Father Patrick Peyton
Most ardently we beg the Lord from our heart that souls, families, and nations may derive abundant fruit from the Holy Rosary and that Our Lord may assist you, beloved son, with His grace in your enterprise. As a pledge of such favors, we are pleased to impart to you Our Apostolic Blessing which we joyfully extend to all who aid you in these labors and to all who in their homes honor the Queen of Heaven and of Earth with the laudable practice of the Family Rosary.
— John XXIII, May 1, 1959
Fr. Peyton was born January 9, 1909 in County Mayo, Ireland, and for 51 years he dedicated his life as a Holy Cross priest to Mary, the Mother of God. He is known as the “Rosary Priest” who tirelessly promoted the powerful prayer of the rosary. Across the globe, many of his rosary rallies attracted hundreds of thousands, including a gathering in Manila with over a million people in attendance.
At the time of his death he had preached to more people in person than any other Catholic. It was he who first proclaimed the phrases "The family that prays together stays together" and "A world at prayer is a world at peace".
Fr. Peyton’s faith was first nourished in the family. Both he and his brother Tom, who also became a Holy Cross priest, were dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by their father and entrusted to the care of Our Lady by their mother when they departed Ireland for America. Only later as a seminarian did Peyton discover the providential truth that all Holy Cross priests are dedicated to the Sacred Heart.
He writes: "Not in our wildest imaginings did my parents or my brother or I dream what Our Lord had in store for us in America. He called my brother to the priesthood from the coalmines of Scranton. He called me from being the janitor in St. Peter's Cathedral. In the fall of 1929, we entered the seminary at Notre Dame, Indiana. There, we continued the family Rosary with our new family, the priests and our fellow seminarians" (All For Her: The Autobiography of Father Patrick Peyton, CSC).
After a miraculous healing from tuberculosis that he attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Mother, Fr. Peyton dedicated himself to spreading the practice of the family rosary. Divine Providence had great plans for Fr. Peyton and he responded with zeal for the work! He was a pioneer in harnessing the power of the media for service to the Gospel. His rosary rallies were broadcasted around the world via radio. He convinced celebrities such as Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and James Cagney to lend their fame to the promotion of the rosary through radio, television, and film.
Fr. Peyton understood naturally what it means to be a man with hope to bring. He labored with the rich and the poor, the famous and the ignored, to promote prayer in our world. This continues today through Holy Cross Family Ministries which includes Family Rosary and Family Theater Productions.
In June of 2001 the formal Cause of Canonization was introduced at the Vatican. As a Servant of God, Fr. Peyton’s virtues are recognized for imitation. His priestly example engenders in us the desire to be loyal sons of Our Lady, seeking her motherly intercession as we are prayerfully attentive to the needs of our Church and our world. Work continues on Fr. Peyton's cause through the Archdiocese of Baltimore.