The new Holy Wood Acting Studio in Culver City, west of Los Angeles — which promises to bring back morality and Catholic sensibility to the art of acting and to Hollywood itself — got quite a boost and blessing recently.

Days before the studio’s official opening Mass on Pentecost Sunday, June 12, and the launch of the very first classes on Monday, June 13, the school received a letter of endorsement from Los Angeles’ new archbishop, Jose Gomez.

“To have the approval of the Catholic Church means the world to us,” Holy Wood’s co-founder and director of operations, Max Espinosa, said. “My first thought was that we’re doing it the way God wants it.”

Espinosa said the archbishop knew the name of the school was more than just a play on words. This is an acting studio that thinks of the morals of the actor, as the Register illustrated in the recent article “Putting the Holy in Hollywood.”

Espinosa shared the official letter of recommendation Archbishop Jose Gomez wrote June 7. In part, it reads:

I recently learned about this new initiative and am happy to know that this service is being offered to our society.

Those who are willing to pursue a career in acting have the opportunity to receive formation necessary to become a good actor, at the same time learning to build their character, to develop virtues and to understand the issues of health and beauty according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI said to artists: “Thanks to your talent, you have the opportunity to speak to the heart of humanity, to touch individual and collective sensibilities, to call forth dreams and hopes, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement. ... Through your art, you yourselves are to be heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity!”

I recommend Holy Wood Acting Studio to you, and trust that they will be successful in helping actors to be bearers of the authentic beauty, which, in the Pope’s words, “unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond.”

May Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, grant you peace and joy.

The summer session began with 13 students, while the yearlong session, which starts on Sept. 8, a feast day of our Blessed Mother, can accommodate 50.

Espinosa looks forward to Archbishop Gomez visiting the school, as his schedule permits.

“The approval of Archbishop Gomez is the biggest endorsement we can have,” Espinosa said. “It’s bigger than any other we can get because we don’t do anything the Catholic Church doesn’t let us do. We want the permission of the Catholic Church.”

Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen is based in Trumbull, Connecticut.