Cardinal urges Christians to twitter


HARNESS THE powers of modern communications such as texting, e-mails and the internet to create a worldwide solidarity of prayer, Cardinal Seán Brady urged yesterday.

Speaking at the unveiling in Attymass, Co Mayo, of a 7ft statue of Fr Patrick Peyton, who was known worldwide in the mid-20th century as the “Rosary Priest”, said prayer had the power to overcome the difficult times we live in.

In 1940s America, Fr Peyton, who dedicated his life to the Blessed Virgin Mary after his life was spared from tuberculosis, coaxed Hollywood stars of the time, such as Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby, to the rosary on television, then a new but hugely influential medium.

Fr Peyton died in 1992 after a lifetime spent promoting prayer and devotion to the Blessed Virgin. He conducted 40 rosary rallies worldwide that drew 28 million people.

At ceremonies yesterday in Attymass, near Ballina, where Fr Peyton was born in 1909, Dr Brady said the Mayoman had shown the present generation the way forward.

“Fr Peyton had a great gift for using the most up-to-date means of social communication. He was pioneering in his use of television to communicate the gospel and the power of prayer through the rosary,” said Cardinal Brady.

“He attracted the support of many famous film stars along the way. I am sure if there had been mobile phones in his day Fr Peyton would have been big into texting and twitter. He would rejoice in the power of the internet and e-mail to join people together in prayerful solidarity instantaneously and across the world.”

Dr Brady, who was joined in the centenary celebrations by Bishop of Achonry Dr Brendan Kelly and local parish priest Fr Tommy Mulligan, as well as relatives of Fr Peyton, appealed to “every Christian in Ireland” who sends texts, twitters or uses e-mails to think about setting up prayer groups using these modern means of communication.

“Make someone the gift of a prayer through text, twitter or e-mail every day,” Dr Brady said.