Faith is not popular in Hollywood, but it’s important to me

Mark Wahlberg is keeping the faith.

The Catholic actor got candid about his religious beliefs on Wednesday when he stopped by the “Today” show with an ashen smudge on his forehead — a symbol of Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent, for some Christian denominations. For worshippers, these six-and-a-half weeks leading up to Easter commemorate the death and resurrection of their prophet Jesus Christ.

Wahlberg noted how religion has helped him stay disciplined in his film career.

“[Faith] is everything, it’s afforded me so many things,” the “Father Stu” star, 51, said, adding that exercising his religion publicly is “a balance” and he doesn’t “want to jam it down anybody’s throat.”

“It’s not popular in my industry, but, you know, I cannot deny my faith. It’s important for me to share that with people. I have friends from all walks of life and all different types of faiths and religions, so you know, it’s important to respect and honor them as well,” the Boston native said.

The former rapper then explained how his career transition from music to movies forced him to realize that he needed more discipline in his life.

Mark Wahlberg spoke at The Festival of Families in 2015 with Pop Francis visiting.
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Wahlberg added, “And that discipline has afforded me so many other things. I want to share that with people. So whether that’s with fasting, detaching from other things, and just spending more time with God in prayer or in thoughtful reflection and those things are important.”

“God knows the things that He wants you to detach from,” the father-of-four stated. “We all know those things that make us feel guilty, don’t make us feel as good as we should. So being able to detach from those things and focus on good habits as opposed to bad habits is just challenging people to be better versions of themselves.”

In 2017, Walhberg asked for God’s forgiveness for playing porn star Dirk Diggler in the 1997 drama “Boogie Nights.” He said during an appearance at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago at the time that he hoped “God is a movie fan and also forgiving because I’ve made some poor choices in my past. ‘Boogie Nights’ is up there at the top of the list.”

There are some details regarding the Paul Thomas Anderson flick that Wahlberg doesn’t regret, as he revealed last year on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” that he actually kept his oversized prosthetic penis from the shoot.

“It’s in a safe locked away,” he said. “It’s not something I could leave out. All of a sudden my kids are looking for a spare phone charger and pull that thing out and go, ‘What the heck is this?!’ It wouldn’t be a good look.”