VENERABLE PATRICK PEYTON, CSC
On Monday, December 18, Pope Francis received His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorized the Congregation to promulgate the decree recognizing the heroic virtues of Father Patrick Peyton, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, thus recognizing him as Venerable by the Roman Catholic Church.
The Positio on the life, virtues and reputation of holiness of Father Peyton had previously been discussed and approved by a panel of nine theologians and more recently by a group of 15 Cardinals and Archbishops who voted affirmatively to recognize his heroic virtues. The Positio refers to the volume containing the evidence that was collected from witness testimonies and supporting documents during inquiries carried out by special tribunals in several dioceses.
Hundreds of testimonies to Father Peyton’s heroic virtue and holiness of life have been recorded. Tens of thousands of prayer cards containing a prayer for a favor through Father Peyton’s intercession are in circulation. Hundreds of favors have been reported. Some of these favors are remarkable healings for which there is no medical explanation. Should one of these healings be officially recognized as having no scientific explanation and approved by the Vatican as a miracle due to his intercession, it would lead to his beatification.
The essence of Father Patrick Peyton’s ministry, which spanned half a century, began in his family. Father Patrick Peyton was born January 9, 1909, in Carracastle, County Mayo, Ireland. His parents, John and Mary Peyton, gathered their family to pray the Rosary every evening.
After emigrating from Ireland to the United States, Patrick Peyton became gravely ill as a seminarian and the doctors had no hope of recovery. So he followed his parents’ example and turned to Rosary prayer.
“Father Peyton was a seminarian, studying for the priesthood, when he was stricken with tuberculosis,” said Father Wilfred Raymond, C.S.C., President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. “He prayed his Rosary to the Blessed Mother and made a miraculous recovery. From that moment, he knew he was to be the one to carry out her apostolate, her ministry to bring families together for Rosary prayer, just as his family had done.”
Over the years, Father Peyton advocated for families by preaching two powerful and memorable messages, “The Family That Prays Together Stays Together” and “A World at Prayer is a World at Peace.”
Known the world over as “The Rosary Priest,” he began Family Rosary, in Albany, N.Y. in 1942, more than 75 years ago with the goal of building family unity through daily prayer of the Rosary. He went on to lead millions in prayer at 40 Family Rosary Rallies that drew 28 million people, including 2 million each at events in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Manila, Philippines.
Father Peyton, a Catholic media pioneer, spent the 51 years of his priesthood serving the spiritual needs of families. In 1947, he founded Family Theater Productions in Hollywood. Family Theater Productions produced 900 radio and TV programs that featured hundreds of star actors and other celebrities and had more than 10,000 broadcasts.
The essence of Father Peyton’s ministry is relevant and vibrant to families today. Father Peyton still inspires people all over the world by his holiness of life and the example of his strong and tender devotion to Our Blessed Mother. The ministry has grown and engages families through a variety of media and social platforms as well as several websites, FamilyRosary.org, FamilyTheater.org, and the newest ministry, CatholicMom.com, the apostolate founded by Lisa Hendey, nationally known Catholic author and speaker. One of the many social platforms to reach families, Family Rosary Facebook page, has more than 1.2 million followers. The latest media project of Family Theater Productions, “Catholic Central,” was recently released on YouTube. These short videos offer entertaining and authoritative answers to questions about Catholic thought, spirituality and practice, CatholicCentral.com.
Holy Cross Family Ministries also established The Father Peyton Family Institute, based in Lima, Peru, and Bangalore, India. The Institutes provides direct services through research and education to enrich the spirituality of families.
A site to inspire families and honor Father Peyton, FatherPeyton.org shares his life story from his humble beginnings in Ireland to his fame working with the “stars” of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
HCFM’s “Family of Ministries” are under the sponsorship of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The Congregation in June of 1997 requested that a cause for canonization for Father Peyton be initiated. In June 2001 the “nihil obstat” was granted from Rome and Father Peyton was given the title, “Servant of God,” when his Cause was opened. Since then, significant work has been completed to present Father Peyton’s heroic practice of virtue and reputation for holiness.
Holy Cross Family Ministries, which carries on the works of Father Peyton, has headquarters in North Easton, Massachusetts, with its media production company, Family Theater Productions, in Hollywood, California, and mission offices in 16 countries. The ministry serves Jesus Christ and His church by inspiring, educating, and entertaining families all to support their spiritual well-being and encourage family prayer.
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