Holy Cross Father Hugh W. Cleary Named National Director at Holy Cross Family Ministries

August 18, 2015


Father Hugh W. Cleary, C.S.C., has been named national director of Holy Cross Family Ministries, the Catholic organization devoted to family prayer, especially the Rosary. He previously served on the Board of Directors for Holy Cross Family Ministries and was superior general of the Congregation of Holy Cross, which sponsors the ministry founded by Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton.

As national director, Father Cleary is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day pastoral outreach efforts of Holy Cross Family Ministry within the United States, which includes promoting and supporting the Spiritual well-being of the family by making the Rosary widely known and using media to help families pray.

“I am delighted Father Hugh is joining our team. He’ll be an essential member of our leadership,” said Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C., President of Holy Cross Family Ministries, who leads and guides the mission in 17 countries. Father Willy went on to say, “Families that Father Hugh has ministered to often tell me how much they benefit from his prayerful and peaceful countenance. He is a joy to be with and to work with.”

Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton was one of the most influential American Catholic priests of the 20th century. A candidate for sainthood, he encouraged millions of people to pray the Rosary daily through massive Rosary Rallies and the use of modern media, including radio, television, films and billboards.

Father Cleary actually met Father Peyton in 1964 as a first-year seminarian; and while superior general, he presented the Cause of Father Peyton to the Vatican to begin the process that, God willing, will culminate in Father Peyton’s canonization. 

“I had the chance to meet Father Peyton more than 50 years ago,” Father Cleary said. “Even then, he was considered something of a living saint. I have a strong belief that the mission of Father Peyton and Holy Cross Family Ministries are essential to help families pray.”

Father Hugh brings a wealth of academic, pastoral and administrative experience to this position. As Provincial for the former Eastern Province of Priests and Brothers, Father Hugh was the chairman of the Corporate Members Board and the Board of Directors. 

Father Hugh began his ministry as associate pastor at Holy Cross Parish in Easton. He then was pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel, a parish in inner-city Brooklyn, N.Y. He served as novice director for the Congregation of Holy Cross at their Novitiate in Colorado. He was also superior of the Eastern Province of Priests from 1994 to 1998 and he served as superior general from 1998 to 2010. He was the director of Campus Ministry at Stonehill College in Easton. Most recently Father Cleary was the chaplain at the Monastery of Bethlehem in Livingston Manor, N.Y.

Father Cleary received his Ph.D. and MA in formative Spirituality from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He also received a master’s in counseling psychology from Loyola University in Chicago, as well as his masters in theology from the University of Notre Dame. He graduated from Stonehill College in Easton with a bachelor’s in English literature.

In his new role, Father Cleary is currently working closely with the ministry’s leadership in a strategic planning process to best identify ways to serve today’s contemporary Catholic families. The ministry recently commissioned research on the Catholic family that it is reviewing and utilizing it in their strategic planning process. The leadership knows this data will also be of significant assistance to other organizations that serve families in the U.S. To that end, Holy Cross Family Ministries has commissioned CARA to develop the four Special Reports that Holy Cross Family Ministries will share with other organizations. For copies of these reports: www.HCFM.org/FamilyResearch. 

In the spirit of its founder, Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton, Holy Cross Family Ministries serves Jesus Christ and His Church by promoting and supporting the Spiritual well-being of the family. Faithful to Mary, the Mother of God, Family Rosary encourages family prayer, especially the Rosary. Holy Cross Family Ministries, through prayer events and media, reaches out to families to fulfill the founder’s vision that “the family that prays together stays together.”