John Denver, Wayne Gretzky and Mark Hamill are an unlikely trio. What do a folk singer-songwriter, a hockey legend and Luke Skywalker have in common? Posters of each were displayed on the walls of Sr. Hosea Rupprect’s room during her youth.
Sr. Hosea, a Daughter of St. Paul, who is the associate director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, wrote a recent online column about prayer, which caught my attention. Columns with prayer tips are common for Catholic resources, but Sr. Hosea writes about praying for celebrities, thus the reference to three of her favorites.
The Pauline Center for Media Studies, a project of the Daughters of St. Paul, was formed in Boston in 1995 and moved to Los Angeles in 2006. The focus of the center, according to media.pauline.org, is “to develop and encourage media literacy/media mindfulness within the context of culture, education and faith formation.” The website includes the “Mindfulness Media Blog,” film reviews, online courses and other media-related resources.
Even though celebrity culture is an area of expertise for Sr. Hosea, I wasn’t initially sold on the message of her column. Shouldn’t we focus prayer on those in greatest need? Aren’t there plenty of people near us worthy of our prayer time? Yes.
Among Sr. Hosea’s points is that people in the United States, especially young people, “love news about our favorite celebrities,” so incorporating prayer into that fandom helps ensure balance and perspective. She addresses “celebrity worship syndrome” in her column, which she said can lead to obsession.
Praying for a celebrity serves as a reminder that “they are people before they are ‘stars,’” she writes. Sr. Hosea adds, “Celebrities need prayers, just like the rest of us, prayers to sustain and support them spiritually. The celebrity life comes with its own disorienting difficulties of outsized privilege and temptation, so it makes sense that they would need prayers for the good of their souls.”
I now see value in prayers for celebrities, especially by teenagers, if their prayers are genuine. Sr. Hosea’s column convinced me that, in addition to helping them see actors, musicians and sports figures as real people through prayer, it also may help young people develop stronger prayer habits.
So, how should you pray for a celebrity? Sr. Hosea shares tips in her column, provided by Sr. Orianne Pietra Rene Dyck, also a Daughter of St. Paul.
- Choose a celebrity you would like to pray for. It might be your favorite celebrity or someone God is placing on your heart to pray for. Write their name down.
- Write out a prayer for that person. Try to include an element of thanksgiving (thanking God for the life, talent, inspiration, etc., of the chosen celebrity) and an element of petition (interceding for a particular need of this celebrity, or a hope you have for their life, or asking that the celebrity come closer to God).
- After the prayer is written, pray the prayer, either individually or as a family. Another idea would be to pray your prayer as a novena, praying for your celebrity nine days in a row.
“Intercessory prayer is a great gift we can offer to those who have their lives constantly under a spotlight. It is a true act of charity,” writes Sr. Hosea.
The Daughters of St. Paul practice what they promote. The sisters pray for people in the entertainment industry. Their prayer support was once shared with actor Harrison Ford of “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars” fame.
According to Sr. Hosea, Ford replied, “Thank you. That means more to me than you know.”