As the coronavirus spreads, Catholics are turning to online spiritual practices, from masses live-streamed from the Vatican to a $110 wearable 'eRosary'

Click to PrayThe eRosary even comes in packaging that resembles the Bible.
  • The Vatican launched a smart, wearable eRosary in October,Engadget reported.
  • The rosary connects to an app on iPhone or Android devices via Bluetooth, and the app takes you through the steps to pray the rosary.
  • Through the app, users can also see intentions from Pope Francis, who has asked for special prayers for the elderly.
  • The Vatican has also started live-streaming the pope’s daily mass “to be close to all those who are suffering from the current coronavirus epidemic.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, spreads around the world and has put Italy under lockdown, the Vatican is livestreaming daily masses from Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church. The Vatican also released a wearable smart rosary last year through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, where users can pray for “peace in the world,” and connect with other Catholics while social distancing.

The device, which can be worn as a bracelet, is made up of 10 black beads, plus a “smart cross” that stores data. The beads allude to the design of a classic rosary: 10 beads traditionally make up one decade, or a set of prayers. When the wearer activates the rosary, they can choose what kind of prayer they’d like within the free app. There is a standard rosary, a contemplative, and thematic rosary, which will be updated periodically. The app shows progress, and keeps track of prayer history.

In a press release, the Vatican said that the rosary device is a tool for learning, aimed at the “frontiers of the digital world where the young people dwell.”

This isn’t the first time that the Vatican has directly addressed technology and its impact on young people. In September, Pope Francis attended a Vatican conference about morality and technology, during which he warned Silicon Valley about the dangers of AI.

Pope Francis began streaming daily mass on March 9, to be closer to people who are sick or in quarantine.

AP Photo/Andrew MedichiniPope Francis.

Source: Vatican News

Today, the Pope prayed for people who have died from COVID-19, especially health care workers “who have given their life in service of the sick.”

AP Photo/Alessandra TarantinoPope Francis.

Source: Vatican News

As Spain goes into lockdown, priests are live-streaming masses.

AP Photo/Bernat ArmanguePriest.

A priest on the outskirts of Madrid streamed mass where he praised people for helping vulnerable populations during the pandemic.

AP Photo/Bernat ArmangueMass live-stream.

Like other wearables, such as smartwatches, the eRosary is meant to be worn on your wrist.

Click to PrayeRosary.

In addition to tracking prayers, it tracks health information.

Click to PrayeRosary.

The rosary works by connecting to an iPhone or Android app over Bluetooth.

Click to PrayeRosary.

The app is fairly intuitive and prompts you to connect and charge your device. The Vatican says that the device should be accessible to all ages.

Click to Pray

To activate the device, perform the sign of the cross (as indicated in the image) with the eRosary.

Click to Pray

Once activated, the app gives instructions to go through the rosary.

Click to Pray

It also keeps track of your progress, showing how often you pray and for how long.

Click to Pray

By prompting you to hold and move the device, the app mimics the experience of a traditional rosary.

Click to Pray

The bracelet is part of the Vatican’s “Click to Pray” family, an app where Pope Francis has a profile and lists his personal prayer intentions.

The Vatican

Within the app, you can see Pope Francis’ prayer intentions, and pray for them yourself.

Click to Pray

As the name says, you literally click to pray for an intention.

Click to Pray

The Vatican’s eRosary is on sale now for 99 euros or $US110 on Amazon and from Acer.

Currently, its only available in Italy, but a spokesperson told Business Insider that US availability is in the short-term plan.

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