Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton
Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton, a documentary from Family Theater Productions, chronicles the faith and perseverance of one man who inspired people all over the world to bend their knee in prayer. Through its artful and compelling depiction of Fr. Patrick Peyton’s life, Pray leaves the viewer inspired, thus renewing Fr. Peyton’s mission of promoting family prayer to new generations of families.
As the film opens, we find that Fr. Peyton’s ardent promotion of family prayer is rooted in his own experience as a child kneeling “every single solitary night,” and praying the rosary with his family. At the same time, Fr. Peyton is relatable from the stories shared of his getting into trouble in class, being “a bit of a brat,” and of falling in love with the “little redhead girl” from school.
With dreams of making it big in America, Patrick Peyton leaves Ireland and starts as a janitor at a cathedral in Pennsylvania. In the quiet hours of cleaning the church, Peyton’s childhood dream of becoming a priest is re-awakened and he enters the Congregation of Holy Cross. However, as Peyton nears his ordination day, he falls deathly ill. After nearly a year in the hospital, Peyton despairs of his life until a conversation with his favorite teacher from seminary inspires him to turn to Mary and put his life in her hands.
Much to the amazement of his doctors, Peyton is miraculously healed and is ordained shortly thereafter. In gratitude to the Blessed Mother, Fr. Peyton decides to devote the rest of his life tirelessly to promoting prayer, especially in the family, through the rosary.
Leaving no stone unturned, Fr. Peyton sets out for Hollywood to persuade the brightest stars of Tinseltown to help him spread the message that the “family that prays together stays together” through radio, television, and film production. His nephew and namesake, Fr. Pat Peyton, remarks of him, “there was one word in his vocabulary that didn’t exist. And that was someone saying, ‘no.’”
To reach even more people, Fr. Peyton hits the road, hosting “rosary rallies” all over the world that draw crowds by the millions. Live footage of the rallies draws the viewer into the electrifying energy of the crowds.
While the interviews are held with friends, family members, and those who worked with him in his ministry, the audience will also enjoy hearing the voice of Fr. Peyton himself sharing much of his own life story from audio recordings.
Adding another unique touch are interviews with members of people who – while not knowing Fr. Peyton personally – were nevertheless deeply inspired by his call to family prayer. Among these is former major league baseball player Mike Sweeney, who gives his testimony of how praying the family rosary transformed his marriage and family. These anecdotes bolster the main narrative, showing the lasting impact Fr. Peyton’s work even to the present day.
Pray is remarkably well produced. The telling of Fr. Peyton’s story is enriched through beautiful cinematography interwoven with historical footage, and a delightful original score that pays homage to Peyton’s Irish heritage.
Fr. Peyton’s mission for family prayer and the rosary is continued through the creation of this documentary because at the heart of Pray is an invitation to reflect on the meaning of the domestic church and the centrality of prayer in the family. This film is particularly timely amid this pandemic, when the need to practice the faith at home has increased, even more, intensified by the limited access to churches and the sacraments. Families will be enriched by a message of hope while enjoying the riveting film Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton.
The film will be released in select theaters on October 9, 2020. For more information, please visit https://www.praythefilm.com/.
Disclaimer: Movie reviews do not imply and are not to be used as official endorsement by the USCCB of the film or those associated with it. Movie reviews are solely intended as a resource regarding productions that might be of interest to For Your Marriage visitors.
About the Author
Theresa Lewis is a program assistant in the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She holds a BA in theology and history from Benedictine College and an M.Ed. in secondary education from Creighton University. Theresa and her husband, Eric, have been married for almost a year and enjoy dancing, hiking, playing board games, and, of course, watching movies together.