The Enduring Legacy of Now-'Venerable' Father Patrick Peyton| National  Catholic Register

By Canon Michael Fitzgerald

The teenage years for Fr Patrick Peyton were as he puts it himself “restless and defiant, distressing my father because of my stubbornness, locked in a prison of
doubt and frustration, conscious only that the walls were higher than
I could ever hope to scale
“. His dream of becoming a priest seemed
beyond his reach because of lack of education and finance. He dreamed
of getting married and that his children would be priests and nuns.  There was a girl he liked, her name was Katie Cummins.

Fr Patrick took various jobs during those years in order to survive, as the farm
was too small to make a living for them all.  His three eldest sisters Beatrice, Mary and Nellie
had already gone to America.  Eventually
Fr Patrick got the idea of going to America too.  After his father’s initial reluctance
was overcome he worked on the necessary paper work.
It was decided, he was going to leave for America for a better life
and that he and his brother Tom would go to America together and join
their sisters.  The date May 13th 1928 was set and they were ready to depart by Liner from

The last Sunday night he spent in his home, he was alone with
his mother and father.  His father, who was in poor health, called him
down to the bedroom. “Go down on your knees” the father said in a
gentle voice, “and make a promise here before the picture of the
Sacred Heart.  From now on there will be nobody but yourself to advise
you or decide for you.  But your first responsibility will always be to
save your soul, and so I want you to promise to be faithful to Our
Lord in America
.”  As he waved goodbye to his parents for the last
time, Fr Patrick was determined “to be faithful.”

After arriving in Scranton, America, Fr Patrick found it hard to get a
job and again with reluctance he accepted the job of Sacristan from a
Monsignor Kelly, with the intervention and help of his sisters.
Fr Patrick thought he could get a job on his own, but failed, leaving him
to swallow his pride again. Fr Patrick wasn’t long working in the
Cathedral when his desire to be a priest was reawakened.  Monsignor
Kelly arranged for Fr Patrick to go back to school.  His brother Tom took
over the job in the Cathedral and eventually he too joined Patrick in
school and began to pursue a vocation to the priesthood.  In the spring
of 1929, eight months after arriving in America, some Holy Cross
priests came to the Cathedral to give a mission and the two brothers
ended up joining the Order.  The two brothers entered into the study
enthusiastically, but Patrick was going to meet another great obstacle
when he was struck down with the serious illness of tuberculosis.

(to be continued……..)