Rosary Fad Prompts an Effort at Catechesis

Bishops Produce a Leaflet to Go Beyond the Fashion Craze

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LONDON, OCT. 15, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The bishops' conference of England and Wales has issued an leaflet in response to the fashion trend among young people for wearing rosaries as necklaces and bracelets.



The Liturgy Office of the bishops' Department for Christian Life and Worship said that the wearing of rosary beads has become hugely popular this year, with jewelery shops reporting record sales.

"Apparently the rosary has recently joined the crucifix as a desirable secular fashion accessory," said Father Allen Morris, secretary of the department. "However, unlike the crucifix, it is generally available only from religious suppliers rather than high street jewelers."

He added: "Some of these suppliers have expressed concern that those buying them should know something of the religious significance of the rosary. To that end, the Liturgy Office has prepared a simple two-sided A5 sheet in order that those so minded might make them freely available, even placing one in the bag with the rosary."

Kristina Cooper, editor of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal magazine Good News, has given many rosaries to young people and welcomed the leaflet.

"I live on a council estate in South London and many teen-agers there are really interested in the rosary," Cooper said. "When someone asks me for one I explain what it is for and ask them to show me that they have learnt the Our Father before I give them one.

"If they ask for a second one, depending on the person, I ask them to tell me a good deed they have done, or teach them the Hail Mary," Cooper said.

While some observers worry about a profanation of religious items, Cooper sees a positive side to the phenomenon.

"This fashion is a great opportunity for evangelization. I am very pleased to hear about this leaflet," she said. "I find the rosary is a very useful instrument for catechizing people who have never been to church."

The leaflet can be accessed at www.catholic-ew.org.uk/faith/celebrating/rosary2.htm.