For parents who want to engage their children more in family devotions, the Bead by Bead Rosary app might just be the answer to their prayers.
The app, created by Sandy Rosetter, a St. Mary’s parishioner in Waverly, is designed to help children stay focused while praying the rosary by displaying an illustration of scriptural events with each bead.
Each decade is introduced by a biblical verse that corresponds to this mystery of the rosary, and the illustrations tell the story with each bead. The child can tap on the bead image for the next illustration, helping them to contemplate events in the Bible and stay focused in prayer.
Rosetter and her husband, Bob, have two adult children, so while the idea came too late for her own family to use it, she hopes it will encourage other parents and children.
“I hope this will help children engage in the rosary when praying as a family and learn scripture and Bible stories at the same time,” said Rosetter, 54, who was inspired to create the app using a prayer aid for adults. “I want it to help children deepen their understanding and develop a love for the Rosary while staying focused in a joyful way. I thought about how difficult it can be for me, as an adult, to stay focused while praying, and I thought about how I could make it work for the kids.
In order to encourage families to use the app to pray together rather than children using it independently, it has no sound.
“It’s not a game or entertainment,” Rosetter said of the app, which is aimed at kids ages 4 and up. “It’s a prayer tool.”
Kate Fasching, 51, also a St. Mary’s parishioner, finds it a useful tool for introducing the rosary to her 3-year-old granddaughter, Maddie.
“My granddaughter loves being able to touch the bead to change the image,” Fasching said. “The images are simple and go to the heart of what we want children to know. The children will remember the pictures more than the words, and talking about the pictures was a great introduction to the rosary. Whenever we can share our values and traditions with our children, we must use these tools. »
It is a tool that has been useful for adults as well as children. Fasching used the app on his iPad during Eucharistic adoration to help focus his prayer. And Rosetter has heard from parents who purchased the app to use with their children, but found the added benefit of introducing the Rosary to a non-Catholic parent.
While Rosetter and Fasching share parents’ concerns about screen time for children, they agree that the app is designed for use in a relationship rather than as a substitute for personal interaction.
“It doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles,” said Fasching, who is an early intervention teacher. “It’s good for children’s brains as it doesn’t move quickly or make any sound. It’s just a real way for kids and parents or teachers to connect on teaching the Rosary. You must be involved; it’s not just about entertaining the child.
Rosetter, who works as an administrative assistant at St. Joseph in Waconia, originally developed her idea in print form in 2006 by publishing a book on joyful mysteries. Illustrated with simple art created by her sister, Stacey LeNeave, the book was to be the first in a four-volume series on the joyful, sorrowful, glorious, and luminous mysteries of the rosary. But the amount of work and expense caused her to reconsider traditional publishing, and instead she released the other three volumes simultaneously in app form. Although Rosetter had no technical background, his friend offered his skills as an anonymous donor to support the project.
Available in English and Spanish, the Bead by Bead Rosary app can be purchased at iTunes store for iPhone or iPad for $3.99.
For more information on Rosetter’s books and the app, visit beadbybeadrosarybooks.com.
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