This month, Bishop Barron appears to break news with Padre Pio star Shia LaBeouf; two Holocaust-themed TV projects; Father Stu may get an award; and both Mother Teresa and the Archangel Michael get Fathom releases.
Shia LeBeouf Now Catholic?
Bishop Robert Barron has caused a bit of a stir with a new video conversation with actor Shia LaBeouf, star of the upcoming film Padre Pio.
[Buddhist director] Abel Ferrara says casting Shia LaBeouf as Padre Pio, the Italian monk who gained rock-star status among the Catholic faithful, coincided with a point in the actor’s life “where he connected very deeply with Pio’s journey in the film.”
Due to premiere in early September at the Venice Film Festival's independently run Giornate degli Autori, Padre Pio stars the former child star, who's had a tumultuous life, including substance abuse and brushes with the law.
Headlines are swirling that, during research and preparation for the film, LaBeouf converted to Catholicism.
While he hints at becoming Catholic and obviously has grown in love for the Faith, the National Catholic Register spoke to the Capuchin friars that have been working with LaBeouf and confirmed that he hasn't yet been formally received into the Church.
Brother Alexander said LaBeouf attends Mass as much as he can on weekdays and consistently on Sundays. LaBeouf is in contact with Brother Alexander and “always wanting to learn” about the Catholic faith, the friar said.
But the friar said LaBeouf has not received the sacrament of confirmation yet, though he intends to. Brother Alexander did not know if LaBeouf had received the sacrament of reconciliation.
Prayers up that this conversion proves lasting.
Watch his compelling testimony yourself:
Two Views of the Holocaust
One documentary and one scripted; one soon, and one yet to come.
Premiering Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, The U.S. and the Holocaust, directed by Ken Burns, takes a three-part, six-hour look at how America responded (or didn't) to the rush of European refugees from the Holocaust.
Also, Steven Spielberg's Amblin TV, Scholastic Entertainment and Marlee Matlin's Solo One Productions have partnered for a live-action limited series called Signs of Survival: A Memoir of the Holocaust, by Renee Hartman, written by Joshua M. Greene.
The story follows two Jewish sisters, one hearing and one deaf, living in 1940s Czechoslovakia, who have to survive on their own after their parents are taken away.
The project is in development; no word yet on where it might air.
Father Stuart Long Is an Awards Finalist
Montana-born boxer-turned-priest Father Stuart Long became the subject of the Mark Wahlberg film Father Stu, which came out last year.
Father Stu died of a debilitating illness only a few years after ordination, but his life and brief priesthood had a major impact on all those who knew -- and through the movie, on the world.
From the National Catholic Register:
Father Stuart Long — the late Catholic priest recently featured in a film starring actor Mark Wahlberg — is one of seven finalists for a prestigious Catholic award called the Lumen Christi Award. ...
The Lumen Christi Award, presented by the papal society Catholic Extension, honors “people who radiate and reveal the light of Christ present in the communities they serve.” Founded in 1905, the Chicago-based nonprofit says that it “works in solidarity with people in America’s poorest regions to build up vibrant and transformative Catholic faith communities.”
The next edition of Extension magazine, due out in September, will announce the 2022-2023 award recipient.
New Fathom Releases Profile the Archangel Michael and Mother Teresa
On Sept. 29, Fathom Events and Sonovision present Saint Michael: Meet the Angel, a documentary showing in theaters for one night only, on Thursday, Sept. 29.
From the press release:
This is the first documentary of its kind on Saint Michael to release in theaters. It will lead the audience to places of apparitions of Saint Michael the Archangel and will include powerful testimonies of faith, riveting Church history, the beautiful architecture and art in Christian culture that will bring people closer to the extraordinary figure of Archangel Michael. ...
SAINT MICHAEL arrives as part of a new offering by Fathom Events called The Saint Series, a special collection of films where moviegovers can learn the fascinating stories behind everyday people who became Catholic saints.
Following the film is a bonus feature with interviews with Catholic figures including Father Donald Calloway, MIC.
In more than 960 theaters on Oct. 3-4, the saints keep marching on, with Fathom Events' presentation of Mother Teresa: No Greater Love, produced by the Knights of Columbus.
From the press release:
Produced by the Knights of Columbus, filmed on five continents and featuring unprecedented access to both institutional archives and the apostolates of the Missionaries of Charity, "Mother Teresa: No Greater Love" chronicles the life of Mother Teresa and the profound spiritual and physical impact she and the Missionaries of Charity have had — and continue to have — on Catholics and non-Catholics alike throughout the world.
The documentary also addresses Mother Teresa's admitted periods of spiritual darkness while serving the poorest of the poor, and her friendship with another revered saint, Pope John Paul II.
Image: Adobe Stock (Padre Pio, Holocaust); Diocese of Helena (Father Stuart Long); Shutterstock (Archangel Michael, Mother Teresa)
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.