This Rascal Grew Up to Become Catholic!

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Zac Mabry is probably not a name that you’re familiar with, but you might just remember his face. When he was 4 years old, he starred in the 1994 movie The Little Rascals as the youngest of the group, Porky.

With his pal Buckwheat, Zac delivered the sing-song line that’s still stuck in my head every time I hold a dollar bill: “I got a dollar, I got a dollar, I got a dollar, hey, hey, hey, hey!” 

Zac thinks it’s pretty cool that he’s such an integral part of so many people’s childhoods. He doesn’t mind when people recognize him from it. “I could choose to be grumpy or unfriendly if somebody calls me Porky or wants to talk about it….but it’s fun!”

He has the same sort of experience with The Little Rascals co-star Bug Hall, who went on to make many more movies– because of Hall’s role in Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, Zac learned that bananas have potassium.

Zac’s acting career ended quickly, though. Around the age of 9, he gave up acting completely to focus on having a normal childhood and to pursue other interests. Most importantly, this former child star grew up to become Catholic.

Zac grew up in a Methodist family outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma and landed the role of Porky when he was only 3 years old. His parents had a rule that he could only take acting roles for movies that he could watch through completely at his given age. This  limited his options greatly, but Zac didn’t see it as a detriment; he saw it as blessing of prudence that kept him from having any acting regrets and gave him the freedom to explore his interests in age-appropriate ways.

He also acted in some commercials after The Little Rascals and tried school and community theater but knew it wasn’t something he wanted to spend his time pursuing. Around age 9, Zac realized that while he enjoyed acting, it wasn’t his passion in life.  

After high school, Zac knew that he wanted to pursue something related to business. He wanted to be an entrepreneur. Zac enrolled at the University of Oklahoma and fell in love with accounting while taking his first class.

Zac is now a CPA and runs his own business. He says he loves hearing the stories of people’s lives over the past year– Did they buy a house? Have a baby? Zac hears all the big moments of people’s lives. In a way, he helps them tell their story through their taxes. This is what brings him joy, making connections.

While in college, Zac had a Catholic roommate, John. John’s faith piqued Zac’s interest. Even though his parents had raised him in the Methodist faith (his mom was his youth minister!) Zac started to learn more about Catholicism. 

In the summer of 2011, Zac had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy along with his roommate John. While visiting Rome and Vatican City, they were able to tour Saint Peter’s Cathedral and were led on a Scavi Tour underneath the Cathedral to the old ruins. When the tour took them to the bones of St. Peter, Zac found himself thinking, “The tour guide led us in an ‘Our Father’ and it was at that moment that I realized, here’s Peter’s bones and he’s got this line of successors that continues until today…If Jesus built the Church on Peter then that’s the Church I need to be in.”

John bought Zac a rosary in Vatican City and taught him to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. John became Zac’s sponsor when he entered the Church several months later on Easter 2012. Zac took Saint Peter as his Confirmation saint. He also has special devotions to Saint Alphonsus Liguori, who brought Zac and one of his best friends together. Saint Thomas Aquinas was the patron of the parish where Zac first met many of his Catholic friends.

After converting to Catholicism, Zac reunited with The Little Rascals co-star Bug Hall (Alfalfa) who had also been received into the Catholic Church. The two remain close friends now, even though they didn’t keep in touch after the movie. Zac considers Bug his oldest friend – he did meet Bug when he was only 3!

Zac was even in Bug’s wedding. If Zac ever marries, he hopes to have Bug by his side. Though he feels a call to family life, currently Zac is single. 

Read more: 10 Things NOT to Say to a Convert

Now Zac co-hosts a podcast, The Roman Circus, with friend Matt Baker whom he met through Bug Hall (he’s his godfather) where they talk about topics related to the Church, seeking the beauty, joy, and positivity in life and the Faith rather than being reactionary to current events and culture wars. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”

rascals

That quote from Chesterton defines Zac’s life these days. He continues to help people with their taxes. In his free time, he enjoys singing karaoke with friends, jogging, and  even bull riding!

Zac was inducted into the Oklahoma Film Hall of Fame in 2017. He’s still an Okie at heart, even though he currently resides in Dallas. He can be found causing hilarious riots and forming friendships on Twitter and sharing his life in pictures on Instagram.

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