Fr Tom Mulligan, who served as curate in this parish and, last year, retired as Parish Priest of Attymass, has just published a biography on the life of Fr Patrick Peyton, CSC – The Rosary Priest – a native of our diocese from the parish of Attymass.  Last year, Pope Francis named Fr Peyton “Venerable” a significant step on the road towards Canonisation.  It is therefore possible that in the future a native of our diocese will be officially listed as a Saint.

The Biography was launched on January 9th (110 years on this day, Fr Peyton was born) and tells the story of this remarkable man who emigrated, with many family members, from his native parish.  Later he felt called to the priesthood and entered the seminary.  His brother Tom also studied for the priesthood and they were ordained on the same day.  During his studies, Fr Patrick became quite ill and his life was undoubtedly in danger.  He prayed to Our Lady and promised that, if cured, he would devote his life to the promotion of her name.  He did recover and kept his promise.  Following his ordination, he began a ministry of promoting Family Prayer and the form of family prayer he encouraged was the Rosary.  It was a clear and important memory for him, the nightly Rosary in his native home in Mayo.

A far-seeing man and long before social media was even thought, he decided to use all forms of media available to him to spread this message.  In Los Angeles, the local Archbishop advised him to preach at Mass in Beverly Hills, where many of the most famous and recognised Movie Stars would be in attendance.  He did and the response came quickly from people like Bing Crosby, Loretta Lynn and James Dean.  They joined him in short movie and radio clips, acting out moments from the Rosary and encouraging Family Prayer.

He travelled the world and spoke, in person, to crowds in excess of 27 Million people encouraging them to pray the Rosary.  “The family that prays together stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace” became two of his lifelong catchphrases.  Four Popes spoke of him and, it is documented, that he had a direct influence on some of the documents of Vatican 11.

A remarkable man and a remarkable story.

Well done to Fr Mulligan who, in retirement, has been very kind to this parish by supplying cover when needed, for the work he has put into this book and for bringing the story alive again and maybe even for the first time to people who had not heard of Fr Peyton or known the depths of the man.

The book is entitled “The Rosary Priest” and is available from Knock Book Shrine, Easons and bookshops everywhere.