Today, June 5, is the 46th birthday of actor and producer Mark Wahlberg, a Catholic and, like all of us, a work in progress.
In his youth, he committed crimes and acts of violence and served time in jail for them. As a rapper and actor, his music and roles have often employed foul language, overt sexuality and violence. He was also an underwear model.
But if a repentant thief crucified next to Christ could find his way into the kingdom, there is hope for us all.
In recent years, Wahlberg publicly recommitted to his Catholic faith and married longtime girlfriend Rhea Durham — at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills, where he has been a regular Mass attendee. Their children also attend a Catholic school.
While not all of his movies are family fare, he was a star and producer for “Deepwater Horizon,” the film about the 2010 explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and “Patriots Day,” about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Both of these films celebrated the heroism of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
He’s also spoken out publicly about the difference returning to the Church as made in his life.
From 2012, on Piers Morgan’s now-defunct CNN talk show:
As the Master of Ceremonies for the World Meeting of Families festival in 2015, during Pope Francis’ visit to America …
He also had to make a little apology to Pope Francis for his raunchy movie, “Ted” …
And from 2016, a viral video calling for vocations to the priesthood, and talking about what priests have meant to him …
We all make mistakes, sometimes terrible ones, and when you become a public figure, there’s no escaping your past. But if the best use of fame is to help others, Wahlberg is making good use of his celebrity to show what repentance and redemption can mean.
Happy Birthday, Mark!
Image: Courtesy Amazon Prime
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