A young Australian priest has made a remarkable turnaround in the digital world, from ditching his social media accounts to attracting more than a million viewers monthly with viral videos about priesthood and the Catholic faith.
Fr Sam French (pictured), 30, from the Diocese of Broken Bay, NSW embarked on this journey of online ministry by sharing skits, musical memes, thoughtful reflections and vlogs.
Catering predominantly to users aged 18 to 34, Fr French crafts his content to resonate with young people by infusing light-hearted skits about the church and priesthood with more profound themes.
These videos are punctuated with reflections on scripture and direct appeals to inspire young Catholic men to contemplate a life of priesthood.
Reflecting on his journey, Fr French remarked “If you’d asked me about social media a year ago, I would have deemed it toxic and I stand by that assessment today.”
Despite his reservations, he recognised the power of these platforms to engage with young people. “This is basically mission territory,” he emphasised.
While he admits that a short TikTok video cannot replace a deep spiritual encounter, Fr French is content with disrupting the cycle of negative scrolling habits.
He views his online presence as a means of clearing potential hurdles between the priesthood and Generation Z, a demographic crucial for the future of vocations, religious life and Christian marriages.
Humour gets under the door
His motto for his social media ministry comes from the author GK Chesterton. “He said that humour often gets in under the door while serious is still fumbling with the handle” the young priest commented.
French admitted that while his online ministry has surpassed his expectations, it will never replace his in-person interactions with the youth.
Fr French’s priority remains visiting parishes to celebrate Mass, fostering priestly vocations and offering guidance to those exploring discernment.
Under Broken Bay Bishop Anthony Randazzo’s encouragement, Fr French prioritises face-to-face interactions with the diocese’s young individuals.
His interactions have been warmly received, reaffirming his belief in the power of community and personal connections. He is excited to share the success story of Broken Bay’s growth in vocations, exemplified by three ordinations and seven seminarians at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in just seven years.
News category: World.
https://cathnews.co.nz/2023/08/10/young-australian-priest-goes-viral-on-social-media/ Young Australian priest goes viral on social media