Holy Cross priest Rev. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C.—“the Rosary priest”—is another step closer to becoming a saint. He was declared venerable by Pope Francis on Monday, December 18, 2017.
Peyton, who founded Family Rosary in 1942 with the goal of building family unity through daily prayer of the Rosary, is well known for his saying, “the family that prays together stays together.” Being named venerable means that the Holy Father has recognized Peyton’s heroic virtues and sanctity of life. The next step in the canonization process is being named “blessed,” which comes once a miracle is attributed to his intercession. After a second miracle is attributed to Peyton’s intercession, the Pope would name him a saint.
“We are filled to overflowing with joy at this news,” said Rev. Wilfred Raymond, C.S.C., president of Holy Cross Family Ministries. “How exciting and encouraging it is just to write the designation 'venerable!' This designation represents a rare recognition by the universal Church that Fr. Peyton is a person of heroic virtue and a life worthy of veneration by all Christians.”
Evidence collected from witnesses and supporting documents on Peyton's life, virtues, and reputation of holiness had previously been approved by a panel of nine theologians and fifteen cardinals and archbishops who voted to recognize his heroic virtues.
Hundreds of testimonies to Peyton's heroic virtue and holiness of life have been recorded. Tens of thousands of prayer cards containing a prayer for a favor through Peyton's intercession are in circulation. Hundreds of favors have been reported. Some of these favors are remarkable healings for which there is no medical explanation.
Peyton also founded Family Theater Productions in Hollywood in 1947. Today both Family Rosary and Family Theater are part of Holy Cross Family Ministries, an apostolate of the Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers, of which Ave Maria Press also is an apostolate.
Timeline of the Cause of Sainthood for Rev. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C.
- Peyton died on June 3, 1992, in San Pedro, California. The cause was transferred from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (his place of death) to the Diocese of Fall River (where he was buried).
- July 1997: First step in the cause process; the Congregation of Holy Cross asked the bishop to open an investigation of Peyton's life.
- June 2001: A nihil obstat was granted from Rome and Peyton was given the title, “Servant of God.”
- October 2003: Diocesan inquiry opened.
- November 2005: The review of a possible medical miracle in Africa was closed and the documentation was sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome.
- November 2008: Due to the significant scope of the study, Peyton's Cause for Sainthood was moved from the Diocese of Fall River to the Archdiocese of Baltimore by the Holy See.
- July 2010: The tribunal in Baltimore closed and the 6,000 pages of documentation (known as the “Acts”) were sent to Rome to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
- November 2010: A tribunal to conduct the diocesan inquiry of the possible medical miracle attributed to Peyton was formed.
- December 2014: A summary of the Acts was completed. This document, called a Positio, is a 1,300 page summary of Peyton's life and ministry and the primary source for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to determine if Peyton lived a life of heroic virtue and sanctity of life.
- June 2017: The Theological Congress for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints voted to move Peyton's Cause forward.
- December 18, 2017: Pope Francis authorized the Congregation to promulgate the decree recognizing the heroic virtues of Peyton, declaring him venerable.
Prayer for the Beatification of Venerable Patrick Peyton
Dear Jesus: Father Peyton devoted his priestly life to strengthening the families of the world by calling them to pray together every day, especially the Rosary. His message is as important for us now as it was during his life on earth. We beg you, therefore, to hasten the day of his beatification so that your faithful people everywhere will remember his message that “The Family That Prays Together Stays Together” will imitate him in his devotion to your Mother and ours, and will be inspired by his holy life to draw ever closer to you with childlike confidence and love. Amen.
Prayer for a Favor through the Intercession of Venerable Patrick Peyton
God, our Father: your wisdom is displayed in all creation and the power of your grace is revealed in the lives of holy people, who inspire us to trust you more fully and to serve others more generously. In a unique way, you blessed the life and work of your servant Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., and made him a fervent apostle of Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary and Mother of us all. Through his intercession, we ask for this favor. . . Please grant it, if it is for your honor and glory, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.