Category: Fr. Willy Raymond, C.S.C.

‘Faith in Media’: Patrick Coffin and IHRadio’s Joseph Nesta Salute Father Patrick Peyton on His Birthday

faith-media-patrick-coffin-patrick-peyton-joseph-nestaFather Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., was born Jan. 9, 1909 in Attymass, a village in County Mayo, Ireland. He passed away in Los Angeles in 1992, but not before founding Family Theater Productions, dedicated to using modern media to help strengthen families, especially through prayer.

FTP recently sat down with several Catholic media professionals to talk about a variety of topics relating to “Faith in Media,” and one of those was the impact of Father Peyton (click here to learn more about him). These videos will also be available on our Facebook page, but below find our conversations with two of them.

Joseph Nesta is a Catholic revert and the senior community relations officer for Catholic radio network Immaculate Heart Radio.

Patrick Coffin is a cradle Catholic, an author, speaker and radio host — for many years, he was the host of “Catholic Answers Live” — and now has embarked on a solo venture at, featuring news and a podcast.

We’re also celebrating the 75th anniversary of another ministry of Father Peyton, Family Rosary. Here’s the announcement of what’s in store for that organization and the sainthood campaign for Father Peyton:



Servant of God Patrick Peyton began a mission

to build family unity through daily prayer of the Rosary

EASTON, Mass. – It all started when one father prayed one Rosary in one home. Today, that singular act has touched the lives of nearly 50 million people around the world – and it continues to spread!

Sainthood candidate Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., began Family Rosary 75 years ago with the goal of building family unity through daily prayer of the Rosary. He was inspired by his own father, who more than a century ago started praying the Rosary with his family in their poor but spiritually rich home.

Father Peyton devoted his life to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and praying her Rosary. He became gravely ill as a seminarian and the doctors had no hope of recovery. So he did as his father, John, had taught him back home in Ireland.

“Father Peyton was a seminarian, studying for the priesthood, when he was stricken with tuberculosis,” said Father Wilfred Raymond, CSC, President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. “He prayed his Rosary to the Blessed Mother and made a miraculous recovery. From that moment, he knew he was to be the one to carry out her apostolate, her ministry to bring families together for Rosary prayer, just as his family had done.”

That became the foundational experience for Father Peyton (1909-92), also known as the “Rosary Priest,” who went on to lead millions in prayer at events around the world. Father Peyton’s mission, Family Rosary (founded in 1942), continues today through programs, products, events and digital outreach to families around the world.  Recently Family Rosary’s Facebook page surpassed one million followers.  Thousands are reached daily through prayer posts, videos and spiritual messages.  The ministry’s newest outreach, the Daily Family Reflection, provides a daily homily, four-minutes in length, live from The Father Peyton Center in Easton, Massachusetts, USA, available through Facebook and also on their blog,  The ministry also helps families pray through their Daily Family Prayer app and their Family Rosary app.

In addition, Family Rosary has partnered with Growing with the Saints, in the development of a Catholic vacation bible school kit that teaches children how to pray the Rosary and includes take-home elements (in English and Spanish) for the family to pray together each day.  “Tracking Mary: Mysteries & Messages,” the latest vacation bible school program by Growing with the Saints is available at

“We reach out to young parents where they are – online!” said Father Raymond.  “Helping our young families pray together to strengthen the faith of their family is the focus of everything we do.”

This year, 2017, also marks the 25th anniversary of Father Peyton’s death.  Family Rosary is honoring Father Peyton’s memory through many events and activities throughout the year.  In addition to their ongoing programs, Family Rosary will be announcing shortly the details for a very special prayer event on October 7, 2017.

The essence of Father Peyton’s ministry, which spanned half a century, is relevant and vibrant to families today.   Father Peyton touched the lives of countless individuals with his kindness, sincerity and devotion to Mary. Over the years, he advocated for families by preaching two powerful and memorable sayings: “The Family That Prays Together Stays Together” and “A World at Prayer is a World at Peace.”

The Vatican is considering Father Peyton for sainthood. His life, work, writings and actions are being examined for miracles and other evidence for the canonization of the Rosary Priest. He has been proclaimed a Servant of God in this process with the next steps being bestowal of the term Venerable for his life of heroic virtue, to be followed, God willing, by Beatification and Sainthood.

In the spirit of its founder, Servant of God Patrick Peyton, Family Rosary continues to inspire, promote and foster the prayer life and spiritual well-being of families throughout the world with programs, products and extensive digital outreach. In addition to the United States, Father Peyton’s ministry to family spirituality and prayer has offices in sixteen countries on five continents, truly encircling the globe with constant prayer with and for families of all nations.

For more information, call 800-299-7729 or visit, and

Family Rosary is a ministry ofHoly Cross Family Ministries, which is sponsored by the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Images: Courtesy Family Theater Productions

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.

‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ Star Clarence Gilyard Jr. Hits World Youth Day in Krakow

Clarence on the Jumbotron Marian Youth-cropFr. Willy Raymond, former head of Family Theater Productions, and currently president of our parent organization, Holy Cross Family Ministries, is on pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, home of Saint Pope John Paul II. It officially started today and runs through July 31.

But he’s not alone. Fr. Willy has companions on his travels, including actor — and HCFM board member — Clarence Gilyard Jr., known for “Matlock,” “Left Behind,” “Die Hard,” “Top Gun” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

Born on Christmas Eve, 1955, and raised as an Air Force brat and a Lutheran, Gilyard converted to Catholicism in the ’90s. From a 2001 Zenit interview:

One of the things that grounds me is the Mass. I can find a Catholic church wherever I go. I try to go daily and feel like I´m missing something if I don´t strive to go daily. It’s not a reflection on anyone else, just where God and I are right now.

I´m really listening to what God is communicating to me. I really need the Eucharist. My spiritual director, Father John Dick, suggested I pick up the Liturgy of the Hours about eight months ago. I struggle with that, three times a day. But I love it when I hit a stride and can get more prayers in.

I´m like any Catholic who is striving. I try to do what the Church says we´re supposed to do – pray the rosary, keep up with the saints being observed, and participate in the liturgical seasons like Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.

When you do what the Church says to do, it works.

He also got to meet now-Saint Pope John Paul II:

I was on a 10-day trip to Italy this past summer with a priest — who is my spiritual director – and a seminarian. We saw the [eucharistic] miracle at Lanciano [near Rome], [the shrine of] Padre Pio, Assisi and other holy places.

Upon returning to our room in Rome, after visiting Assisi, we received a note confirming that we would be able to attend morning Mass [with the Pope]. We were overjoyed and just dropped to our knees and thanked God. The experience was awesome. We got to kiss his hands; he said “good morning.”

We hear talk about the Holy Father being so frail. But these comments are like a Sunday couch-potato quarterback commenting on a game. The Holy Father is as sharp as a tack. We are so concerned about our bodies that we think that´s the going deal. But I´m not worried at all. The Holy Father is doing just fine. He´s right where God wants him.

Gilyard came to the Faith after dabbling in substance abuse and sexual immorality, but then a friend invited him to Mass.

Being on his knees in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist had a profound effect. From a 2009 piece in St. Anthony Messenger Press:

“I don’t know how many Catholics are aware of why we are on our knees in the presence of Jesus,” he continues. “That’s where I needed to be. Mother Church allows that and informs us that way,” he says. “It is one of the great gifts.”

Being near the Eucharist made Clarence intensely aware of the presence of God, he explains. “It’s all about the presence of God in the consecrated host. Otherwise, it’s just a building. If Jesus is not present, it’s a sham,” he says. But Jesus is present, he knows: “I experienced it that day and to this day. To this day, it is what sustains me.”

He describes “needing” to go to daily Mass, and when he slips, he recommits himself to the practice. He had known God’s mercy, God’s grace. Back in the early ’90s, when his religious awakening had occurred, he soon got himself to a priest: “I dumped everything” out, and, after it was all over, he was “in a state of grace,” he says. The priest told him, “’You’re in a great place, kid.’ I’ve never forgotten that.”

That Jesuit counseled Clarence into an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program for joining the Catholic Church and gave him some booklets for daily prayer.

Now he’s in Krakow. Courtesy of Fr. Willy, here’s a look …

Here he is, captivating 1,500 Vincentian Youth with his personal witness:

Clarence Gilyard holds 1500 Vincentian Youth enraptured with personal Witness, Kraków

Here, he’s with a Vincentian Youth from Sicily (in the wheelchair), who’s met Pope Francis twice:

Clarence with Vincentian youth from Sicily. Samuele, in Wheelchair, met Pope Francis twice


Up on the Jumbotron in front of Marian Youth:

Clarence on the Jumbotron, Marian Youth

Thank you for your witness, Mr. Gilyard!

Images: Courtesy Fr. Willy Raymond

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.




Eduardo and Mother Dolores Hart

Prayer and Pasta with Mother Dolores Hart (9)








Mother Dolores Hart, the Prioress of a cloistered community of Benedictine nuns in Bethlehem, Ct, was not always a nun. She starred with Elvis Presley in Where the Boys Are. Here she is 50 years after she abruptly abandoned a promising Hollywood career.

She returned to Hollywood twice this year, first to walk the Red Carpet at the Academy Awards in February. A documentary film of her life, God is the Bigger Elvis,  was nominated for an Oscar. She returned to Hollywood a second time in June as part of a book tour promoting her autobiography, The Ear of the Heart. She inspired young Hollywood with her personal witness and charming presence.

Here she is pictured at Family Theater Productions with Catholic film actor Eduardo Verastegui, star of “Bella.” What a joy to stand with these two good actors and disciples of the Lord.


On April 15, 2013, every Major League Baseball player donned a jersey with the number ’42’ on the back in honor of Jackie Robinson. This past weekend, the movie “42” made its debut in theaters around the country. It out-performed every other film at the box office just as Jackie Robinson out-performed every other rookie in 1947 to be selected ‘Rookie of the Year.’ That was the year too when Robinson singhandedly broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. It’s hard to believe now but until in 1947 MLB was an all white sport. The Brooklyn Dodgers owner, Branch Rickey, gets credit for signing Robinson and sticking by this courageous man when abuse and verbal trash were heaped upon him by fans at home and away.

In this film, writer/director Brian Helgelend presents the rookie season of Jackie Robinson’s brilliant career and that is all. The film is straightforward and a moving tribute to Mr. Robinson’s courage and restraint. Branch Rickey, who owned the Brooklyn Dodgers, said to Robinson, “I know you have the guts to fight back, what I do not know is whether you have the guts not to fight back.”  He means, not to fight back when you are taunted with racial slurs, cursing and trash talking by racist fans, fellow players and managers. Robinson had the guts not to fight back and in so doing paved the way for Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe and black and brown players. Like Gandhi and Martin Luther King’ Jr, he refused to be brought down to the level of his tormentors.

This delightful film is rated PG-13 for the language and racism in portrays in post World War II America. Mrs. Rachel Robinson was at Dodger Stadium Monday night along with Magic Johnson to pay homage to her late husband and a genuine American hero. Young Mr. Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in the film, has a promising career in prospect. But it is hard to imagine his ever having a more noble character to portray on film. Harrison Ford has come a long way since Stars Wars. Both actors give worthy performances that may be noticed by the Oscar voters later this coming year. Both characters are Methodists who take their faith in God seriously. I would want teens and young adults in particular see this very fine film.

A Prophet for Our Time

Producer/ Director


On the day following the 8th anniversary of the death of Blessed John Paul II, we screened the documentary film, The Prophet of Our Time. This “labor of love” was produced and directed by Lannette Turicchi, Falling Upwards Productions.   Over a 6 year period, Lannette and her team had very helpful access to Vatican archives, to senior Church officials in Rome, the United States and Poland.

Rather than attempt a linear narrative of the life of Pope John Paul along with the mountain of accomplishments, Mrs. Turicchi chose to present the human person through his relationships with a variety of friends and colleagues and his love for the Our Lord Jesus Christ, his Church and his Mother, Mary.

About 40 people attended the screening and were enthused about its content and quality.  The film is not yet available to the public, but come back to the Faith and Family Media Blog for distribution details as soon as they are available.

The Word of God is Alive and Comes to Life on The History Channel


Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have produced an epic retelling of some of the great stories from the Bible.   They have screened it widely for audiences of religious and clergy form many denominations.   Included in one such event recently was Fr. Willy Raymond, CSC, National Director of Family Theater.   The series captures much of the feeling and power of the written word.