Holy Cross Family Ministries to celebrate Our Lady of Fatima and ‘Rosary Priest’ anniversaries

Faithful urged to join Father Peyton Guild 

to pray for his sainthood cause

By Dave Jolivet
Anchor Editor

peyton guild.jpg

NORTH EASTON, Mass. — Twenty-five years ago in a tiny room on the grounds of the Little Sisters of the Poor home in San Pedro, Calif., a man who brought the Rosary to families across the globe held his “prayer beads” in frail, weak hands, unable to finish his final earthly prayer. The Sisters with him promised to finish the Rosary for him, which they did. At 5:20 a.m. on June 3, 1992, Holy Cross Father Patrick J. Peyton, the famed “Rosary Priest,” died peacefully, with his final words being, “Mary, my Queen, my Mother.”

Tomorrow, June 3, Holy Cross Family Ministries in North Easton, will host a special day, marking the 25th anniversary of Servant of God Father Peyton’s death, the 75th anniversary of his founding of Family Rosary, a part of the HCFM family, and the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.

The ministry released a statement urging faithful to attend the family-oriented celebration: “In recognition and honor of the milestone anniversaries we celebrate this year, please join us for a Spiritually-engaging event. We have a full afternoon planned that will uplift and enrich you and your family. Father Peyton encouraged us to pray together as a family to create a foundation of faith and love, and that’s what this day is all about. Don’t miss this special experience to celebrate and pray as one family of God. Come for any of the day’s activities, we’d love to see you there.”

Father Peyton, whose sainthood cause is still very active, was famous for the phrases, “The family that prays together stays together,” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”

The day begins at the Father Peyton Center, 518 Washington Street in North Easton, at 1:30 p.m. with Eucharistic Adoration, followed by a short film on the life and works of Father Peyton. Activities for children will take place in the center at that time. Holy Cross Father Willy Raymond, president of HCFM, will present a welcome message at 2 p.m.

A short theater presentation by the Bishop Connolly High School Theater Arts group about the miraculous appearances of Our Lady of Fatima and Father Peyton’s final words will take place in the tent at 2:15 p.m. The Rosary will be prayed around the statue of Mary at the center, where a large granite seat bears the words, “Mary, my Queen, my Mother,” the Rosary Priest’s final declaration.

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., will celebrate a family Mass in the tent at 4 p.m., followed by a family meal of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips and water.

Father Raymond told The Anchor, “My hope for the June 3 celebration is that the joy and confidence we all share about Father Peyton’s mission will be caught and shared by everyone who participates in this extraordinary moment in history. 

“Families will receive the joy and wonder of celebrating with other families in the area, playing together, praying together, dining together.”

He added, “I think that the beautiful music, the Fatima reenactment, the Living Rosary, the Mass with Bishop da Cunha, and the food and fun after Mass will be truly memorable.”

The event is free, family-friendly, handicap accessible, and open to the public.

The events take place as Father Peyton’s sainthood cause remains open and active with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican.

Father Raymond told The Anchor that one of the ways area faithful can become involved and help the sainthood cause is to join the Father Peyton Guild. “The chapters of the guild pray for the recognition of Father Peyton as a saint for families,” he said. “The family is our most prized relationship and, as Pope Francis said, ‘God’s Masterpiece.’ Every time the chapters of the guild come together to pray, they are inviting the most powerful force for unity and good, for love and peace, to come into their homes, hearts and bless them with the presence of God and our Blessed Mother Mary.”

Currently the Congregation for the Causes of Saints is examining the life, works, and writings of Father Peyton, and actions are being examined for miracles and other evidence for his canonization.

The first step in his sainthood cause was in 1997 when the congregation asked then-Fall River Bishop Sean P. O’Malley, OFM, Cap. to open an investigation. In June 2001 a “nihil obstat” (nothing obstructs) was granted from the Vatican and Father Peyton was given the title, “Servant of God.”

The cause was opened in the Fall River Diocese because Father Peyton is buried at the cemetery of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Easton, within the diocese.

In 2003 then-Fall River Bishop George W. Coleman presided over the opening of the diocesan inquiry. Because of the “significant scope” of the study, Father Peyton’s cause was moved by the Holy See to the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

In December of 2014 a 1,300-page Positio (Position Document), a summary of Father Peyton’s life and ministry was completed by the Baltimore Tribunal, honed down from 6,000 pages of testimonies and documentation.

Father Raymond and Father David S. Marcham, vice postulator for Father Peyton’s cause, presented the Positio to the prefect of the Congregation of the Causes for Saints.

If the congregation determines that Father Peyton led a life of holiness and heroic virtue, the cause goes to Pope Francis, who could declare him “Venerable.” The next steps would be beatification and sainthood, if deemed worthy.

Father Peyton Guilds have sprung up worldwide through the years. They are made up of groups of people who meet throughout the year to pray the Rosary together; learn about Servant of God Patrick Peyton, his ongoing mission and cause for sainthood.

In the United States there are chapters in California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, South  Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.

The guild encourages faithful to become members: “If you believe we need a saint for families, please join the Father Peyton Guild to prayerfully support his cause for canonization and to continue his mission of encouraging families to pray together.

“In gratitude, your intentions will be remembered at a special monthly Mass for guild members and you’ll be invited to ministry activities and updated ministry news.”

Membership options include chapter/group, family, and individual.

Father Marcham invites those who would like to start a guild chapter or join an existing one to contact him by email vicepostulator@hcfm.org; via mail at 518 Washington Street, North Easton, Mass., 02356; or telephone 508-238-4095.

For more information on Holy Cross Family Ministries and its associated ministries, Family Rosary, Family Theater Productions, and the Father Peyton Family Institute; and Father Peyton’s life and sainthood cause; visit www.hcfm.org, or follow its Facebook page.

For more information on the Father Peyton Guild visit www.FatherPeyton.org or call 508-238-4095.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts