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Bruce Springsteen and the Our Father

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
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The Boss returns to his roots.

Bruce Springsteen has been a fixture of the rock-and-roll scene for practically an entire generation. Born into a Catholic working-class family in New Jersey with Irish and Italian heritage, he’s never made a secret of his faith. That’s not to say he’s always been vocal about it, or would identify himself as a perfectly practicing Catholic, but he’s quoted as saying in a 2012 interview, “Once a Catholic, always a Catholic,” and appears to be drawing back closer to his faith later in life, as is fairly common for many people who have drifted from their faith to some degree in adulthood.

Biblical and Catholic themes have appeared in his songs throughout his career, but as he’s gotten older, those references have become more explicit — see, for example, this Christianity Today article that lists 10 such songs throughout his career, four of them dating from within just the past 10 years. A quick perusal of Aleteia’s own articles on the famous singer will turn up other examples of how Springsteen has publicly manifested his faith.

Most recently, “The Boss” spent more than a year on Broadway starring in his own one-man show, simply named Springsteen on Broadway, which won a Tony Award in 2018. He took advantage of his acceptance speech to talk about the faith of his youth.

This was anything but unexpected or out of place, because his faith plays an important role in the show itself. The autobiographical monologue focuses largely on his memories of his relationship with his father and on his Catholic upbringing and its effect on his life. One moment that has struck many audience members and critics is when, towards the end of the show, he recites the Our Father with a intensely personal tone. After reviewing his own life and his difficult relationship with his alcoholic father, he turns to the one true Father in Heaven, invoking His goodness and forgiveness: “Thy will be done …” “Forgive us our sins, our trespasses …” “Deliver us from evil, all of us.”

Here, what’s really significant isn’t the voice of this rock-and-roll celebrity, but the power of the Our Father itself. These words of Christ are capable of speaking to, and through, everyone—from toddlers, who stumble through the prayer, to aging rock stars who have experienced all the world has to offer.

If there’s anything we learn from Bruce Springsteen’s performance in that show, let it be that all of us, famous or forgotten, poor or rich, are equally children of our Father who is in Heaven. All of us are loved, all of us need forgiveness, and all of us are in His hands.

Springsteen on Broadway can be viewed on Netflix.

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