Fr. Patrick Peyton, CSC, with a group of children in Hokitika, New Zealand, in 1954. (Courtesy of Holy Cross Family Ministries)

June 2*

Fr. Patrick Payton, CSC

Born: Jan. 9, 1909, in Attymass, County Mayo, Ireland
Ordained: June 15, 1941
Died: June 3, 1992
Declared Servant of God: June 1, 2001
Declared Venerable: Dec. 18, 2017

More Information





Fr. Peyton, known worldwide as “The Rosary Priest,” was a Catholic media pioneer in the 1940s, using radio and later television to produce popular programs featuring Hollywood stars and other celebrities to promote family prayer.

Born Jan. 9, 1909, in Attymass, County Mayo, Ireland, and immigrated to the United States in 1928 and with his brother Tom. While in seminary, he developed a special devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary after attributing his recovery from tuberculosis to her intercession. On June 15, 1941, the two were ordained priests for the Congregation of the Holy Cross.

His ministry included conducting Rosary crusades for millions of people in dozens of countries. He had two especially famous mottos: “The family that prays together stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”

He founded Holy Cross Family Ministries, which includes Family Rosary, Family Theater Productions, Father Peyton Family Institute and Family Rosary International.

In 1948, beginning in Canada and then Ireland, he traveled around the world, hosting Rosary Rallies. To get his message out even more broadly, Fr. Peyton became a pioneer in harnessing the power of the media for the sake of the Gospel. His Rosary rallies were broadcasted around the world via radio. He 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.

By the time of his death in 1992, he had helped produce over 600 television and radio shows and 10,000 broadcasts. He had also overseen the production of three feature-length epics on the life of Christ, divided into the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.

*In 2017 Pope Francis declared Fr. Peyton “Venerable.” Although there are no formal feast days for venerables in the Church, June 2 is the day Fr. Peyton entered eternal life.

UPDATE June 13

A Prayer Celebration for Families drew an estimated 700 people to an historic event honoring Venerable Patrick Peyton. This remarkable priest was known around the world for encouraging families to pray the Rosary and for his devotion to The Blessed Mother. Each person received who came to at Holy Cross Family Ministries in Massachusetts June 10 received a blessed commemorative Venerable Patrick Peyton Rosary while each family received a Family Rosary Prayer Kit.

“Spreading devotion to daily family Rosary prayer was important to Patrick Peyton because he knew how it nurtured his family. The Peyton family gathered every evening to pray together. I believe all families can follow the example of John and Mary Peyton and pray with their children,” said Father Willy Raymond, president of Holy Cross Family Ministries. “Prayer! Simple as that! Pray with your children today and see them grow to accomplish great things.”

The celebration also included Eucharistic Procession, Rosary Prayer and Holy Mass.

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