There was a wonderful gathering this evening in the Father Peyton Centre, Attymass where Fr Tom Mulligan, a priest of the diocese, saw the launch of his biography on the life of The Rosary Priest, Fr Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. The book was launched by our Diocesan Administrator, Fr Dermot Meehan.
Fr Peyton, born 110 years ago this day, in the parish of Attymass is undoubtedly its most famous son. Emigrating to the United States in the footsteps of other family members he felt called to the priesthood and entered the Seminary, as did his brother Tom. During his studies, Patrick became quite ill and begged Our Lady to cure him. Being cured, he attributed his recovery to her and committed to dedicating his ministry to promoting devotion to Our Lady. He was ordained along with his brother and kept his promise.
Enlisting the help of many of Hollywood’s most famous stars “Of various faiths and none” as Fr Meehan put it, Fr Peyton reached out to people with a call to pray and, more especially to pray as family. “The Family that prays together, stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace” were two of his most famous phrases.
Fr Mulligan ministered in Attymass parish for many years and, following his retirement last year, decided to dedicate study and time to a man he had come to know and admire through his contact with the people of Attymass. Commenting on this, Dara Calleary, T.D., said he knew that Fr Mulligan’s energy would not allow him to become a full time golfer!! It is a blessing to us all that his energy was devoted to the research and publishing of this book “The Rosary Priest”. Senator Michelle Mulherin spoke too of the wonderful work done in Attymass through the Father Peyton Centre and congratulated Fr Mulligan on the great work he had done in bringing this story a-fresh to a new wave of readers.
In his opening remarks, Fr Meehan described an elderly parishioner’s recollections of her teenage years when she went to Ballaghaderreen in 1954 to hear Fr Peyton address a Rosary Rally. Small in stature, she found herself unable to see him, so she crept through the legs of people and around them until she arrived at the front row and could see the man she was listening to. This remains a highlight of her life. It is remarkable that she is numbered among more than 27 million people who heard him speak during his worldwide travels with the Rosary Crusade.
Fr Meehan made the point that Fr Peyton is well known to an older generation but truly believes this book will bring his story and call to family prayer to a new generation. There is no doubt there is a story to be shared and Fr Mulligan’s work will help, in no small way. towards that end. “It is a wonderful book and an incredible read”, Fr Meehan concluded, “but I hope you won’t just take my word for that but find out for yourselves”.
Fr Mulligan spoke of the humility of Fr Peyton and of his total dedication to the promise he made God and Our Lady. He personally found this inspiring and wanted to help bring Fr Peyton’s story to our time. He referenced one country where Fr Peyton took his “crusade” and that the Catholic population was very small. It emerged nonetheless that his message on Prayer within the home, was welcomed and implemented by other religions. This appears to have been a trait of his ministry, that his message, though firmly rooted in Marian devotion, had a very broad appeal and impact. He commented on the fact that four Popes were in contact with Fr Peyton and his word was heeded by all. Pope Francis declared Fr Peyton “Venerable” last year, a significant step on the road to Canonisation. Fr Meehan had commented on this saying “It would be wonderful for our Diocese of Achonry to have a recognised Saint among its numbers”.
The book, simply entitled “The Rosary Priest” is published by Veritas and is the first Biography of Fr Peyton to be written in Ireland and, indeed, outside the United States. It is available in all major bookshops (click here for details)