so you remain updated as to how many rosaries you have prayed and how long you have prayed. 

The app and the accessory is essentially a very good idea. Just like the apps we use daily, we are notified and kept up-to-date for something important. It’s prompting us to take time out of our busy day to give time for prayer and reflection. Because there are prayers within the app, we no longer have an excuse that we do not know what to pray for. Everything is already within reach. We could know if there is a specific intention for the Church that day and focus our hearts and minds to it and pray. 

The app also helps you learn how to pray. The connected rosary is activated by the Sign of the Cross, which signals the accompanying rosary prayers to begin. Clicking on an article gives you a quick rundown of what’s happening within a community or the Church as a whole. It is followed by a prayer that the Pope calls us to pray, a prayer offering and then a mission proposal that we could all do within our smaller communities.

But then again, it is new technology; this could still be distracting. This is definitely an upgrade from our grandmother’s wooden rosary bracelet that hangs about our wrist for as long as we can remember. And the app is definitely an upgrade from the prayer cards we buy from the store at the church basement. 

However, because it makes praying easy, my fear is that people could lose the essence of prayer; that is, taking yourself away from the world, staying in peace and quiet. Being on our phones, even in prayer, does not give us the chance to fully and properly go on a retreat or simply retreat.

Would I get the device? Maybe I won’t, but I would keep the app. The prayers on the app are sufficient enough to guide you along with your prayers throughout the day. The app shows you a message from Pope Francis, a prayer intention for the day and a guide as to how you can live your life accordingly. But I would stick to the traditional, albeit worn out, rosary that has been handed down for generations.

(Ducepec, 21, is a Bachelor of Science undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying Anthropology).

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