This year the Family Rosary apostolate is observing its 70th anniversary by honoring its founder Father Patrick Peyton, whose cause for sainthood might now have two miracles.
“The family that prayers together, stays together” was Fr. Peyton's famous slogan.
His own father made sure that his family prayed the Rosary together daily.
Fr. Peyton was born in 1909, and while a seminarian for the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Notre Dame, Ind., was stricken by tuberculosis.
He prayed to the Blessed Virgin through the Rosary and recovered, and from then on became a staunch promoter of devotion to her through the prayer.
Fr. Peyton was one of the most influential American priests of the 20th century, using mass media to convey his message about family prayer. He produced radio and film programs featuring such film stars as Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Maureen O'Hara, and James Cagney.
The apostolates he founded continue to provide free rosaries, conduct Rosary rallies, and create radio and TV programs. And just as Fr. Peyton harnessed the new media of his time, Family Rosary has released a Rosary iPhone app that is used by over 20,000 persons.
“On the 70th anniversary of Family Rosary, we honor Father Peyton’s memory as we continue his mission to bring families together in Rosary prayer,” said Holy Cross Father John Phalen, president of Holy Cross Family Ministries.
Fr. Peyton's cause for canonization is open, and he has been declared a “servant of God,” the step prior to being called “venerable” in the sainthood process. From 2001 to 2010 there was an exhaustive inquiry into Fr. Peyton's life, writings, and ministry.
The results of this report were sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican, who will determine if he lived a life of heroic virtue, which would earn him the title of Venerable.
There have been two possible miraculous healings through Fr. Peyton's intercession, one in the Diocese of Albany and one in Kampala, Uganda.
“A man in his 60s was admitted to the hospital with life-threatening multiple organ failure. His family prayed to Father Peyton, and they strongly felt that he was healed through intercessory prayer. The medical community has offered information to support this belief,” Fr. Phalen reported in a Sept. 18 statement.
In Kampala, a mother and son both tested positive for HIV. Holy Cross priests and the mother prayed for healing through the intercession of Fr. Peyton, and when they were retested both mother and son were HIV negative.
In July 2012 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints granted a Decree of Juridic Validity, recognizing the credibility of the more than 6,000 pages of documentation submitted in 2010 by the diocesan inquiries into Fr. Peyton's life. The decree is an important and necessary step towards canonization.