Family Rosary Crusade

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For the Philippine religious program, see Family Rosary Crusade (TV program).
Family Rosary Crusade
Logo of the Family Rosary Crusade, used until 2001
The family that prays together stays together
Classification Roman Catholic Marian Family Prayer Movement
Orientation Marian prayers
Moderator Rev. Fr. John Phalen, CSC
Associations Family Theater/Family Rosary International/Father Peyton Institute
Region United States of America, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Haiti, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Spain, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Uruguay
Founder Rev. Fr. Patrick Peyton, CSC
Origin January 25, 1947
Albany, New York
Branched from Holy Cross Family Ministries
Congregations Congregation of Holy Cross
Official website http://www.hcfm.org/main/splash.php
Since the year 2000, the international office for the mission/legacy of Fr. Peyton is now in based in 518 Washington Street, North Easton, MA 02356-1200, near where Fr. Peyton was laid to rest. An office at the original founding location is at 16 Cornell Avenue Albany, NY 12203

Family Rosary Crusade is a worldwide campaign that eventually became a Roman Catholic movement founded by Reverend Father Patrick Peyton, CSC. The endeavor came to be a personal mission to undertake the promotion of the praying of the family Rosary by families as a means to bind families together. The inspiration to start a campaign came from Father Peyton's patron, the Blessed Virgin Mary whom he credits as the one who interceded before God and her son Jesus Christ his recovery from tuberculosis in 1941.

The campaign's objective is to promote the praying of the Rosary by families. Father Peyton believes that together as a family, in unison praying the Rosary, the family is united before Christ and drawn closer to God.

Aims[edit]

The modern day Mission adopted for the Family Rosary Crusade under the stewardship of the Holy Cross Family Ministries:

  • Under the sponsorship of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Holy Cross Family Ministries serves Jesus Christ and His Church throughout the world by promoting and supporting the spiritual well-being of the family.
  • Faithful to Mary, the Mother of God, the Family Rosary and Family Rosary International encourage family prayer, especially the Rosary.
  • Family Theater Productions directs its efforts to the evangelization of culture using mass media to entertain, inspire and educate families.
  • The Father Peyton Family Institute focuses on research and education in family life ministry and the relationship of spirituality to family.

History[edit]

Father Patrick Peyton of the Congregation of Holy Cross was born in CatholicIreland at a time of hardships in the early years of the 20th century. His family were farmers loyal to the Catholic Church. Praying the Rosary as a family was a practice followed by the Peyton family.

As a child, Father Peyton had inclinations to pursuing a vocation as a priest but due to poverty and the need to help his family in Ireland earn a living, the pursuit for a vocation did not bear fruit until he was already in his twenties when he arrived as migrant to the United States.

As a seminarian he discovered his mission for God at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, Father Peyton was passionate over the spiritual welfare of families especially those living in squalor who were affected by the Great Depression.

Discovering that he had tuberculosis, Peyton immersed himself in meditation while praying the Rosary. A few months later, doctors discovered that the tuberculosis in his body had disappeared. This event made Father Peyton an intensely devout Marian.

Key components of the crusade[edit]

  • Every family to recite the Rosary together, regardless of class, creed and religion;
  • A continuing process of evangelization,
  • Use of radio, television, outdoor advertising and films to promote the Crusade aims;
  • Set up in every diocese a Rosary rally.

The lifelong crusade[edit]

Father Patrick Peyton, CSC in the Philippines, shaking hands with Filipinos who gathered for the Rosary Rally in the Archdiocese of Manila in 1953

Upon receiving his first assignment as a newly ordained priest in 1941, Father Peyton was assigned as a chaplain for a school managed by the Congregation of Holy Cross in Albany, New York.

Father Peyton discovered his mission for the Blessed Mother on January 25, 1942 He was extensively reading the history of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

Soldiers of Lepanto, with no hope of winning the war against the Moors, knelt and prayed the Rosary before a perceived losing battle. A miracle was seen to have happened when the Moors were defeated and pushed back. This incident was attributed the Blessed Mother that would serve as the preliminary foundations of establishing the crusade of prayer.

As a school chaplain in New York, Father Peyton lived a modest life and in his bedroom cell was a small bed, a small study table with a painting of the Madonna and Child by Spanish painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

Father Peyton got drawn to that painting and would serve as the image of the Blessed Mother for the entirety of his Family Rosary Crusade efforts. The image was first used as the cover for a future pamphlet called "The Story of the Rosary."

Father Peyton started writing to Bishops, priests, Catholic lay organizations about the importance of families praying the Rosary.

With the help of Holy Cross sisters in Albany and a friend he would meet there, a priest named Father Francis Woods, Father Peyton began his appeals to promote the praying of the Rosary for all families.

His mission to promote the praying of the Rosary needed a much bigger and wider audience and for fifteen minutes, families went on the air on radio to pray the Rosary on a local radio station in Albany, Waby in October 1943.

In 1945, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the largest radio network in the United States at that time, made available a half-hour to broadcast the Rosary. This was dubbed by Father Peyton as "the opportunity of a lifetime". Mutual's owner Ed Kobak set certain requirements in order for Father Peyton to make his broadcast.

  • Invite the most famous, loved and revered family to pray the Rosary;
  • Ask the most famous Hollywood stars to join them;
  • Have the most influential people in the US Church speak; and
  • Choose the most fitting day to have the majority of Americans listening eagerly to a religious broadcast.

On May 13, 1945, Mother's Day and the same date that the Blessed Mother appeared before three shepherd children in Fátima, Portugal in 1917, Father Peyton aired for the first time his program on nationwide radio on Mutual Broadcasting System from its studios in Broadway.

The radio broadcast featured the Sullivan family of Iowa who just recently lost five sons in the Pacific war to lead the praying of the Rosary followed by a live endorsement of crooner Bing Crosby, patched from Mutual's Los Angeles radio station.

He promoting his mission by sending letters and distributing free Rosary beads and prayer pamphlets. He continued to promote the mission using radio as means but network executives at Mutual wanted to air programs of Father Peyton with more than just the praying the Rosary. The example set by Bing Crosby could be repeated with other Hollywood stars pitching the call for families praying the Rosary.

Father Peyton journeyed to Los Angeles, California and started to recruit stars to volunteer to help promote his cause. In his first travel to California, actress Jane Wyatt would serve as his bridge to other celebrities and become lifelong friends.

With the help of Hollywood personalities, Father Peyton started to produce family values oriented radio dramas under the banner of "Family Theater of the Air," from Hollywood for his show on Mutual. The first broadcast was made on February 13, 1947 with guest artists Loretta Young, a Protestant James Stewart and Don Ameche.

What Bing Crosby did, others would do, including the following who gave their names, fame, time and talent to glorify the Rosary and dramatize its mysteries on film, on the radio and on television: Pat O'Brien, Loretta Young, Grace Kelly, James Cagney, Bob Hope, Irene Dunne, Gregory Peck, Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Rosalind Russell, Jack Benny, Raymond Burr, Barbara Stanwyck, Margaret O'Brien, Helen Hayes, Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara, Jane Wyatt, Ronald Reagan. William Shatner, James Dean and Shirley Temple.

The Family Theater radio programs continued to air up to 1969. The program gave rise to the establishment of the Family Theater Productions that opened offices in Hollywood with the mission of developing Christian family values film, radio, television programs and outdoor advertising.

Evangelization through mass media[edit]

Main article: Family Theater

A young ad executive and a copywriter, Al Scalpone, donated his services to Family Theater in 1947 and wrote the now famous slogan, "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together " as well as "A World at Prayer is a World at Peace " for the radio series. They became the mottos for Father Peyton and his organization. Scalpone, who eventually became a vice president for CBS-TV, volunteered with Family Theater Productions for 40 years.

In 1947, a Los Angeles outdoor advertising company representative was taken by the slogan, "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together ." He heard in on the "Family Theater" radio series. The company offered to put the slogan on vacant billboards as a public service. The idea caught on with other advertising companies.

Over the years messages included "Troubled? Try Prayer!" "Don’t Give Up! Pray. It Works," "God Makes House Calls" and "God Listens," each one followed by "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together ."

These messages have appeared on more 100,000 billboards throughout the country, courtesy of outdoor advertising associations and companies, and have been seen more than 400 million times, according to outdoor advertising associations’ estimates. The campaign continues today with three new, contemporary posters designed in 2001, that have received a record number of orders from billboard companies.

Diocesan Rosary rallies[edit]

From London, Ontario in Canada, the Diocesan Family Rosary Crusade started with the gathering of pledges from families to commit to the daily prayer of the Rosary as a family unit. The first large Rosary scale rally was in Saskatchewan, Canada, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, then under the authority of the Benedictine's of St. Peter's Abbey, and with the participation of the Bishops of Saskatchewan,[1] where 12,000 attended the rally on September 26, 1948.[2]

In 1947, the Diocese of London, Ontario, pioneered the diocesan crusades. In Manila in the Philippines, a million people came together to pray the Rosary. It also happened in Bogotá, Bombay, Johannesburg, Madrid, New York, San Francisco, Nairobi.

Encouragement were given to the crusades by popes and the Second Vatican Council. In 1987, Pope John Paul II said, "May the Rosary once more become the accustomed prayer of ... the Christian family."

Transitions, same mission[edit]

Father Peyton passed on in 1992. The Congregation of Holy Cross organized all units and organizations that was founded under the Family Rosary Crusade under an umbrella ministry, the Holy Cross Family Ministries that remains committed to the original cause of Father Peyton.

Though there are no Rosary rallies on the scale that Father Peyton did during his lifetime, units all over the world conduct smaller rosary rallies.

References[edit]

  1. ^ from All for Her (An Autobiography of Fr. Patrick Peyton (1967), by Fr. Patrick Peyton, pp. 128
  2. ^ from "Mary as Mother (The Pilgrimage Shrines ot the Blessed Virgin Mary in Saskatchewan)", by J. Lozinsky and H Leier, (1987), page 7

External links[edit]