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On September 1, Pope Francis sat down with some big names in the entertainment industry to “think about how to develop high-impact projects that can positively transform culture,” as recently shared by Aleteia.
It must have been quite an unusual sight in the Vatican to see some of the film and music industries’ most familiar faces. While not all participants were Catholic, the aim of the gathering was to open a discussion on how to “leverage the arts, media, and entertainment to trigger a cultural transformation that promotes the common good, universal values, and an encounter between people,” according to Hawzah News Agency.
In a two-hour meeting at Casina Pio IV, headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, in the Vatican Gardens, the pontiff reminded those gathered from the entertainment world: “You are preachers of beauty.”
Pope Francis went on to explain the importance of art as it “draws us to a path” and along this path of discovery we are fully aware that “someone is waiting for me.” However, the pontiff reminded the participants that we must show “respect for the person, for the path he or she is on.”
The artists shared their commitment to the summit that had grown in them over the week in Italy. Considering the broad scope and influence of the entertainment and arts world, any positive changes or projects stemming from this summit could inspire millions. As the pope pointed out, art “opens doors, touches hearts and helps to move forward.”
While you might know some of the artists who sat down with Pope Francis, here’s a little more detail about them and why they may have been selected for the summit, which was spearheaded by the Vitae Global Foundation.
Roumie has made a name for himself playing the role of Jesus in the wonderful crowd-funded series The Chosen. Interestingly, the American actor has an Egyptian father and an Irish mother and was actually baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church, but he converted to Catholicism once he left New York City.
Roumie is active in the Church and not only served as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, but is also now a vice-president of two boards: Catholics in Media Associates and G.K. Chesterton Theatre Company.
Fans of Mumford & Sons will appreciate the beautiful folk rock tones of Marcus Mumford. The soulful singer’s parents were international leaders of the Vineyard Churches, a type of neocharismatic evangelical Christianity (sort of falling between evangelicalism and Pentecostal).
He sweetly married his childhood penpal, actor Carey Mulligan, and the pair has two children together.
The popular actress and mom of four boys is a devout Catholic whose sister is a Dominican nun. She has been very open about her past and the pain she felt when her first marriage failed, which in fact led her to a “Protestant wilderness,” and then back into the arms of the Catholic Church.
Perhaps reason she is loved by her fans is her honesty. Through humor, she touches on the trials and tribulations of daily life, while also standing up for matters that are close to her heart and her faith.
You might not be familiar with the name, but this British actor has played some award-winning roles in films such as Selma,The Butler,The Help,Lincoln, and Jack Reacher.
Oweloyo went to the Vatican accompanied by his wife, Jessica, to whom he has been married to since 1998. The devout Christian once shared of his role as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma: “I always knew that in order to play Dr. King, I had to have God flow through me because when you see Dr. King giving those speeches, you see that he is moving in his anointing.”
Perhaps the most colorful star to meet the pope is the Prince of Reggaeton, J Balvin. The Colombian singer has a huge following in Latin America and is vocal on issues close to his heart, such as Venezuela’s economic crisis.
The artist is probably one of the more unusual participants. While described as “a good guy with a well-tended naughty side,” by writer Marlon Bishop, Balvin aims to bring dignity to all, something close to the pontiff’s heart.