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Longtime Director of Family Rosary in Albany Set to Retire After 18 Years of Promoting Prayer

10/26/2015

Laetitia Rhatigan supported Servant of God Patrick Peyton’s

mission of uniting families through daily prayer of the Rosary

 

Laetitia Portrait w170For 18 years, she promoted the mission of Servant of God Patrick Peyton in Albany, N.Y. Over that time, Laetitia Rhatigan actively espoused the virtues of this American candidate for sainthood, a media pioneer who encouraged millions of people to pray the Rosary in an effort to unite families.

On Nov. 1, the longtime Mission Director of Family Rosary in Albany retires, knowing the memory of Father Peyton, C.S.C. – who began his pastoral mission to honor Mary, the Mother of God, in this New York community – is preserved and ready for recognition by the Catholic Church.

In addition to being the “face” of Family Rosary in Albany for nearly two decades, Laetitia Rhatigan tirelessly assisted with many events supporting Father Peyton’s mission of promoting prayer. She was intimately involved in organizing the Diocesan Rosary Celebrations and collaborating with the Leonard family to hold the Annual Irish Gala, which attracted families who supported Father Peyton’s ministry from the earliest days.

“We have been blessed with Laetitia’s various efforts over the years and particularly with her passion for Father Peyton’s work and spirituality,” said Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C., President of Holy Cross Family Ministries, the organization that continues Father Peyton’s ministry today.

“She is incredibly committed to the mission. Laetitia earned her Doctorate of Sacred Theology in Mariology with her dissertation on ‘The Writings and Works of Servant of God, Father Patrick J. Peyton, C.S.C., As They Reflect His Marian Spirituality.’ Now that’s dedication!”

Family Rosary was established in Albany in 1942, the year after Father Peyton arrived as a newly ordained priest. He wrote bishops, priests and Catholic lay organizations about the importance of families praying the Rosary. He began his appeals to promote his vision of uniting families through this important prayer to Mary (see sidebar) with the help of the Bishops of Albany and hundreds of volunteers, including the Sisters of Mercy, Dominican Sisters and Sisters of St. Joseph in Albany.

Over the years, Family Rosary’s influence expanded across the United States and around the world with Rosary Rallies that would attract millions of people. It also led to the creation of Family Theater Productions in Hollywood, which developed radio and TV programs, movies, billboards and more (see sidebar) that echoed Father Peyton’s signature sayings: “The family that prays together stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”

“When Father Peyton was assigned to work in Albany, little did he know the immense support he would receive to help him establish and grow Family Rosary,” Father Raymond said. “From the staff and students at St. Rose College to each and every bishop over the years, Family Rosary’s foundation was built to become a worldwide ministry in 17 countries. This ministry owes much and is extremely grateful to all the faithful in the Diocese of Albany.”

With Rhatigan’s retirement, the Family Rosary office in Albany will be closing. As of Nov. 1, this ministry will be provided through Holy Cross Family Ministries’ headquarters in Easton, Mass. 

“It has been a privilege to carry on Father Peyton’s vital work to help families pray,” Rhatigan said. “I am grateful to all the volunteers, diocesan staff, Rosary makers and distributors, the parish of Christ the King, Pastor Father James Fitzmaurice, families of Albany and the many, many faithful who have collaborated with us to make a significant contribution to the mission of Family Rosary. My life and faith have been enhanced through this mission. I will miss the day-to-day contacts, but I won’t be far. I will remain in the area to support the mission to families.”

In the spirit of its founder, Servant of God Patrick Peyton, Family Rosary and Holy Cross Family Ministries encourage family prayer, especially the Rosary, to support the spiritual well-being of the family through events and media. Family Rosary is a member ministry of Holy Cross Family Ministries. For more information, call 800-299-7729 or go to www.FamilyRosary.org, as well as on Facebook.

                                                                                                                        

FAMILY ROSARY IN ALBANY:

A HISTORY OF SUPPORTING FAMILY PRAYER

Family Rosary, a member ministry of Holy Cross Family Ministries, was founded in Albany, N.Y., in 1942. Today, it continues the mission started by Father Peyton promoting and supporting family prayer and the spiritual well-being of families throughout the world. This is done through prayer events, retreats, parish missions and by providing Rosaries, books, programs and other materials to families worldwide.

Humble Beginnings: Following his ordination as a priest in 1941, Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., became chaplain to the Holy Cross Brothers of the Vincentian Institute in Albany, N.Y. It was during this time that he founded Family Rosary and started a letter-writing campaign to the faithful while urging other priests to get parishioners to pray the Rosary daily. Father Peyton then had the vision of using mass media to reach all the families he wanted to bring to prayer.

Move to Media: In 1943, Father Peyton led a Rosary prayer on an Albany radio station. On Mother’s Day, 1945, he prayed the Rosary on the Mutual Broadcasting System, the largest radio network at the time. For this nationwide broadcast, he got the Sullivan family, who lost five sons in World War II, Bing Crosby, Cardinal Spellman and even President Truman to participate. The move into media brought Father Peyton to Hollywood, where in 1947 he founded Family Theater Productions, which created radio dramas, films, outdoor advertising and later television programs to reach people around the world with his message of peace and unity.

Becoming a Worldwide Mission: At the same time, Father Peyton started the Family Rosary Crusade. Millions of people attended Rosary rallies, where Father Peyton led them in prayer. These massive events were held in Manila, Bogota, Bombay, Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, San Francisco, London, Barcelona, Johannesburg, Madrid, Nairobi and other cities.

Sainthood Candidate: Father Peyton died in 1992 but his mission continues under the direction of Holy Cross Family Ministries, which has its world headquarters in Easton, Mass. Now a candidate for sainthood by the Catholic Church, he is referred to as Servant of God Patrick Peyton.

For more information on the continuing ministry:www.FamilyRosary.org.

 

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Students in the Classes of 1948 and 1949 at the Vincentian Institute in Albany, N.Y., pray the Rosary during a WOKO radio broadcast.

 

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Students in a typing class at the Vincentian Institute in Albany, N.Y., practice their skills by typing letters for Father Peyton, circa 1945.

 

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Fathers Lawyer, Woods and McCaffrey work with a pair of secretaries in the Albany, N.Y., headquarters of Family Rosary, circa 1945.

 

 

FAMILY ROSARY HELPS FAMILIES PRAY

Family Rosary supports the spiritual well-being of the family through prayer, especially the Rosary.

EVENTS :  For retreats, missions, days of reflection and more for your parish, school or organization – mission@hcfm.org or 800-299-7729.  

FAMILY FAITH-BASED PRODUCTS:  www.HCFMstore.org or 800-299-7729.

PRAYER SUPPORT :  Post your prayer petition at www.FamilyRosary.org/PRAY or call 800-299-7729.

The Family That Prays Together Stays Together