"Social media is a gift from God," said 30-year-old Father Fiel Pareja.
TikTok may not be the first thing to pop up in people’s minds if they want to see religious content but it has definitely become the platform of choice for Fiel Pareja, a Catholic priest from the Philippines.
According to the preacher, it takes him around six hours each night to create short clips for the video-sharing site. The constant challenge, he shared, is to come up with content that young people will find interesting.
In some videos, Pareja shares biblical verses or offers prayers while he dances and lip-syncs in others – or even does trending challenges such as the ‘Wipe It Down’.
As he said in an interview:
“Social media is a gift from God. These applications were talents given by God who created them. Let us use them to spread Good News, not fake news.”
His unconventional approach seems to be working seems to be working so far.
As of this writing, he already has more than 1.6 million fans on TikTok. Aside from Catholics, he also has followers from different faiths such as Protestants, Methodists, and Muslims, among others.
“I believe social media can help us reach out to the youths of today,” he explained. ”It’s a never ending preparation and content creation. But this makes me happy and fulfilled knowing that people get their spiritual needs (met).”
In addition to Pareja, Argentinian native Luciano Felloni, who is a parish priest in Manila, also takes advantage of social media to reach a wider audience.
“I think it is essential,” Felloni remarked. “The church should be fully present in the cybermission.”
Father Paul Woo of Navotas City likewise pointed out that the church “really needs to keep up with the times.” Woo, who also uploads short sermons and dance videos on TikTok shared, “There are many creative ways how we can reach out to people, especially now that we are given the gift of digital technology.”
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