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December 3, 2008
New phase of Father Peyton’s sainthood cause opens in Baltimore
By Catholic News Service
BALTIMORE (CNS)—Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore Nov. 20 presided over the opening of a new phase in the sainthood cause for Father Patrick Peyton during Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father Peyton is best known as the “Rosary Priest,” who encouraged families through his radio and television programs in the 1940s and ‘50s to pray together daily, especially by praying the rosary.
According to the archdiocese, the investigation into the priest’s cause for sainthood, which opened in June 2001 in the Diocese of Fall River, Mass., was moved from that diocese to Baltimore by the Vatican.
Members of the Baltimore ecclesiastical tribunal, which will investigate the life and ministry of Father Peyton, were sworn in by the archbishop during the Mass and are to receive instruction from him as to how their inquiry is to take place.
Father George Lucas, who has worked as a facilitator for the cause, told reporters the cause was moved to Baltimore because the archdiocese has more resources and experience with other causes.
The Baltimore Archdiocese has been involved in the causes of Blessed Francis X. Seelos, a Redemptorist priest who ministered in Baltimore as well as Pittsburgh and New Orleans, and of Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, founder of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first Catholic order of black nuns, who worked largely in the Baltimore area.
Since 2001, Father Peyton’s writings, documents and unofficial testimony have been collected in the Fall River Diocese, where the priest is buried.
Father Peyton died in 1992 and is buried in Easton, Mass. North Easton is the home of Holy Cross Family Ministries, founded by the priest, which includes Family Rosary, Family Theater Productions, Father Peyton Family Institute, and Family Rosary International.
Known for coining the phrases “The family that prays together, stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace,” Father Peyton founded Family Theater Productions in Hollywood in 1947. Through it he produced more than 600 radio and television programs that featured hundreds of movie stars and celebrities, and had more than 10,000 broadcasts.
He emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1928 when he was 19. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1941 and founded Family Rosary in Albany, N.Y., the following year. He conducted rosary crusades in 40 countries, drawing 28 million people.
In the Church’s process leading to canonization, the first step is the declaration of a person’s heroic virtues, after which the Church gives him or her the title venerable. In general, the Church must then confirm two miracles before sainthood is declared. The first miracle is needed for beatification and the second for canonization.