Pope Francis has advanced the Cause of “rosary priest” Fr Patrick Peyton.

The Pope approved a decree recognising his heroic virtues during an audience on December 18 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.

Fr Peyton was a Catholic media pioneer in the 1940s, using radio and later television to produce popular programmes featuring Hollywood stars including Grace Kelly and Lucille Ball to promote family prayer.

His ministry produced more than 600 radio and television programmes and 10,000 broadcasts. The priest also conducted rosary crusades for millions of people in dozens of countries. He had two especially famous mottos: “The family that prays together stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”

Raised in Ireland, Fr Peyton applied to a seminary in his teens, but was turned down for a scholarship award. He emigrated to theUnited States in 1928 when he was 19, with his heart set on becoming a millionaire.

However, the idea of priesthood returned after he found a job as a sexton in the cathedral of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He and his brother joined the seminary and were ordained in the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1941.

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