Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rosary Bead Fashion Trend

An online article I read at stylelist.com titled, "Rosary Bead Fashion Trend-Australian Catholics Outraged," by Erin Donnelly states that some Church leaders in Australia are upset because Australian teenagers are wearing rosary beads as a fashion accessory. One fashion boutique in Sydney offers the "cross-adorned prayer beads" in three styles. Madge Fahy, the Catholic Women's League Australian President complained that, "They don't have the right to abuse our religious objects. Rosary Beads are used solely for prayer. Don't wear them unless you're prepared to use them for what they're made for. They're not a fashion item." 
On the other hand, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Sydney told a local newspaper that perhaps the wearing of rosary beads could start a spiritual awakening in local youth. She said, "The trend 'trivialized' the faith but could actually spur a 'spiritual awakening' in the wearer." I agree with that.  Perhaps the Archdiocese should suggest that Catholic teens who wear rosary beads, say at least one "Hail Mary" each day (as a start) to show respect for the Blessed Mother and to acknowledge the sacramental they're wearing is meant for prayer. Of course, rosary beads should be used for prayer and not just for a fashion accessory.   Also, the Archdiocese could ask the teens to bring their rosary beads to Mass and have a ritual blessing of the Rosary beads. Teenagers would like that very much, I would imagine.  That would be a good way to evangelize the youth and it could be a teachable moment.  Some catechesis on the Rosary, during a homily at Mass would be helpful as well. 
A young girl, a resident of Sydney told the newspaper that she bought the rosary "because I liked the color and the length of the necklace and crosses are such a beautiful and peaceful symbol."  (Crosses are showing up everywhere in fashion.  I recently saw a photograph online of a famous movie star, wearing a black clutch bag with a huge gold crucifix on it. It was a designer bag and probably very expensive.)
The Rosary is a powerful prayer, as many saints have said.  I try to say a Rosary everyday and the "fruit" of saying the Rosary is very evident to me. 
The Church in Sydney and elsewhere should try to use this "latest religious fashion trend" as a way to reach out to young people and draw them in. Young people are searching for meaning and purpose and Christianity holds many of the answers they are looking for. But it has to have appeal in the modern world, that's the reality of it.