Our Father Stu: From beer and boxing to communion and confession

Brent Northup

Father Stu

At the Cinemark

“Father Stu” called me back to the Cinemark for the first time in 25 months – 768 days to be exact.

How could I refuse?

I have taught at Carroll College for 33 years. The movie is about a former Carroll student, Stuart Long, who graduated in 1986, three years before the train explosion signaled my arrival in 1989.

I never met Father Stu, I’m sad to say. I suspect I would have liked both versions: bad boy and pious priest.

Mark Wahlberg plays a boxer-turned-priest in “Father Stu.”

Karen Ballard/Sony Pictures via AP

Metaphorically speaking, Stuart Long was a “Cs get degrees” college student who, later, earned an advanced degree from God. After being bloodied up in the boxing ring, he became a priest. He contracted a disease that mirrors ALS.

He turned Helena’s Big Sky Care Center into a makeshift parish with believers making a pilgrimage for confession. He was much loved then and now.


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