Hollywood star Shia LaBeouf was received into the Catholic Church with the sacrament of confirmation by Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, Bishop Robert Barron on Sunday evening.
The Capuchin Franciscans-Western American Province announced LaBeouf’s confirmation on their Facebook account Tuesday.
“We are thrilled to share that our dear friend Shia LaBeouf has fully entered the Church this past weekend through the sacrament of confirmation,” the statement said. “The Capuchin Franciscan friars are overjoyed to welcome him into the fold and witness his deep commitment to his faith journey.”
LaBeouf’s confirmation sponsor, Capuchin friar Brother Alexander Rodriguez, told CNA Wednesday that the actor wants to become a deacon “sometime in the future.”
Rodriguez said that LaBeouf began entertaining the idea of the diaconate during his recent film “Padre Pio.” In that film, LaBeouf played the titular St. Pio of Pietrelcina and Rodriguez played the role of a friar.
“He just spontaneously said, ‘I want to become a deacon,’ and he still feels that way,” Rodriguez said.
The sacramental ceremony took place at Old Mission Santa Inés Parish in Solvang, California, the same Capuchin parish that LaBeouf first went to train for his role as a Franciscan friar in the “Padre Pio” film.
In Barron’s previous assignment as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, he oversaw the region containing Old Mission Santa Inés. Rodriguez said the two met during Barron’s tenure as auxiliary bishop.
In the interview, he said that he was agnostic before finding God. He said he had a bar mitzvah as a 13-year-old boy but never embraced the Jewish faith.
Despite his successes as an actor in big-screen films such as “Transformers,” “Fury,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” and “Holes,” his life was in turmoil. In trouble with the law multiple times, LaBeouf currently faces a lawsuit filed by his ex-girlfriend accusing him of being physically abusive.
Estranged from his mother because of his downward spiral, LaBeouf told Barron he had reached the point where he despaired of living, saying: “I don’t want to be here anymore.”
LaBeouf in the interview with Barron said he believes God used his eagerness to resurrect his lagging movie career to put him on a path to healing and personal peace.
He hit a turning point when he was offered to play the lead in Abel Ferrara’s film “Padre Pio.” He leapt at the chance.
The actor spent an immense amount of time with Franciscan friars at Old Mission Santa Inés to prepare for the role, which made him increasingly curious about the faith that inspired Padre Pio.
He began diving into Scripture and the works of important Catholic writers.
In his interview with Barron, LaBeouf spoke about his view of Jesus prior to his having read the Gospels as someone who is “soft, fragile, all-loving, all-listening” but with “no ferocity, no romance.” What he encountered in the Gospels was a very different, masculine Christ, he said.
After the film’s completion, LaBeouf told CNA that playing the role of the saint while being immersed in his monastery and town added to the intensity.
“It’s enormous pressure, but it only served the film,” he said. “There are scenes where we’re running Mass and these aren’t actors in the seats. These are God-fearing people who love Pio and you feel it, and it only adds to the stakes.”
Despite the pressure, LaBeouf said that “I have never, in the course of my entire career, been on a set where the film felt easier to make.”
LaBeouf told ChurchPOP in a May 2023 interview after the film was completed that he was in RCIA, taking weekly classes, and was on track to be confirmed in seven months.
Asked what’s next for LaBeouf, Rodriguez said that his “main priority” is taking care of his newborn daughter Isabel.
LaBeouf is currently working on a film about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.