Actor Mark Wahlberg posted a picture over the weekend of his young daughter as she prepared for her First Holy Communion — a Catholic rite of passage. Dressed in the traditional white dress, 8-year-old Grace took part in the ceremony at the Church of Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, the same parish where Mark and his wife Rhea were married back in 2009.
Along with the image of his happy family, the “Lone Survivor” star wrote, “My baby’s communion day. @byrheawahlberg.”
Rhea also shared an image on Instagram, captioning it: “Special day….” adding a cross and heart symbol.
A first communion is a Christian tradition in which a person first receives the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ in the form of bread and wine. Though the ceremony most commonly takes place in the Catholic church, certain traditional sects of the Lutheran and Anglican denominations are also known to embrace the tradition in a less literal sense.
Wikipedia further details the significance of first communion participants donning special clothing:
“The first communicant wears special clothing. The clothing is often white to symbolize purity, but not in all cultures. Often, a girl wears a fancy dress and a veil attached to a chaplet of flowers or some other hair ornament. In other communities, girls commonly wear dresses passed down to them from sisters or mothers, or even simply their school uniforms with the veil or wreath.”
Wahlberg, who has talked openly about his Catholic faith, used to be a rapper and had many brushes with the law growing up on the tough streets of Boston. Despite this, and what some Christians would deem to be questionable acting choices, the father-of-four insists he has recommitted his life to the Lord.
“I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past,” he said last October, referring to his role as a male porn star in the 1997 movie “Boogie Nights.”
As Faithwire previously reported, the wildly successful actor and businessman, who was the highest paid man in Hollywood last year, has routinely discussed how his Catholic faith has helped him overcome a troubled past. The actor faced legal challenges in 1988, when the then-16-year-old was charged for an assault and spent 45 days in prison following the robbery at a convenience store. Today, however, he’s a different person.
“I think the fact that I’ve been able to turn my life around and really make my mom proud and become a better person through focusing on my faith, it always gives me great sense of pride to come home,” Wahlberg told People Magazine in 2016, while discussing his movie “Patriots Day,” about the Boston bombing.
In 2012, Wahlberg told Piers Morgan he either goes to Mass (to receive the Eucharist) or church (stopping in for 15 to 20 minutes to say some prayers) every day, according to The Blaze.