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Viewing PRAY: The Story of Patrick Peyton, Lisa M. Hendey receives glimpses into the man she wishes she'd had the pleasure to meet in real life.

I’ve had the great privilege of pre-screening the wonderful documentary PRAY several times, most recently in late July with my 79-year-old father. The film, a retrospective on the life of Venerable Patrick Peyton, never ceases to fill my heart.

In so many ways, although I never had the opportunity to meet him in person, my life has intersected with Fr. Peyton and his ministry. As the film so beautifully shares, Fr. Peyton once trod the paths of my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, as a young seminarian. I like to believe that he prayed, as I did so many times, at the grotto on the campus where I met and married my husband. When he was a boy, my Daddy rode on a “Rosary float” during one of Fr. Peyton’s early crusades in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fr. Peyton traveled the world sharing his passion for family prayer. He endeavored to use every means of modern media to share his message. A few years back, when CatholicMom.com became a part of Holy Cross Family Ministries (founded by Fr. Peyton), my heart found and bonded with one of my most integral spiritual companions and intercessors. You could say that I have Fr. Peyton on speed dial!

2020 0923 LHendey PRAY

So every watching of PRAY gives me new glimpses into the man I always wish I’d had the joy of meeting “in real life.” Screening the documentary with Daddy was a great gift in that he connected so deeply with its message. We sat afterwards, reminiscing about his memories of family Rosaries prayed in his own home and in our family as I grew up. To this day, even in their declining health and physically separated from one another because of my mother’s illness, my parents still connect through Our Lady’s prayer. To this day, it’s become a reflex for me to ask for Mary’s help (and now Fr. Peyton’s too!) because my parents taught me through their example that “the family that prays together stays together.”

At its heart, PRAY is a collection of stories about the remarkable life and legacy of one man, Venerable Patrick Peyton, told through the impact that he had on so many of us living around the globe. Filled with history, with innovation, and with true soul, the film not only entertains but also challenges the viewer to rise above this era’s temptation to lose hope. By recounting the challenges Fr. Peyton faced, especially in a time when so many of us battle our own hurdles and carry our own crosses, we are reminded that we never walk this journey alone. PRAY encourages us to seek peace in our world through the powerful tool that is family prayer. Even if we live alone, we are part of a universal family. As such, the moments we spend in dialogue with the God who loves us so greatly connect us into a worldwide communion of spirit.

I encourage you to watch PRAY as many times as you can. I believe you’ll find, as I did, that you walk away from each viewing with a full heart and a passion to follow Fr. Peyton’s lead and to love the world around you in little ways. While his path to sainthood began with unlikely and very human steps, Patrick Peyton’s ongoing cause for canonization reminds those of us that God uses each of us every day in big and little ways. Just as Fr. Peyton never placed limits around the power of Our Lady’s love to draw us ever closer to her son Jesus, you and I can be that same force in our homes and communities.

It all begins with something that is free, easy, and life-affirming.

Just pray.


You'll walk away from viewing @PrayTheFilm with a full heart and a passion to follow Fr. Peyton’s lead and to love the world around you in little ways. #catholicmom

View the trailer for PRAY:



To find out more about PRAY: The Story of Patrick Peyton, including how to view the movie in theaters or bring it to a parish event, visit PrayTheFilm.com.

Copyright 2020 Lisa M. Hendey
Images (top to bottom): courtesy of PRAY/Family Theater Productions; copyright 2020 Lisa M. Hendey, all rights reserved; courtesy of PRAY/Family Theater Productions.