Millennial priest uses TikTok to spread the Word of God

Published March 28, 2021, 9:05 AM

by Gabriela Baron

Popularly known as “Father TikTok” to netizens, this local priest uses the social media platform to spread the Word of God.

Fr. Fiel Pareja (Screenshot from TikTok)

Currently serving as the Parochial Vicar of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Balibago, Angeles City, Pampanga, Father Fiel Pareja’s ordination happened a month before the lockdown last year.

Barred from conducting physical masses, the Catholic priest had to think of other ways to draw people closer to God. 

Fr. Fiel Pareja (Facebook)

“I was hoping that I would discharge my ministry as a priest with people physically, face-to-face; celebrating Holy Mass, and administering the sacraments ‘physically’ with them. To my surprise, it didn’t happen. God led me to do my priestly ministry with the faithful in a different way and setting which I didn’t imagine at first,” Pareja told the Manila Bulletin.

Pareja shared that it was his nephew who first introduced him to TikTok. 

“I was hesitant, having in mind baka magulat sila nagti-Tiktok ang pari (they would be surprised when they see a priest joining TikTok) so I [disregarded] her persuasion. However, she [insisted]. So, I gave it a try,” he added.

The 30-year-old priest uploaded his first TikTok video in May. Pareja did the trending “Wipe it down challenge.” The post currently has over 28,000 views. 

He regularly posts Bible verses, prayers, reflections on God’s Word, mental health tips, or priestly twists on whatever’s trending on the social media app.

(Screenshot from TikTok)

Pareja admitted that he did not expect his content will be received wholeheartedly, but the moment his videos went viral, he started receiving messages from netizens asking for advice and prayers. 

“They are thankful that even if they are not physically present in the Church, they can still afford to hear God’s Word. Many were saying: ‘Nararamdaman ko pong hindi ako pinabayaan ng Panginoon (I feel that the Lord has not forsaken me),’ ‘Salamat may ganitong (Thank you because there’s this) avenue to nourish our relationship with the Lord,’ ‘Susuko na sana ako pero andiyan pala si (I was about to give up but I felt the) Lord through your preaching,'” he added.

“Usually [they ask] prayer for healing, prayer to fight sadness, prayer for the brokenhearted, prayer for financial stability, prayer to find [a] job, prayer for modules. Also, many seek counseling and advice: family problems, relationship problems, addiction, and depression,” Pareja said.

For the millennial priest, social media “is a gift from God.”

“Social media plays an important role during this worldwide health crisis. Through it, we can reach out to one another and can assure each one that they are not alone in their journey. The Word of God is not only to be proclaimed on the pulpit or during the Mass. It must be preached everywhere in season or out of season and social media can facilitate rapidly this proclamation,” Pareja ended.

Parejas now has over 1.3 million followers on TikTok.