A Sorrowful Mystery

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The news out of Albany about the 13-year-old student who was suspended, then reinstated, for wearing rosary beads to school, reminds us of a story we ran about the trend in 2008. Like the Albany case, which has been taken up by Pat Roberton’s American Center for Law & Justice, school administrators sought to bar […]

  • Ann mcGarity

    One simple fact: rosary beads are not intended to be worn . They are not symbols , but a prayer aid that devout Catholics use discreetly. If someone wears them this is an inapporopriate use and the school authorities have the right to object as far as I am concerned. If they are intended to be used for prayer, then the owner should keep them in his pocket or bag and use them for their intended purpose ,


  • mary


  • Debbie Gum

    I’m not sure how Rosary beads came to be a gang symbol. However, back when I taught in Chicago’s inner-city, about 17 years ago, Chicago police would keep the teachers abreast of gang symbols, what to look for, etc., Even back then, gangs were using the cross (woven with their gang colors) to signify which gang they were in, while disguising it in a Christian symbol. As sad as that was, what is even sadder is many peoples’ ignorance of basic Catholic catechism. Rosaries are NEVER to be worn as jewelry. They were not designed to go around one’s neck. While I was growing up, my mom taught me that you carry the Rosary in your purse or pocket. Nowadays, due to our lack of basic catechesis and a “no limits” culture, problems like this arise and everyone seems to be confused because the school this boy attends, along with the media, lack basic Rosary knowledge. Add to that Pat Robertson’s crusade for, “freedom of speech”, and that piles on the confusion even more. Unfortunately, Pat Robertson is fighting the wrong crusade. Right from the get-go, this boy’s PARENTS should have been the ones to tell their son that he was using the Rosary in an inappropriate way. That’s where the entire problem stems from- a home problem. Now, it’s blown up into a huge national debate. If this boy’s parents had simply told their son to use the Rosary of his dead brother in a proper, respectful way, none of this would be happening right now. There again, this could be a lack of basic Catholic teaching the boy’s parents have, or they are afraid to correct their son as he grieves for his brother. Either way, it’s another sad example of parents who are afraid to teach their kids the right thing.

  • Justinian

    As others have stated, rosary beads are not to be worn around the neck AS JEWELRY, but some devout Catholics like to wear them around the neck as a sign of their devotion to Our Lady and as an expression of their desire for her protection. In this sense, the rosary around the neck is worn in much the same way as a cross, crucifix or religious medal might be worn, i.e., for a religious purpose and not as a gang symbol. The rosary around the neck may also be understood as having religious witness value – a reminder to others of the love Our Lady has for all her children and the great power of the rosary as a prayer.

  • Cathy

    No, the rosary should not be worn around the neck, as in jewelry. However, to me this is an exception, as this young man is grieving for his brother and I see nothing wrong with it. He is clinging to his faith and who better than to the Blessed Mother of Christ as well as our mother. This is not a home problem, this is a “people problem” when others refuse to take the log out of their own eye. God Bless you ans your family and my symapathy in losing your brother. I would be in a “gang” for Our Lady anytime!!!

  • Vera L Ewing

    I live on a college campus, and about 6 mo ago there began a fad of wearing the rosary as a piece of jewelry. When I questioned one young man whether he believed in the rosary, he said “yes”. When I asked him if he ever prayed the rosary, he said “no, it’s just jewelry”. Many of the young people on campus who are connected to South America (usually the soccer recruits) are now wearing a form of rosary that is south american in design… perhaps as a sign of national or regional affiliation. I have noticed that some of the inner city kids have picked up on it as well – perhaps as a latino statement. Given the number of young people on campus wearing the rosary, I’m more likely to believe this is a trend similar to the one in the 80’s when Madona began wearing the crucifix… and many of the young people mimicked her. Which of our young people’s “idols” are doing this? That is where the fad comes from.

    I agree with all above postings concerning both being inappropriate; however, I would present the ever lessening family influence due to both parents working, and the lack of religious foundation across the nation as a reason young people don’t know the “social rules” of when to have a rosary visible on their person.

    During the Middle Ages, for example, wearing a rosary attached to your belt was a sign of piety that proclaimed your religious affiliation. Many families practiced their religion quietly in private, while maintaining outward appearances to prevent persecution by the “politically incorrect crowd”. I’m not sure that all those metropolitan people were devote, but they did save their families and increase their social standing by appearing to be part of the “in” crowd.

    I guess what I’m saying is that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge those we dis-agree with. Isn’t judgment reserved for God? What right do we have to condemn them because they are incorrect based on our beliefs? Perhaps it would be better to educate the individual, and then let them make their own choices. God will catch up with them and place any discipline that may be necessary.

  • winkby

    WEARING rosary around the neck is an latino custom of devotion to Mary just like we carry it in our pockets or on our person. It is not a gang sign or jewelry like Madonna(the entertainer). It is a sign of love and devotion for Mary. Of course there are those who will abuse this Love and Evil always pomps itself behind good or the deception of good. The latino culture are holy reminders when it comes to reminding the world to love the Mother of God, Mary. I thank you for that reminder.

  • Mercyinmysoul

    My 14 year old son prays the Rosary almost every day. He also wears a Rosary with the Benedictine medal as well as the Brown Scapular. I just thought it was his devotion to the Rosary and his belief in the intercession of Our Lady that he wears it. Should I make him stop wearing the Rosary? I would NEVER want him to be sacrilegious with such a Sacred devotional.

  • mary


  • Gail

    A 14 year old who prays the rosary so often and wears the scapular! You must be proud of him. I wouldn’t be too quick about stopping him from wearing it. Seems to me that I have even seen a quote by a saint that said something like let them wear rosaries around their necks. I can’t find it online so maybe someone reading here knows.

  • Vera

    winkby – I remembered while reading these replies to my statement that Madona (the entertainer) is reported to be a devote Catholic. There was a lot of news about her wearing the cross and crucifix as a religious statement of her beliefs during the 80’s when this fad occurred.

    Also, thank you for the affirmation of my observed link to this proud Catholic communittee.

    mercyinmysoul – I believe I would be proud of a son who stood so strongly on the side of the Light! Surely, you have provided him a firm foundation of faith from which to grow the remainder of his life. Congratulations!

    Perhaps it is those without faith who are pursecuting those of our children & young adults who are strong enough to profess theirs. What do you think could be done to adjust that? (just curious)