Friday, November 11, 2016
Mark Wahlberg on priesthood and priestly vocations. . .
Mark Wahlberg, the star of such Hollywood blockbusters as “The Perfect Storm”, “The Departed”, “Transformers”, “Planet of the Apes”, and others, posted a video through the Diocese of Providence’s Facebook page, talking about the Catholic Priesthood and encouraging vocations.
The video was all over Facebook and the social media. I do not need to repost it here but I think it is a powerful statement coming from a popular Hollywood personality that stands in stark contrast to the religious skepticism generally seen in Tinseltown. Wahlberg is no stranger to public support for the Christian faith and his Roman Catholic heritage. He has been a vocal and steadfast voice in support of pastoral work, faithfulness to the mass, and Catholic family values. Though he does not speak for or to Lutherans, his witness is not without its implications for us as well. Lutherans, especially of the LCMS variety, are facing an uncertain future in terms of vocations to the pastoral ministry. We are at one and the same time facing a decade that will certainly see the highest numbers of retirements from a boom generation of pastors that will leave our churches scrambling and declining seminary enrollments that already are not keeping pace with the need for pastors.
If you love your church, pray for these pastoral vocations, support the seminaries with your generous financial giving, and encourage the brightest and best of our young men to consider the pastoral calling. I grew up on the heels of a generation in which men of the cloth were portrayed in the media as heroic figures and individuals who could have done anything and yet chose to be pastors. Since then the media has done its darnedest to portray clergy as weak, vacillating, spineless, immoral, bigoted, and greedy fools. Bing Crosby (Going My Way) and Karl Malden (On the Waterfront) and Tom Tryon (The Cardinal) have all given way to The Rev. Mr. Bean or The Vicar of Dibley or the Impastor. Folks, if you want pastors for your children or grandchildren, you need to esteem the pastoral office as a noble calling and encourage young men to consider such a vocation and then make it possible financially for them to pay for the training and finish the course to serve the Lord in His Church.