Breaking News
More () »

Valley priest shares story behind Hollywood's version of 'Father Stu'

Father Killian McCaffrey met Father Stu in 2003 while they attended Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon.

SUN CITY, Ariz. — "My first impression of Stu was he was a really good guy, he was great at bringing people together," Pastor Killian McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey, a priest at Saint Elizabeth Seton Parrish in Sun City shared his story behind "Father Stu" - a movie capturing the trials and tribulations of a young man who used his own second chance, as a chance to help others find their own path through a calling from the Catholic church. 

With a genuine ability to essentially bring a congregation together outside of a church, Pastor McCaffrey knew amazing things would happen for "Father Stu."

McCaffery and Stu first met back in 2003 at Mount Angel Seminary but Father Stu's religious path wasn't always a priority of his.

"It was at the moment of his baptism, that he was hit by a tsunami of grace," McCaffery added.

Father Stu, played by Mark Wahlberg tells the story of his personal hurdles along the way to the Catholic church and was able to use his second chance to help others. 

Pastor McCaffrey added that while Stu's Catholic conversion started because of young love, it lingered into a true calling.

"He said well how do I become Catholic, she said you have to take these classes called the RCIA, so he went along and jumped through the hoops, you know, just to get the girl," he explained.

The story spoke to Wahlberg, prompting the motion picture and his personal visit with the Diocese of Phoenix for a private screening. 

While Father Stu, the former amateur boxer and motorcycle crash survivor knew how to fight and push forward, Pastor McCaffrey reminded him to remain receptive.

"The battle began, but we don't want to fight God because we're going to lose," Pastor McCaffrey said.

Sadly, over the course of a decade during their time in seminary, Father Stu came down with a rare disease called Inclusion Body Myositis. However, Pastor McCaffrey says, those who knew Stu, knew he was destined to be ordained.

"There were so many concerns about his health, the seminary didn't want to recommend him, they didn't recommend that he be ordained, McCaffery said. "It was really a leap of faith for Bishop Thomas to do that but he knew Stu was an authentic, honest and a good man."

Get Up to Speed

Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.