Today, 9 January, is the centennial of the birth of Fr Patrick Peyton CSC (Congregation of the Holy Cross), ‘The Rosary Priest’, who died on 3 June 1992. Three days ago The Irish Times carried an article on Father Peyton by the current director of Family Rosary International , which Father Peyton founded, Fr James Phalan CSC.
Father Phalan writes of his confrere: ‘His life's commitment is summarised by the phrase still so well known throughout the world - "The family that prays together stays together" - and it is as true now as ever before.’
He writes further on: ‘The family that prays together takes time to put into practice what they say they believe and so they can listen for truth in God's word, they can let Christ work in their lives - and listen to one another. They do so with the Virgin Mary who has been the Mother of the Irish for centuries.’
The Irish Times is considered by many to be the leading newspaper in Ireland. When I was young it had a relatively small circulation and was known as a ‘Protestant paper’ because it was read mainly by Protestants and had a history of being pro-British. It is encouraging to read an article such as this in it.
Father Peyton was born in County Mayo in the west of Ireland but emigrated to the USA as a young man. There is a memorial centre in his honour in his native county. Archbishop Michael O’Doherty, the second non-Spanish archbishop of Manila, was also born in County Mayo, as was Father John Blowick, co-founder of the Columbans. Mayo is also the location of Knock Shrine and of Croagh Patrick, the mountain on the summit of which St Patrick is reputed to have spent 40 days in prayer.
I used to have a tape of Father Peyton leading the rosary. I listened to it from time to time while driving – something I wouldn’t recommend, as his voice was what we call in Irish leadránach. In other words, it would put you to sleep! I also noticed that in the Litany of Loreto he said ‘Vessel of singular devotion’ instead of ‘Singular vessel of devotion’. I’m not sure if he always said that but I’m sure our Blessed Mother smiled every time he did.
I came across this item on Father Peyton’s visits to the Philippines:
In 1951 Father Patrick Peyton CSC first visited the Philippines to conduct a Rosary Rally at the University of Sto. Tomas. Then in 1958 Manila Archbishop Rufino J. Cardinal Santos invited Father Peyton to bring the Family Rosary Crusade to Manila. On December 6, 1959 the first Rosary Rally was conducted at the Luneta where a crowd of 1.5 million gathered to listen to Father Peyton. From the first Rally in 1959, 14 major Rosary Rallies soon followed in the key provinces of the Philippines. Since then, the ministry in the Philippines has been expanding and developing to bring the message that The Family That Prays Together Stays Together ™.
The cause for the canonization of this great priest began in 2001.