This story follows an Irish immigrant who dreams of becoming a millionaire but ends up championing a family message.
Through the use of numerous interviews and historical footage, Pray: The Story of Father Patrick Peyton brings us a biographical documentary of his impactful life. Raised in a faithful family in Ireland, young Patrick Peyton finds a quiet peace praying the Rosary. However, Patrick is also quick-tempered and reacts to a cruel teacher by walking out of school, never to return. He and his brother make a daring decision to immigrate to depression-laden America to find work and become millionaires. Finding a janitorial job at a Catholic Church is more like it. Eventually, Patrick garners acceptance to Notre Dame, impressing the faculty with his academic brilliance. Unfortunately he is abruptly halted when tuberculosis ravages his lungs. Knowing he can do nothing else, he prays the Rosary, promising to become a priest, and is miraculously healed. A few years later, as a young priest during WWII, Patrick discerns that true peace comes from praying the Rosary. He begins to gather families to pray to the “Mother of God’ and Jesus. This sets the direction for his life’s mission- to bring 10 million families together through prayer.
During the 40’s, Father Peyton is seized by radio when he realizes the medium is the way to reach millions. Confidently, he is able to talk his way into some free radio time with the MU Broadcast Company. Out of pure brash faith, he phones Bing Crosby, who surprisingly returns his call, agreeing to read his message over the radio. His mission takes him to Los Angeles. He begins to draw attention from stars and celebrities who agree to broadcast his message of family prayer. In the 50s he is able to create Family Theater Productions, filming family prayer stories utilizing the celebrity factor to encourage praying as a family. His work becomes the genesis for the slogan, “The family who prays together, stays together.”
Soon, Father Patrick is using billboards and advertising on buses. His message is received so well he begins to hold “Rosary Rallies,” becoming like the Catholic version of Billy Graham with crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands. His popularity sky rockets as he traverses the world, preaching his message of family Rosary prayer. In Manila, The Philippines, although his health is faltering, he commands a papal crowd of 2 million, leading the masses in prayer. He is later credited as being a direct cause of the peaceful nature of the overthrow of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1985.
Pray: The Story of Father Patrick Peyton celebrates Father Peyton’s stubborn, perseverant faith in praying the Rosary and portraying the family as the domestic church which must be protected. True to Catholic doctrine, the Rosary represents this protection as the prayers are meant for Mary, Jesus’ earthly mother. This concept offers families the opportunity to explore and discuss the differences between the doctrines of the historic, apostolic Christian faith and Catholicism. The perseverance, creativity and faithfulness of Father Peyton can inspire us all to take devoted steps dedicated to spreading the Gospel. Dove awards the film the All Ages Seal of Approval.
The Dove Take:
Pray: The Story of Father Patrick Peyton presents an inspiring documentary of one man, stubborn for his faith, remarkably reaching millions with the message of family cohesiveness through praying the Rosary.