Rome-based priest from Mumbai sets up Facebook profile to help people open up to him

Updated: Nov 19, 2017, 16:45 IST | Jane Borges

A Rome-based priest from Mumbai is Mr Popular among young Christians for using the digital space to have conversations you can't within the confessional

Father Joshan Rodrigues has a friendship with selfies. A quick scan of his Facebook profile, and a number of them will spring up from the time he spent with fellow priests and parishioners at St Peter's Square in the Vatican. There's also the odd-ball picture with dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, or of him munching into a monster-sized slice of pizza.

Fr Joshan Rodrigues
Fr Joshan Rodrigues

The 35-year-old, who is a priest with the Archdiocese of Bombay, and is currently pursuing Institutional and Social Communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, manages to strike a balance between prayer and fun, effortlessly. Of late, he has also been drawing attention for his blog, Musings in Catholic Land, where he engages in difficult conversations, otherwise considered controversial. From pornography, the church's stand on the LGBT community, boredom at mass to saas-bahu woes, Fr Rodrigues' posts have gained over 15,000 hits ever since he started the blog five months ago. Not to mention, most of his readers are between the ages of 18 -30. "I did a bit of scouting before starting the blog, and realised that although there are avenues for spiritual reflections and traditional sermons, very few speak about faith by using pop culture or everyday life's issues as starting points," he says over an email interview.

A self-proclaimed physics buff and a fan of American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Fr Rodgrigues decided it was time to exploit the anonymity of the web, positively. "You don't see people discuss pornography addiction or having a faith-crisis with a priest. But, a blog gives them the opportunity to start a conversation. It's important that we talk openly, because whether we like it or not, it's happening," he says. Among the more popular articles on his blog is the "I'm 30 and still single! No need to panic" post, where Fr Rodrigues takes on the role of matchmaker, offering a step-by-step guide on seeking a spouse. "Don't just rush into marriage because the years are running by. Don't settle for someone just because you can't find anyone else. It's a mistake," he wrote.

Having said that, the line of thought that underscores all his posts is Christian. "Sometimes, the articles can get a bit preachy, because at the end of the day, it's difficult to suppress the priest within me. But, I try not to tell people what to do." The post he is currently working on is about how Marvel's Wonder Woman resembles Mary in character. "It may seem absurd to compare Mother Mary to Wonder Woman, but it's only about identifying common values," he says. Next on his agenda, is a trip back to Mumbai. That's when he has wrapped up his course next year. "I wouldn't give up living in Mumbai for anything in the world," he says, "a weekly serving of sev puri and masala dosa is my definition of happiness."

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