Father Stuart Long, a Montana priest ordained late in life who had only four years of ministry before dying of an incurable disease at age 50, is now the subject of a movie starring Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson.
The movie, “Father Stu,” which tells the story of the lives Father Long touched on his unlikely journey to the Priesthood and afterward, is creating a buzz in Catholic circles around the country, and in the Diocese of Allentown as well.
There have been watch parties among the faithful. On Monday, Bishop Alfred Schlert and about 100 people attended a pre-release screening of the movie arranged and sponsored by Kim Fiorentino, diocesan Secretary for Administration, and her husband Lou.
“Father Stu is a deeply moving film that opens hearts and minds to the saving power of Christ. A beautiful movie, with great actors, a fantastic sound track, and a powerful story,” said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. “Hopefully, you will be able to make some time to see it this Easter season.”
The man who would become Father Stuart Long grew up unbaptized, had a near-death experience following a motorcycle accident, and determined that the Priesthood was his true calling. He is played on screen by Wahlberg. Gibson is cast as Father Stu’s dad.
“Father Stuart Long’s dramatic conversion to Christ before becoming a priest led many people to Christ and the Catholic Faith,” says a statement by the Diocese of Helena, where he was ordained.
The film is rated R, but it is acceptable for age-appropriate viewing.
“Viewers should be warned that the film contains objectionable language, violence, and adult content. However, it’s our hope that the redemptive story of Fr. Stu’s conversion will invite viewers to faith and strengthen believers.”