HELENA — There will be several special screenings in Montana of a movie called “Father Stu," a new film that follows the life of Stuart Long of Helena, a beloved priest.
Actor and producer Mark Wahlberg will be joined by director and writer Rosalind Ross in Helena on Monday, April 4 for the Montana premiere of “Father Stu” at the Helena Cinemark. The premiere will be a private event, but MTN will have a reporter on the red carpet to get reactions from the attendees.
There will also be advance screenings of the film across the state next week as part of a fundraising event for the Capital High School Alumni Class of 1981 Memorial Endowment Scholarship. The scholarship benefits Capital High students and honors all the classmates of 1981 that have passed, including Fr. Stu Long.
Fr. Stu Long was a beloved priest in the Helena area who passed away in 2014. He grew up in Helena and played football for both the Capital High School Bruins and the Carroll College Saints. Long also won the 1985 Golden Gloves heavyweight title for Montana and was runner-up in 1986.
After a jaw injury from prizefighting, Long decided to move to Los Angeles and take a shot at becoming a movie star. However, Long became disillusioned with the industry, eventually becoming the manager of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.
Riding his motorcycle home from the museum one evening, he was hit by a car, then run over by another. The near-fatal experience prompted him to explore his religious faith which ultimately lead to his baptism as a Roman Catholic so that he could marry his girlfriend at the time.
Long said he felt the calling to become a priest during his baptism. In the following years, he’d explore his faith to make sure the calling was genuine. He received his priestly formation for the Diocese of Helena at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon and was ordained a priest by Bishop Thomas on December 14, 2007, at St. Helena Cathedral.
While in seminary, Long was diagnosed with inclusion body myositis, an extremely rare autoimmune disease that mimics the symptoms of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and for which there is no cure. Despite his illness, which limited his movement, Long took up ministry at Big Sky Care Center. Using a power chair, and with the tireless assistance of Bill Long, his father, Fr. Stu spread his love throughout Helena’s parishes.
Fr. Stu passed away in the early morning hours of Monday, June 9, 2014, at the Big Sky Care Center. He was 50 years old at the time.
Capital High School Alumni Class of 1981 Memorial Endowment Scholarship screenings next week in Montana.
- Missoula - The Roxy Theater - Wednesday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m.
- Helena - Mynra Loy Center - Friday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m.
- Billings - Babcock Theater - Saturday, April 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Those interested in attending the early screenings should purchase their tickets in advance. More information about the Capital High School Alumni Class of 1981 Memorial Endowment Scholarship can be found on their Facebook page.
"Father Stu" will open in theaters on Wednesday, April 13.