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The Saintly Author

Who is Father Peyton?

Father Patrick Peyton is a monumental figure in America's religious life whose Catholic cause for sainthood was announced on June 1, 2001. Interestingly, many who knew Father Peyton describe him as holy and glowing. His secretary, said, "His saintliness came across in everything he did."

Catholics remember him as the founder of the Family Rosary. But he touched the hearts of millions of people of other faiths too. He taught that the key to world peace was family prayer. He spread his conviction through a life of service and his work blossomed through various slogans that summed up his philosophy such as "The family that prays together stays together" and "A world at prayer is a world at peace."

Father Peyton started with nothing except constant prayer . Within his lifetime his inspired work cheered millions across the earth. When he took on the promotion of radio and television programs to improve the spiritual lives of people everywhere, almost miraculously Father Peyton, through the years, convinced hundreds of Hollywood's most famous movie stars to give their time to his vision.

 

     

How this saintly priest worked through prayer

The first star that supported Father Peyton's vision of the importance of prayer in family life was the legendary Bing Crosby who at the time was filming The Bells of St. Mary's.

Soon, thereafter, Father Peyton launched a weekly Family Theater radio program.

The first show starred Loretta Young and Don Ameche, and was hosted by Jimmy Stewart, a Presbyterian, who in 1947 told a radio audience of millions of Americans that Family Theater was dedicated to them "with the hope that families everywhere will always be together and that your home will be a happy one — with the conviction that prayer, simple prayer, will help keep it that way."

The Family Theater Sunday night programs were named Best Program of the year for four years running from 1948 to 1951. When the radio show ended in 1969, an astonishing 550 shows had been produced and had been aired thousands of times. Also, in the 1950's Family Theater Productions was producing award-winning television shows including more than 58 films and television specials. Today, even after the passing of Father Peyton in 1992, Family Theater Productions continues to produce movies.

Through the years when Father Peyton was producing programming, dozens of top Hollywood stars dropped everything to answer the call from Father Peyton including Frank Sinatra, Loretta Young, William Shatner, Bob Newhart, Bing Crosby, Raymond Burr, Helen Hayes, and Grace Kelly. Also, Bob Hope, Irene Dunne, Gregory Peck, Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Rosalind Russell, Jack Benny, James Cagney, Barbara Stanwyck, Margaret O’Brien, Natalie Wood, Maureen O’Hara, Jane Wyatt, Ronald Reagan and Shirley Temple.

James Dean got his first film acting credit in Family Theater. George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, got his first film credit as an assistant cameraman on a Family Theater movie starring William Shatner. Among the many other signatures,the signatures of Loretta Young and Irene Dunne are in this book. They were lifelong Hollywood supporters of the work of Father Peyton.

Father Phalen, who today heads Family Theater Productions and continues the work of his predecessor, says of the remarkable Father Peyton, "He was always thinking of Mary and always promoting the rosary...."  Father Peyton prayed the rosary every spare moment.

 

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