'Bleep, bleep. Amen?'
'A method for prompting the recitation of Rosary Prayers ... (by) ...providing a hand held apparatus having a plurality of LEDs, representing a plurality of prayers to be recited in the rosary connected to a battery powered microprocessor wherein said microprocessor has compressed digital speech recording and playback capability, a means for audio projection of recorded messages at least in part, and means for selecting specific groups of said recorded messages, said microprocessor controlling sequential illumination of said LEDs and digital speech playback in response to user manual manipulation of a momentary contact switch.'
Why recite your prayers on a chain of slippery beads? Light a candle to processing your prayers, or, technology which punches daily contemplation into your hectic lifestyle. The Reverend Pasquale Silla, a computer buff from Italy, has developed a program which allows you tag your Hail Mary's and Holy Mysteries on either your personal computer or a hand-held video device in a similar fashion to a portable Nintendo game. To help set the scene, the program displays the daily mysteries and may also play religious background music. Similarly, the patent for an electronic rosary from 'Shrine of Divine Love', Rome, Italy, somehow describes a small key ring gadget to be used to recite Our Lady's prayers.
The final handheld product displays a picture of John Paul II and bears 'Rosaium Virginis Mariae' as an inscription. This is the name of the 2002 apostolic letter on the rosary by Pope John Paul II. Here, John Paul II argued that the the rosary is not contrary to the very Liturgy-centric Vatican Council II yet reinforces it through the contemplation of stages of Jesus' life. He encourages to pray to Jesus through his mother Mary, who acts as our mediator.
'...now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Buzz.'
How well with this second mediator be received? On the second side LED are lit up in sequential order, regulated by a push button. Thus, after praying each Hail Mary, the button is pushed to effect an increment. Following each push, there is a small vibration which becomes longer to indicate the end of a mystery. At the end of the fifth mystery, the push-button is inhibited to indicate that the rosary is complete. This is no chain of roses petals, as made by Carmelite monasteries. The latter is symbolic of the bouquets given to queens and mother since the rosary itself is considered to be a bouquet of prayers. Will the electronic rosary be seen as another communicative device... to the heavens? I tend to doubt whether such devices do much towards providing inspiration. Ron-Coe's satirical response ran as follows:
'The group electronic rosary is especially timed for a more prayerful pace. After each Hail Mary is recited the leader presses the button at the top. If the pace is too quick in comparison to the internal prayer metronome a gentle electrical shock is applied to the wrist strap. This shock increases further if subsequent presses the prayer pace is not slowed. At the end of each decade a light vibration occurs informing the user. If the rosary has been recited at at too fast a pace three light shocks in succession are administered. Over timed the prayer reader is trained so as to never incur shocks while using the electronic group rosary.'
In the meantime, Chinese Buddhists have also come up with technical devices for prayer. Simple small devices are sold in temples and are powered by an AA battery. About the size of a small transistor radio, the speaker emits a chant, originally sung by monks over and over again. By playing the chant digitally, one needn't chant themselves. There are models available with chants for all occasions; luck, a sick loved one, fortune, one's own health. Also, a quick look at patent websites show that devices to facilitate Muslim prayer are in the pipeline, although websites with a similar function are already in existence.
Various kinds of Rosary and Chaplets.
Shockingly useful electronic rosary