Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deborah Gyapong

5/15/2007 (8 years ago)

Canadian Catholic News (www.cathnews.net/)

OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) - If the story of the rich young man from the Gospel of Matthew had a sequel updated for modern times, it might resemble the life of actor Eduardo Verastegui, a Catholic who stars in the new film "Bella."

Highlights

By Deborah Gyapong

Canadian Catholic News (www.cathnews.net/)

5/15/2007 (8 years ago)

Published in Living Faith


In the gospel account, a rich young man asks Jesus what he needs to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell all he has and follow him, but the man goes away sorrowful because he had great wealth. In the modern day sequel, the Verastegui, a rich young man, does sell all he has and is prepared to give up his budding acting career to follow Christ. Verastegui had reached the zenith of Mexican celebrity as a soap opera star and singer who had toured at least 13 countries to sold-out concerts. He'd appeared as Jennifer Lopez's love interest in her popular music video "Ain't it Funny." His growing Hollywood television and movie credits included the starring role in the 20th Century Fox movie "Chasing Papi" and a co-starring role in the independent film "Meet Me in Miami." He'd been listed as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world in People en EspaƄol. In Los Angeles, while studying English, he found himself drawn to a deeper faith in Christ through his devout Catholic teacher. He began to see all the reasons he had wanted to be an actor - fame, money and pleasure - as empty and vain. He realized he'd been typecast into portraying the unfaithful, lying Latin lover and playing those parts promoted negative stereotypes. The media portrayal of Hispanics in general demeaned both men and women, resembling nothing like the dignity and beauty of his mother and sisters in Mexico. He understood he had hurt people through the work he had done and the messages in his movies were "poisoning society." "It broke my heart," the actor told the annual Rose Dinner in Ottawa May 10, following the 10th annual March for Life in Ottawa. "I realized I had offended God." He said he spent "many months in tears." Deeply influenced by Scott and Kimberly Hahn's Rome Sweet Home, Verastegui sold his possessions, wondering if God was calling him to be a priest, perhaps in the jungles of South America. His spiritual advisor, however, told him: "Hollywood is a bigger jungle." He vowed to refuse parts unless they affirmed life and human dignity. For three years, he went without work, because all the parts offered him involved the "same negative stereotypes." "We are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful," Verastegui said to the sold-out crowd of 1,000. "I wasn't born to be famous, or rich, I was born to know and love and serve our Lord Jesus Christ," he said. Then in 2004, he met movie producer Leo Severino while attending daily Mass. Severino, who also spoke at the dinner, returned to the Catholic faith in 1999 through reading Christian apologetics. He began attending daily Mass, but he found most of the other churchgoers were "gray hairs cramming for their final exam." Younger Christians like himself were scarce in the mostly anti-religious world of Hollywood. Then one day he noticed another young man who was standing next to a life-sized statue of Jesus, his hand on the sacred heart, his head bowed in prayer. Severino soon discovered: "This guy's the Brad Pitt of Mexico." Not long after their providential meeting, Verastegui and Severino co-founded Metanoia films with some like-minded people who had also gained their movie-making and acting chops in Hollywood. They intend to produce movies that could change lives and hearts. "Bella" is Metanoia's first. Set for limited release in the United States in August, "Bella" won the coveted People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival last fall. This festival rivals Cannes in size and star power. Severino said the award showed them, "God is bigger than Toronto." The award began opening doors for the film, though Metanoia still needs to find a distributor for wide release. Bella will open in selected U.S. cities in August. Severino said the media, especially film and television, are "shaping our culture." He noted how the movie "Million Dollar Baby" promoted euthanasia and "Cider House Rules" glorified abortion. Natural Born Killers influenced the Virginia Tech shooter, he said. "Art and morality go hand in hand," he said, urging the many young people present to guard their eyes and ears and their innocence. "God does not use evil means," he said. Rose Dinner attendees were invited to screen Bella. Many leapt to their feet, tears in their eyes, as the credits rolled. The lean script co-written by director and Metanoia co-founder Alejandro Monteverde contains nothing overtly religious or preachy. Beautifully acted, with especially strong performances from Verastegui and female lead Tammy Blanchard, the movie affirms life and family in ways Metanoia Films hopes will appeal to a general audience. Full of compassion, tenderness and love, the movie reveals the power of film when Catholics full of God's love use their hard-earned skills to do something beautiful for God.

---

Republished by Catholic Online with permission of the Canadian Catholic News Service.

- - -

Among CCN governing members is the Western Catholic Reporter (http://www.wrc.ab.ca), serving Catholics in Alberta and published by the Archdiocese of Edmonton.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

Teen delivers powerful impromptu invocation during graduation commencement's unexpected emergency Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A high school graduate stepped up to the podium during the Clay-Chalkville High School graduation ceremony and delivered a powerful prayer, after one woman had a medical emergency. The prayer moved the audience so much that his impromptu invocation was cheered for at ... continue reading


Catholic Priest warns participants of 'Charlie Charlie' Challenge summoning a demon is no joke Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Charlie, Charlie" Challenge is a game now infamous on social media that encourage players to summon a demon. According to a Mirror Online, a Catholic priest has issued a letter warning about the dangers involved with doing such a ritual, and that the challenge is ... continue reading


A Baltimorean's reflections on the Baltimore riots

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"The God of peace is never glorified by human violence," wrote the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton. Whether it's on an individual, city, national, or international level, violence always dishonors God, and makes bad situations worse. The recent Baltimore City riots ... continue reading


Pope Francis admits to giving up TV in 1990 Watch

Image of While being in the eye of the international media, Pope Francis has little time for media. He's just too busy, and pledged not to watch TV after a pledge to the Virgin Mary in 1990.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While frequently in the media's eye, Pope Francis in fact has little time for the media. After making a promise to the Virgin Mary, the Pope claims that he has not watched TV since 1990. He did not even watch the matches of his football team San Lorenzo de ... continue reading


Pope Francis wants to be remembered as 'good guy who tried to do good' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his brief time as the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has done many remarkable things and has captured the world's attention. He came off as surprisingly humble in a recent interview with a fellow Argentinean journalist. Pope Francis says he ... continue reading


Catholics worldwide vow to get the word out on Pope Francis' message on climate change Watch

Image of Environmental advocates, working with bishops, religious orders, Catholic universities, and lay movements hope that there will be a transformative impact in the fight against global warming.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will release his anticipated teaching document on the environment and climate change in the coming weeks. Over the past several years, more faith traditions have rallied behind environmental protection. Churches have begun to press ecological ... continue reading


The Church Needs to Be Baptized Afresh in the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Do I still believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for ordinary Christians? You bet I do! I believe that Pentecost still happens. I KNOW it still happens. We can ALL know it still happens because we can experience its effects in our own lives. We should not be afraid of the Holy Spirit! In fact, we should regularly seek to be filled with more and more of the Spirit.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to pray for a New Pentecost for the Church in this hour! We need more of the Holy Spirit for the New Evangelization of the Church - so that a renewed Church can engage in the missionary task of the Third Christian Millennium. We need to be baptized afresh ... continue reading


Brotherhood of the Belt: Struggle, Trouble and Failure in the Christian Life Watch

Image of The Martyrdom of Peter

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Peter's wrong choices were not the end of the story of Gods plan for his life. Peter's denial crippled Peter emotionally and spiritually. He lost his way. That was until he encountered the Risen Christ. There, in that encounter, he allowed the belt of ... continue reading


The Purpose of Pentecost is the Birth and Ongoing Mission of the Church

Image of The purpose of Pentecost is the birth - and continued rebirth - of the Church.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Church was empowered by the Holy Spirit to live differently in the midst of a world awaiting the fullness of redemption, to live as a new people to lead the world back to the Father, in and through the Son. Through their experience of the Holy Spirit the early ... continue reading


Top 5 Roman Catholic colleges in the United States Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What constitutes being the best university is oftentimes subjective and usually in adherence to one's beliefs and practices. Choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions many people are making. Some opt for those that offer the best training in the fields of ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 42:15-25
15 Next, I shall remind you of the works of the Lord, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:46-52
46 They reached Jericho; and as he left Jericho with ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 28th, 2015 Image

Bl. Margaret Pole
May 28: Martyr of England. She was born Margaret Plantagenet, the niece ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter