You have probably heard by now of the miraculous story of Shia LaBeouf, the actor who by his own admission led a pretty immoral life before starring in a movie as Padre Pio. He says that spending time with Capuchin friars in preparation for the film, as well as being exposed to the Traditional Latin Mass, led to his being drawn to the Catholic faith and the complete turnaround of his life. This turn of events for a man who was so lost in worldly attachments and his ego can only be described as a true encounter with the Holy Spirit and a sign that God has a truly important plan for Shia, much like He did for St. Paul.
The conversion you may not have heard about is that of Marcus Freeman, the current head coach of Notre Dame’s football team. Unlike Shia, he was living a Christian life before entering the Catholic Church and according to an interview with the National Catholic Register, he likes being at Notre Dame because of the emphasis on faith. Upon becoming the head coach prior to this season, he also restarted the tradition of a game day Mass for the team, the morning of the game.
“What better time is there to go have Mass?,” he said.
These two conversions, one more dramatic than the other, show that the pull of the Catholic Church is in Her beauty and tradition and the fact that She is the one Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. The recent scandal of sexual abuse by clergy within the Church or the financial trouble She has experienced, even disagreements among the faithful regarding Pope Francis and some of the things he says are not reasons to not be Catholic and these two recent converts realize this. Their experiences show us that the Holy Spirit is still hard at work leading souls to the true Faith and in the process showing others how beautiful It can be. It is even more important that these two converts come from the worlds of Hollywood and sports, two of the biggest platforms in America. This will cause even more people to be exposed to Catholicism and really think about these men’s stories, particularly Shia’s. Such a dramatic change in life and behavior can only be explained supernaturally.
Welcome home, Shia and Marcus. Thanks be to God for their conversions and let us continue to pray for them as they continue on their faith journeys, and for others who hear of their stories, that they may be moved to join the Church.