.- Celebrations are being held to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Servant of God Fr. Patrick Peyton, CSC, the “Rosary priest” who popularized the phrase “The family that prays together, stays together.”
Father Peyton was born in County Mayo, Ireland on January 9, 1909. Later, upon becoming a priest, he devoted 51 years of ministry to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Rosary and to families. He conducted 40 Rosary rallies worldwide, drawing 28 million people, and produced more than 600 radio and television programs which featured hundreds of Hollywood stars.
Holy Cross Family Ministries, based in Easton, Massachusetts, has launched a year-long celebration of Father Peyton’s life based on the theme “Honor his memory. Continue his mission.”
The group encourages families to pray the family Rosary in their homes during a Novena from January 1 to January 9.
Holy Cross Family Ministries’ offices in more than 17 countries are observing the Novena and are conducting many public activities during 2009, including Holy Hours, Rosary rallies, Masses and gala celebrations. A statue of the priest will be erected in Ireland, while a Telethon in the Philippines will allow people to phone in their personal commitments to say the family Rosary.
In the United States, the Father Peyton Center in Easton, Massachusetts will hold an hour of prayer in its chapel at 9 a.m. on the ninth of every month during 2009. An outdoor Rosary prayer rally will be held on June 6 in the adjacent Stonehill College stadium.
The organization Family Rosary in Albany, New York will celebrate a Mass on January 9 at Christ the King Church. It will also hold a public Rosary in June at the grotto at the Vincentian Institute where Father Peyton was first assigned as a priest and where he began Family Rosary in 1942.
In Hollywood, Family Theater Productions will mark Father Moreau/Father Peyton Day on January 11, joining Father Peyton’s commemoration with the feast of Blessed Basil Moreau, CSC, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross.
Family Theater Productions has offered biographical programs on Father Peyton and some programs created by the priest himself to Catholic television outlets in the U.S. and Canada. Several outlets, including Catholic TV in Boston; Catholic Television Network in Detroit; and Instructional Television in New York have committed to broadcast the programs in 2009.
Most of Holy Cross Family Ministries’ international offices will conduct the “Try Prayer! It Works!” contest for K-12 students, who may submit artwork poetry, and essays reflecting the theme “The family that prays together, stays together.”
"Father Peyton's most sacred insight, the goal toward which his whole fascinating life was directed, was to encourage families to come together daily to pray the Rosary. He saw so many benefits to this simple practice," Holy Cross Father John Phalen, CSC, president of Holy Cross Family Ministries, said in a press release. "Let 2009 be a year of strengthening the family through the family Rosary!"
Father Phalen has invited families to pray the novena of Rosaries for “world peace and any particular petitions dear to the hearts of your family members” and to pray for Father Peyton’s beatification at the end of their Rosary.
The beatification prayer reads:
“Dear Jesus, Father Peyton devoted his priestly life to strengthening the families of the world by calling them to pray together every day, especially the Rosary. His message is as important for us now as it was during his life on earth.
“We beg you, therefore, to hasten the day of his beatification so that your faithful people everywhere will remember his message that the family that prays together stays together, will imitate him in his devotion to your Mother and ours, and will be inspired by his holy life to draw ever closer to you with childlike confidence and love. Amen."