Servant of God Patrick Peyton

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peytonIn June 2012, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints granted a Decree of Juridic Validity in the cause of Rev. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. The decree confirms the validity of the documentation and witness testimonies submitted by the diocesan inquiries for Fr. Peyton’s cause.

The Vatican is considering Fr. Peyton’s life and actions for miracles and other evidence for canonization of the Rosary Priest. In June 2011, a possible medical miracle was reviewed by a tribunal in Albany, N.Y., and the findings were forwarded to the Vatican for review. The possible miracle was that of a man in his 60s who was admitted to the hospital with life-threatening, multiple-organ failure. His family prayed to Fr. Peyton and they strongly felt the man was healed through his intercession. The medical community offered information to support this belief.

A possible medical miracle also was reviewed in Kampala, Uganda, and those findings were also forwarded to Rome. A mother and son were tested for HIV and both found to be positive for the disease. The mother and local Holy Cross priests began to pray to Fr. Peyton, and a short time later, the two were retested. Results for both mother and son were negative for HIV.

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Fr. Peyton was born Jan. 9, 1909, in Attymass, County Mayo, Ireland, the sixth of nine children. He moved to Scranton, Pa., in 1928, with his brother, Tom. Fr. Peyton worked as a sexton at St. Stanislaus Cathedral, where he met Holy Cross priests preaching at a parish retreat. After that encounter, Fr. Peyton and his brother both entered the Holy Cross Seminary in Notre Dame, Ind.

When the two were in their second year of theology at Catholic University in Washington D.C., Fr. Peyton was stricken with tuberculosis. He languished for a year, having been transferred back to Notre Dame’s infirmary. During that time, Rev. Con Haggerty, C.S.C., told Fr. Peyton that he needed to pray to Mary the way the Irish always prayed – with great faith. He prayed his Rosary and at the end of a novena, declared himself cured by Mary’s intercession. The doctors eventually confirmed it and Fr. Petyon was forever grateful to Mary for saving his life. Both Peytons were ordained on June 15, 1941.

Assigned to Albany as Chaplain to the Holy Cross Brothers, Fr. Peyton began the Family Rosary Crusade, getting volunteer students and brothers to assist him writing letters to Bishops asking their help to organize a Rosary campaign. Radio broadcasts of the Rosary followed

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Fr. Peyton also coined the famous phrase, “The family that prays together stays together.” He was a pioneer in harnessing the power of the media for service to the Gospel. His Rosary rallies were broadcast around the world via radio and Fr. Peyton 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 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, Family Theater Productions and Fr. Peyton Family Institute.

Fr. Peyton’s Cause for Sainthood was introduced by Bishop Sean O’Malley of Fall River, Mass., in 1997. In June of 2001, the formal Cause of Canonization was introduced at the Vatican and Fr. Peyton received the title “Servant of God.”

You can learn more about Fr. Peyton’s Cause for Sainthood on a website dedicated to the Cause or on the Congregation of Holy Cross’ website.