One of my last professional salaried positions was with Holy Cross Family Ministries in Easton, MA.
Holy Cross Family Ministries is the apostolate started by Fr. Patrick Peyton, the Rosary priest. Fr. Peyton had Tuberculosis, and with no cure in sight, he was asked by someone if he ever tried prayer. That night, Fr. Peyton prayed the Rosary. And, lo and behold, his disease went away. He decided to devote the rest of his priestly life in homage to Mary spreading Rosary devotion.
Most widely known for his saying, “the family that prays together stays together,” Fr. Peyton held Rosary Rallies all throughout the world.
When I met Fr. John Phalen, my superior, I knew that there was something different about him. A grace far surpassing any that I had met. Fr. John encapsulated someone who loves and adores Mary. He was the Past President of the Mariological Society of America.
He shared with me that Mary is the model of our faith. She could not say “no” to God even despite not knowing what would come next or why things were happening.
Mary models for us how to respond to this great invitation. She trusts that God wants to do this great work in her, and recognizes what a glorious privilege this is for her. She sees that it is entirely God’s doing – she is merely saying yes, and her response has ramifications for the whole world.
Father John taught me what it meant to love Mary.
It was that love that I brought to the donors of Fr. Peyton’s ministry to be able to ask them to continue Mary’s work in the world, especially now, through their philanthropy. I traveled all over the country to wherever Fr. Peyton had a following and it was truly God’s work.
Perhaps the most impactful position on my entire life. And, probably the priest who had the most transformative effect on my personhood.
Fr. John was transferred to Peru and I was devasted. To say that I adore him still is a truth.
I can recall one moment, as we were both traveling through Alligator Alley in South Florida, when he turned to me and said, “Now, let’s say the Rosary.” And, we did, together. In fact, we said it every day we were together traveling.
On this day, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I honor the man who showed me who Mary is – Father John. Thank you, Fr. John.