Several years ago, I came across the story of Father Patrick Peyton, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1940, but his ordination almost did not happen. He became severely ill with tuberculosis and a priest challenged him to turn to Our Lady, believing that Mary would give him 100 percent of what he asked. Father Peyton turned to the Rosary and he was miraculously cured. At that moment, he promised that if he would be ordained, he would dedicate his ministry to Mary, who had interceded for him to save his life.
Father Peyton did indeed dedicate his ministry to Mary, becoming one of the greatest promoters of the praying of the Rosary. In particular, he promoted the practice of praying the Rosary as a family, and he became known for the phrase: “The family who prays together, stays together.”
I offer that brief story as a way of introducing a new year of A Family of Faith: Catechesis for the Whole Family. For those of you who may not already be aware, we have been using this program over the past three years and we have been intentional about making it apply not just to our school-age families, but to all families, for we are all a part of one parish family here at the Cathedral. This program follows the four sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Having completed the first three sections (the Creed, the Sacraments, and the Moral Life in Christ) we are set to focus our attention this year on the final section: Christian Prayer.
The Catechism begins this section by showing how prayer ties all the sections of the Catechism together:
“Great is the mystery of the faith!” The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles’ Creed (Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three). This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer. (CCC 2558)
I am looking forward to what lies ahead for us as we delve more deeply into what prayer is and how to pray. But as we look forward, I invite you to let that slogan of Father Peyton resonate in your hearts this week and consider how the Lord is inviting you to pray more regularly with your family, whether it be your family at home, or your family here at church – hopefully both! The strengthening of our relationship with the Lord in prayer over this coming year will undoubtedly strengthen our families and our parish.