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Catholic Vancouver Sep 20, 2017

Vancouver priest takes questions via #askfrnick

By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Father Nick Meisl smiles during the filming of Ask Fr. Nick. (Matthew Furtado / Special to The B.C. Catholic)

VANCOUVER—Another young priest is spreading the Gospel on YouTube.

Father Nick Meisl is releasing a series of online videos called Ask Fr. Nick, in which he answers questions about Mass, relationships, and the saints.

“I hope it’s helpful and gets people thinking,” said Father Meisl, an engineering graduate ordained for the Archdiocese of Vancouver in 2013.

Father Meisl is quick to say that it wasn't his idea, nor does he think of it as exclusively his project. Some Catholic creatives suggested the young priest get in front of the camera, and he agreed to do it.

“It’s a small way, but I think it’s a good way, to get the Gospel out there a bit more and help people a little bit,” he said. “If they have concerns, I might be able to give a bit of advice.”

In the video series, the Vancouver priest gives answers to questions sent to www.rcav.org/digital or via the hashtag #askfrnick. His most popular video to date, a reply to whether Catholics can participate in yoga, has more than 400 views so far.

“I think social media is a tricky thing sometimes, but everybody is there and I think it’s a great place to get our message out,” said Father Meisl.

The videos, filmed in Surrey’s Fleetwood Park, are short and engaging. Videographer Matthew Furtado said they were in part inspired by Father Mike Schmitz of Ascension Presents, whose YouTube videos (and hashtag #askfrmike) attract thousands of viewers each.

Matthew Furtado and Father Meisl worked together to create the Ask Fr. Nick series. (Photo submitted)

“It’s really cool to see faith in practice online, which is a free-for-all, neutral environment,” said Furtado, a member of St. Matthew’s Parish in Surrey.

There are not many opportunities for young people to ask their priests for advice at Sunday Mass, Furtado said. Ask Fr. Nick offers a way to get answers and start discussions in a place young people frequent: their social media channels.

“I hope it’s an opportunity for people to learn more about their faith,” said Furtado.

Father Meisl, currently studying in Rome, was ordained in Holy Rosary Cathedral and spent several years reaching out to youth and young adults in Surrey and Richmond.

Father Meisl and Furtado shot the videos – eight in all – in one day this summer. Three have been posted on the Catholic Vancouver YouTube channel and the rest will appear monthly.

“The primary purpose was to share the faith and an opportunity to get some engaging content on the social media channels online,” said Furtado. “It allows our faith to break out of the walls of the church.”

Questions about life and faith may still be sent to www.rcav.org/digital. “If they ask me to do more, I’d be happy to do more,” Father Meisl said.