Irish artist Derek Rowen, best known as Guggi, recently recounted his childhood with best friend, U2 frontman Bono, sharing how the popular rockstar came to his faith in Jesus Christ.
Guggi and Bono have been friends since the 1970s because they grew up in the same neighborhood in Finglas, North Dublin. Fifty years later, the professional art creator and Bono are still best friends and now he’s sharing about the inception of Bono's Christain faith.
“Myself and Bono, we weren’t like the other kids in the street and we knew we weren’t,” Guggi told Religion News Service recently during the “My Cup Overflows” exhibit of his new works in Los Angeles.
“We didn’t know what to say when they would want us to name our favorite football players because we didn’t know any names. We could get beaten up for supporting the wrong team or not supporting anybody."
The two creatives did, however, find a common interest in developing their Christian faith — something Guggi’s devout father, Robbie Rowen, helped encourage the boys toward. Bono’s parents were Catholic and Protestant but Bono was raised in the Church of Ireland, an Episcopal Church.
“Bono came to his faith through my dad. And I came to faith through my dad,” Guggi told RNS.
The “Beautiful Day” singer lost his mother at age 14 and following that he spent a lot of time at his friend Guggi’s house. The two would eventually attend a Bible camp together every year.
In recent years, the U2 frontman has been openly sharing his faith. In a 2017 video series with David Taylor, a theology and culture professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, Bono talked about those tender years following his mother's death.
"I became an artist through the portal of grief," Bono told Taylor. "My mother died at her own father's gravesite. As he was being lowered into the ground she had an aneurysm. I was 14."
Bono sadly expressed that his mother left him at a tender age but revealed that he's grateful that she left him "an artist."
"I began the journey trying to fill the hole in my heart with music, with my mates, my bandmates. Finally, the only thing that can fill it is God's love; it's a big hole but luckily it's a big love," the 59-year-old said at the time.
During a "Today" show segment in May, Bono also took the opportunity to share the Christian literature he and his family read.
As a child, he said he read The Chronicles of Narnia and books like it. For his own children, he said they read mainstream books but on their book list is a translation of the Bible.
“We read all kinds of things from Harry Potter to The Bible, the Eugene Peterson version of The Bible we read to our kids,” the rock star said on "Today."