Rosaries on the Roadway

For the past three years, I’ve been blessed in that my daily commute has not involved driving on I-495, I-395, I-95, I-270 or I-66. However, last night I experienced the pleasure of having an hour commute from University Boulevard on I-495 to Falls Road on I-270 for Catecoffeeism. (The young adult communities of St. Raphael and St. Martin of Tours host this weekly book club which began with a reading and discussion of the United States Catechism for Adults, accompanied by a cup of café. The are now exploring Mere Christianity

While driving 10 miles per hour, I was able to observe the behaviors of the different drivers (a field day for my inner psychologist): Who was listening to the radio and who was talking on the phone? Who had their windows rolled down and who had their AC on? Who seemed grumpy and who seemed content? Who let me into their lane and who didn’t? Who gave me the Thank You Wave and who waved back when I gave them the wave? Who used their blinkers and who just cut in?

But one thing really caught my eye. I was surprised by how many rosaries were hanging from rear view mirrors! Washington is not particularly known for personal displays of religiosity. On the contrary, this is a town where separation of church and state often means that we feel the need to conceal our faith. Seeing these rosaries gave me hope and pride and made me feel part of something larger: our universal Church.

When I owned my last car, I too had a cross hanging from my rear view mirror…and I think I might put it back! “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.” (Luke 8:16)

Do you pray the rosary? ?Resas el rosario?

5 Replies to “Rosaries on the Roadway”

  1. It’s funny – I’ve noticed the rosaries, too. I’ve even started looking for them when I drive. I wondered if the increase is tied in part to the devotion of our growing immigrant community – and maybe a little bump from the Holy Father’s visit just a year ago?

    By the way, today I was driving with a friend who pulled a rosary out of her purse. She has a big family event coming up and said, “I’ve got the rosary to hang in the tree.” What?? That was a new one for me. My friend said years ago she was preparing for a big outdoor event and was worried about the weather. A Sister she knew told her to hang a rosary in a tree for good weather. She thought that was a little odd, but did it. The day was beautiful. So, every year for this event, she hung a rosary in a tree the day before and every year, the event went forward with good weather. The year she left her job, her successor didn’t hang a rosary (after all, who believes in that stuff, anyway?). It rained.

  2. Over this side of the pond there is a growing trend in young people (25 below) wearing the Rosary around their neck – purely as a fashion statement. I also noticed in todays papers a very famous footballer wearing them around his neck too.

    What are the thoughts on this?

    1. I remember as a kid once or twice wearing them like a necklace and being scolded for this. But I never thought it was a great crime. I suppose a I can see why some might object but such a practice, according to me, can be interpreted positively.

    2. Hm, I wonder if it’s really “purely a fashion statement”. Have you asked any of these people why they wear it? I wonder what they would say. While they may not be using the crucifix and beads for prayer, I wonder if there is something they admire about Jesus, something they admire about people who say the rosary, or some power they recognize assciated with rosaries. In fact, having this conversation could be an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with someone about their faith, their opinions about Catholicism, their beliefs about Jesus and his mother, etc.

      I think the same thing when I see movies stars at the Oscars. One particular actress (after starring in an R rated film) walked to center stage to accept her award and, with a large cross diplayed above her cleavage, thanked God for the award. What kind of conversation could we have with this woman? “What does that cross mean to you? What is your relationship with the One who died on that cross? What ways of living give glory to Him and which go against who He made us to be?”

      I think we can’t be afraid to take our wonderings and ask these questions, though they may seem too personal, forward or awkward at the time. They can be true moments of evangelization!

  3. I just found your blog because I was looking for a picture of a rosary hanging from a rearview mirror! And I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog, and I have noticed (happily) the same here in Dayton! It always makes me feel so good, specially in this day where secularism seems so rampant!

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