Mayo priest to be exhumed in first step to his sainthood
THE remains of an Irish priest who rallied millions to his worldwide Rosary crusades in the 1940s and 1950s are to be exhumed as part of the process towards his proposed canonisation.
Mayoman Fr Patrick Peyton – who popularised the phrase, ‘the family that prays together, stays together’ – died aged 83 in 1992 and was buried in Boston College.
Members of his family have given permission for the exhumation, which is part of the path to sainthood. He will likely be reinterred at the headquarters of the Holy Cross Order in New York.
Born to Mary Gillard and John Peyton in 1909, Patrick Joseph Peyton grew up in the village of Attymas between Ballina and the Sligo border. A religious but rebellious teenager he contemplated a vocation but chose work instead.
In 1928, he and his brother Thomas set sail for America to join his elder sisters in Scranton, a coal-mining town in Pennsylvania popular with Irish immigrants.
There he started work as a custodian at St Peter’s Cathedral in 1928, and a large bronze statue of him stands in the cathedral grounds today.
After completing their education he and his brother Thomas entered the seminary of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1932. While hospitalised with a bout of TB in 1938, Patrick, encouraged by his sister Nellie, developed a devotion to the Blessed Virgin and after making a good recovery went on to be ordained in 1941.
A year after his ordination he founded the Family Rosary Crusade, a movement which sought to bring families together to pray the Rosary.
Radio, television, billboards and films were used to promote the Family Rosary Crusade – with Rosary rallies attracting tens of thousands of people including Hollywood stars such as Bing Crosby.
Fr Peyton was made venerable by Pope Francis recently but in order for him to be beatified it must be proved that Fr Peyton performed a miracle.
One possible medical miracle under investigation involves two members of a family in Africa being healed of a serious disease, and who have remained completely symptom-free since praying for Fr Peyton’s intercession.
‘Family that prays together...’
Venerable: Fr Patrick Peyton leads a Rosary rally in prayer