Edited from CNY: In the world of social media, it is likewise all about the numbers.
So when a form of communication boosts a church’s attendance by 250 people, that’s noteworthy. And that is just what the NYC Mass Mob did for St. John the Baptist Church and Friary in Manhattan on Aug. 24. (MassMob Founder shows Priest the social media site)
“Social media is the future,” said Michael John Cadigan, founder of the evangelization movement known as the New York City Mass Mob which organizes Catholics through social media to attend Mass at a particular place and time together.
JOIN MASS MOB ON Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NYCMassMob
The church is nominated by Facebook followers of NYC Mass Mob and voted by members on the social media site. The church with the highest number of votes is the one the Mass Mob attends. Cadigan keeps in touch with the pastors of the nominated churches throughout the process. Even the voting process begins to build community as people campaign for the church they want to win, said Cadigan.
Father Thomas Franks, O.F.M.Cap, pastor of St. John the Baptist parish and friary, said, “In many ways, social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, is how people keep in touch, and that’s what people most rely on. We have to utilize the tools of our culture to spread the word about the faith.”
Father Franks served as the main celebrant at the noon Mass, which he described as a good mixture of people, young and old, all with different backgrounds. “It was an uplifting moment, there was a sense of support for the church, in seeing our historical church and seeing everyone taking the time to worship with us.”
That is what the movement is all about. “The Mass Mob not only serves to bring people closer to God, it boosts the church’s presence on social media, boosts the revenue, and people become familiar with the church in person,” Cadigan said.
In the case of the St. John’s, many people learned the parish at 210 W. 31st St. has a Shrine of St. Padre Pio and houses some of his relics.
“The Mass Mob is open to any person who wants to come to church,” continued Cadigan. “It’s all about building a community, especially if there are young people and old people coming together and learning from each other, about their life stories and how God is in each of their lives. This is all about bringing people together and supporting the church.”
After Mass a reception was held in the church courtyard. Those involved in the Mass Mob wore T-shirts showing their association with the movement. “Community building and Church go together like peanut butter and jelly,” Cadigan said with a laugh.
Person by person, “like by like,” the Church is growing virtually and literally. “St. John the Baptist had 53 people on their Facebook page before we started promoting them. And now after we pinned them, they have over 1,300 people.” (Edited from CNY.org)