In 1947, Father Patrick Peyton embarked on a massive international effort to promote family prayer through the radio show The Family Rosary Hour. It later expanded to television in a program called Family Theater and he was assisted in this great work by lots of Hollywood stars and celebrities of that post-WWII era, including stars such as Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Rosalind Russell, Gregory Peck, Shirley Temple, Jimmy Durante, Natalie Wood, Gene Kelly and Charlton Heston.
Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco, was a devout Catholic whose
last three films were all done in the 1980s by Family Theater Productions.
"The family that prays together, stays together," is the memorable saying he coined.
Father Peyton's main objective with his radio and television programs was, naturally, to promote the rosary. (The name of the radio program might have given that away.) He had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother, whose prayers were instrumental in his miraculous cure from tuberculosis when he was a young priest. For the rest of his life, he was determined to promote her prayer, which takes the pray-ers through the life of Jesus, journeying around the beads and meditating on His life from His conception to His death to His assumption of Holy Mary into heaven and His giving her a crown. "Well done, good and faithful mother," I can picture Him saying to her, tenderly folding her into his embrace, happy to see her again after so long a separation.
The four of us -- my husband, Meelyn, Aisling and myself -- have recently taken to praying the rosary together every evening. We sit down comfortably, Meelyn and Aisling pajama'd, with damp hair and rosy cheeks, and sit for a few moments naming our prayer intentions that we intend to lift up before our heavenly Father.
"For business to pick up," says my husband, running the beads of his rosary through his fingers. He says it is his most treasured possession; a gift I gave him when we were received into the Church four years ago.
"For our achievement tests to go well," says Meelyn the Conscientious, tucking her bangs behind her ear.
"We should pray for more priests," says Aisling. "More priests and more nuns and monks and for an end to abortion and for our family to become Catholic and for gas prices to go down."
"For peace in the world and in our home," I add, thinking of all the times when I...don't feel all that peaceful. And then let the family know all about it.
And then we pray together, just the four of us snuggled in tight, our voices rising and falling in the sweet ancient cadences as we contemplate Jesus, Bread of Life, Living Water. The sleeping dogs sigh happily as they dream, Hershey with his chin on my husband's foot; Wimzie squished between me and Meelyn on the couch.
It is the best part of the day.
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