Fr. Fiel Pareja, or "Fr. TikTok," won in the Rising Star category for his hundreds of Catholic-minded faith videos.
The first ever TikTok awards were hosted through the social media platform on July 4. Winners of the event included YouTube stars, boy bands, comedians, and a Catholic priest. Fr. Fiel Pareja, affectionately known as “Father TikTok,” took home a TikTok award in the “Rising Star” category.
Fr. Pareja started his TikTok account in 2020 and has since amassed over 1.1 million followers. His account is filled with religious musings, prayers, and faith guidance, but he takes part in challenges, too. In fact, one of the videos that put him on the map was for the “Wipe It Down” challenge.
The challenge features the priest standing in a mirror and wiping it with a rag. Each time he wipes, he is suddenly clad in a new set of rotating clerical vestments. The video was seen tens of thousands of times, but it’s far from his most popular. Fr. Pareja routinely commands hundreds of thousands of views with his 90-second Bible reflections.
As a Filipino priest ordained in the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, many of his videos are in his native tongue. Many more, however, are in English, giving Fr. Pareja a much wider net to cast into the global media waters. In the last year, he has produced dozens, if not hundreds, of Catholic-minded TikTok videos.
In an interview with Rappler, Fr. Pareja explained that he never intended to start his TikTok account. He said that he wasn’t sure people would respond to a priest as positively as they have.
“In our country, you know that we are not used to seeing priests who dance, or lip-synch. It’s as if it is taboo, a big sin. A priest is expected to be preaching in the pulpit, saying Mass),” the 30-year-old Catholic priest said.
Be that as it may, the priest found himself with a lot of extra time during the world pandemic. He started making brief reflections on the Gospels and Psalms, only to find he was a hit. A few of his videos have even reached the millions.
Fr. Pareja has enjoyed massive success in TikTok, but he remains humble. Of his social media work, he says:
“These are all not for myself, but for the people who will receive the word of God,” he said.
Click here to explore Fr. Pareja’s Catholic TikTok account and start praying with Fr. TikTok today.