Megan Harrington describes her family's devotion to the Rosary, which she appreciated in a new way after working on the film PRAY.
Growing up my parents made us -- it was not a choice or an option -- be in the kitchen at 7am before school to pray the Rosary. They believed in its promises and the power of prayer. Gathering a herd of 11 children is not an easy task, especially in the morning.
I’d like to tell you that their example launched me into the daily practice from the time I was a small girl until today, but unfortunately, it didn’t. The seed was planted, however, and I would be reminded of its effectiveness many times over the course of my life. I am forever grateful to my parents, who were the first witnesses of the faith.
In June of 2010 I moved to California to pursue my dream of working in the entertainment world (that’s another story). Even though I was 10 years out of college, my parents were not happy I was moving to the location they felt God was going to hit with a fireball: Los Angeles.
My sister joined me in February of 2011 and we decided to host a Monday night Rosary group for Lent. Nine years later, we still have the weekly Rosary, although it's been virtual since March. A member of the group has a wonderful slogan when he goes to events, “Jesus, introduce me to your friends.” I adopted the catchphrase.
Enter December 2017 when Jesus introduced me to His friend, the force of nature known as Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., through a new documentary I was asked to produce for Family Theater Productions. My Rosary story would enter a new chapter and Father Peyton would change my life.
When I started working on PRAY: THE STORY OF PATRICK PEYTON, the only thing I really knew about Father Peyton was that he coined the phrase, “The family that prays together stays together.” As I dove deeper into his life, I was left in awe. His parents, John and Mary, would bring all nine children together nightly for the Rosary in the village of Attymass, Co. Mayo. The image of his father kneeling to pray had such a profound impact on him that he would remember it for the rest of his life. He often described his family as materially poor but spiritually rich. The way he loved the Blessed Mother and the fervor with which he asked for her intercession was jaw-dropping. She was truly his friend and mother.
Working on the project made me think about my parents, the Rosary, and the Blessed Mother in a profound way. I remember calling home from L.A. and thanking them for the gift of family prayer. I will never forget the joy of watching the film with them and my dad’s emotional reaction to the story, which I’m sure reminded him of his materially poor but spiritually rich upbringing.
When Father Petyon was close to 80 a reporter asked him, “what is the most important event that has happened in your life?” Keep in mind, Father Peyton spoke to millions at Rosary rallies, met Popes, and worked with almost every Hollywood star of his day. He replied, “The greatest event of my life was that I was born into a FAMILY Rosary home. If it weren’t for that, nothing worthwhile would be in my life or in my work.” What a clarion call to parents around the world.
Rather unexpectedly, my dad died last May. God was merciful and allowed us time with him at the hospital, during which he received the Last Rites and held court with his family. A few hours before he took his last breath, my mom led the Rosary as we sat beside his bed. In true fashion, he continued to teach us by example, when he could no longer speak words. The promises of the Rosary continued to unfold.
Preparing for his final journey home he said many wise things, including, “The family that prays together stays together. Remember that.” We started a nightly family Rosary by phone for whoever can join when the pandemic hit. It’s been a great consolation to my beautiful mother to hear all the voices, including her grandkids, and she believes Dad arranged it (the Rosary, not the pandemic). I know he’s on the line with Father Peyton, silent but loud and alive in our hearts. Those beads are powerful and will change your life. The Blessed Mother delivers on her promises.
Thank you, Mom and Dad.
Look for a new Rosary Story each day throughout October, and use the hashtag #myrosarystory to share yours on social media!
Copyright 2020 Megan Harrington
About the author: Megan Harrington is a Senior Producer at Family Theater Productions. Her passion is telling inspiring true stories that showcase the true, good and beautiful. Her work includes Producer-Writer on PRAY: THE STORY OF PATRICK PEYTON, THE DATING PROJECT, and THE HOUSE THAT ROB BUILT. She served as Executive Producer on the feature film UNPLANNED.
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