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Mark Wahlberg reveals the reason why he doesn't 'force' his religion on his children

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Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Sony Pictures

Mark Wahlberg is a devout Christian, but he won't force his children to also practice his faith. The prolific actor hopes that his children will "gravitate" towards religion on their own.

The 50-year-old Hollywood actor Catholic told Parade in 2013 that faith is "the most important part of my life," adding, "I don’t try to push it on anybody and I don’t try to hide it."

Wahlberg outlined his usual Sunday morning routine, when he may attend Mass two times.

"If the kids are good, I’ll have doughnuts for them at 6:30 in the morning, and I'll say, 'You guys gotta let Mommy sleep in!' I’ll go to church at 7:30 and everybody will be eating breakfast when I come home," Wahlberg explained. "Then we'll go to church again at 10:30, if things aren't too hectic. Or if one of the kids has a game, we'll watch them play. It’s a nice family day."

Wahlberg and his wife Rhea Durham have four children: Ella, 18, Michael, 16, Grace Margaret, 12, and Brendan, 13.

During an appearance on the Today show, Wahlberg was asked what his kids think about him, to which he responded, "They think dad’s crazy, and he's boring."

"But even with my faith, I don't force it on them. But they know that dad can’t start the day without being in prayer, can't start the day without reading my Scripture or going to Mass," the actor told host Hoda Kotb, but noted, "And hopefully, instead of forcing that on them, they'll say, 'Well, if it works for dad, maybe it'll work for us,' and they'll kind of gravitate towards it on their own."

Wahlberg was promoting his new faith-based movie "Father Stu," which is based on the true-life story of agnostic Golden Gloves boxer-turned-priest Stuart Long – who goes on a journey from self-destruction and crime to redemption.

“People recognized all of his real-life experience and how authentic he was when he communicated,” Wahlberg said of Long. "I just felt it was also the best way to make the movie without any kind of interference. We wanted to be completely in control creatively."

Wahlberg was so enthusiastic about Long's story that he personally financed the movie.

Wahlberg sees "Father Stu" as a possible turning point in his career to explore projects that can help people.

"I feel like this is starting a new chapter for me in that, now, doing things like this [with] real substance can help people," Wahlberg told Entertainment Tonight. "I definitely want to focus on making more. I wouldn’t say necessarily just faith-based content but things that will help people."

He added, "Hopefully this movie will open a door for not only myself but for lots of other people in Hollywood to make more meaningful content."

As far as his acting career, Wahlberg revealed that he could step away from Hollywood "sooner rather than later" to spend more time with his four children.

"It’s got to be something special to really bring me, you know, to leave home, to leave those guys behind because it’s the biggest sacrifice in the making, for sure," Wahlberg said of his family.

"I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past,” Wahlberg said during a 2017 appearance at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, alongside Cardinal Blasé Cupich. He emphasized that the movie "Boogie Nights" is "up there at the top of the list." In "Boogie Nights," Wahlberg portrayed a rising pornographic star.


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