“Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton” — an excellent documentary about the power of faith. - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Tuesday, March 1, 2022

“Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton” — an excellent documentary about the power of faith.


“Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton” 

— an excellent documentary about the power of faith.

I’m not a fan of the Catholic Church for a myriad of reasons one being the law issued by the Pontiff (Pope) over the indigenous people, The Requerimiento [Requirement] that was written in 1510 by the Council of Castile to be read aloud as an ultimatum to conquered Indians in the Americas.

The Requerimiento (Spanish for “requirement” as in “demand”) was read to Native Americans to inform them of Spain's rights to conquest. The Spaniards thus considered those who resisted as defying God's plan, and so used Catholic theology to justify their conquest. 

And of course, the years of sexual abuse and the way the Catholic Church protected those guilty priests and nuns is disgusting. 

That being said, “Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton” is an excellent documentary that centers on the Priest, Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton (1909-1992), that is credited with saying, “The family that prays together stays together.” I’m sure that you’ve heard that many times growing up. 

Filmmaker Jonathan Cipiti cleverly uses archival recordings and footage, as well as interviews with friends, collaborators, and those influenced by Father Peyton’s legacy including former major league baseball player Mike Sweeney and his wife, Shara.

What comes across — strongly — is that Father Patrick loves God and helping people and this doc is filled with his warm and passionate heart. With the screenplay by Matthew Donlan and Megan Harrington, they highlight Father Peyton’s attachment to the rosary which began early in his life. 

Peyton’s childhood was challenging, growing up in impoverished circumstances in a small village in Ireland’s Country Mayo, where his family would gather to recite the devotion daily throughout his childhood.

Father Patrick was deeply impacted by his father’s piety, and although he heard the voice of God, early, he wavered between accepting a religious life and wanting to marry and become a father, where he promised God that “all my sons will be priests, and all of my daughters, nuns.”

America called, and he emigration to the United States, and despite the challenges of his earlier education, he excelled in his religious studies proving to be an outstanding student.

Leading with his heart, as he moved forward toward ordination, he became ill and almost died by a near-fatal case of tuberculosis. Here’s where the story is most moving because this young priest, who was in training at the time, recovered which the doctors considered a miraculous recovery. From those that loved him most, they believe that Father Patrick's recovery was tied to his higher calling to serve God. 

The Priest made it clear that he was motivated to spread the love of the rosary, and prayer, and to promote the idea that marital and familial ties can be strengthened through the prayer of all kinds.

That’s worth repeating: Father Patrick Peyton believed that “ marital and familial ties can be strengthened through the prayer of all kinds,” which is a bold act and one that should be commended. 

Described as a shy man, the Priest touched the hearts of many Hollywood elite who supported his cause, including Bing Crosby who, at the time, was the biggest name in Tinseltown. As it happens the titan invited Father Peyton to appear on his new radio show. In the years that followed, the Family Rosary movement that Father Peyton had founded used television, film, radio, and even billboards to reach the public. 

So moved, massive rallies also were organized. In the film, a  contemporary newsreel showed one such event that was held in  San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The audience is described as one of the largest crowds ever assembled in the City by the Bay.

The world naturally was changing and society with it, and during the in the 1960s and ’70s, there was a noticeable decline in Father Peyton’s influence. 

A man who spoke about love, and peace at every turn, many on the inside have credited him with a successful rally that he held in Manila, in 1985, contributing to the peaceful overthrow of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in February of the following year.

Jonathan Cipiti crafted a very fine film and if you are a believer in the Catholic Church, this should not be missed because it will renew your faith in humanity and your faith. 

#Faith #Church #God #Love 


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