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Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton joins TikTok social media video app – Edmonton

One of the oldest institutions has turned to one of the newest social media sites to help spread the Good Word.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton decided to join TikTok after noticing a drop in engagement on other social media sites like Instagram.

It is one of the first religious organizations to use the platform in Canada. Officials told Global News the decision was not an easy one, but that it is a natural step.

“Evangelization, you know, in different mediums is not a new thing,” social media strategist Lincoln Ho explained of the decision.

The app is one of the fastest-growing social networking sites in the world, accumulating 500 million active users worldwide since launching in 2016.

Memes, dance challenges, social awareness: looking back on TikTok’s tumultuous year

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In fact, it beat out a few of its more seasoned competitors, like Twitter and Snapchat, which boast about 330 million and 203 million active users, respectively.

The mobile TikTok app allows users to shoot and edit short videos set to music and has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times.

The videos range in length from 15 to 60 seconds, and feature an array of content from comedy sketches and dance challenges to lip-syncing celebrities and pranks.

Many of the videos are adaptations of other trends on the platform. For the Archdiocese, the first video posted was meant to promote their Day of Confessions.

It showed St. Joseph’s Basilica pastoral counsel Scott Jenken walk into a confessional wearing jeans before coming out in robes.

Pastoral Counsel Scott Jenken can be seen in a TIk Tok video posted by The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.

Pastoral Counsel Scott Jenken can be seen in a TIk Tok video posted by The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.

Tik Tok

“I was serving for the Archbishop Sunday and my good friend Lincoln had approached me and said, ‘Scott, you’re going to do this.’ And I said, ‘Oh. Okay,’” Jenken explained.

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The video has only been viewed a modest 300 times (as of Monday morning) but Jenken said it’s made its way to parishioners.

“I have heard a few people come and say, ‘I saw you on that TikTok’ and I thought, ‘Oh! Goodness!’”

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While they’re happy to share the message with Catholics, the idea is to also break through to those who aren’t frequent attendees.

“You never really know who you’re going to reach with this and so you might capture someone’s attention who says, ‘Hey, I should go and maybe do confession,’” Jenken said.

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Ho plans to use the videos to do just that. He has already created others including a video based on a so-called Paper Towel Challenge spreading on the app.

It sees users write on two sides of a paper towel then put it on water, revealing two messages.


Spring be late… typical #Edmonton weather right?#papertowelchallenge #timechange #yeg #pourtoi #archedmonton #catholic #alberta #tiktokcanada

♬ Originalton – qwestar

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That kind of creativity doesn’t come easily.

“A TikTok actually takes way more planning than other ones that I’ve done.”

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But Ho believes it is worth the effort.

Teens love TikTok. Should parents be concerned?

Using social media to evangelize is not unprecedented — Pope Francis joined Twitter in 2012. In that time, he has amassed more than 18 million followers.

It’s why the Archdiocese of Edmonton believes he would be on board with their latest venture.

“I think he’d approve, certainly,” Jenken said.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton can be found on TikTok as @ArchEdmonton. You can also follow Global News

TikTok and its parent company, Chinese technology company Bytedance, are not without controversy.

In early December 2019, TikTok admitted to suppressing the content of users it deemed ‘susceptible to bullying’, namely people with disabilities or those in the LGBTQ2+ community.

It also faced public scrutiny over allegations that the platform removed politically-sensitive content for users in China.

‘Another Holocaust’: Viral makeup tutorial exposes China’s Muslim persecution

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WATCH BELOW: Marc Saltzman explains the TikTok craze and shares this month’s tAPPworthy apps

What is TikTok?

What is TikTok?

— With files from Sara Hussein, Global News

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘We need to do this.’ On the picket lines with Liz Stuart, head of the Catholic teachers’ union

On a day of massive strike action, Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Catholic teachers’ union chief Liz Stuart spoke to the Star separately, but jointly share their frustrations.

It was just before dawn on Tuesday, as Liz Stuart zipped up her parka and pulled on her boots, that the enormity of what was coming suddenly hit her.

The head of Ontario’s Catholic teachers’ union had spent several “frustrating” months at the negotiating table trying to hammer out a deal with the province and was about to witness the impact of those failed talks as she joined members on the picket line for the first time.

“It really kind of hit at 5 a.m. as I was getting myself ready, making sure I had my thermals on and making sure I was good to go,” she told the Star Tuesday, when all Catholic schools in Ontario closed, along with elementary and secondary schools in various boards.

“You realize, ‘This is it. We’re going to do this.’ Yeah, there was a moment’s pause. But we’re ready … We need to do this.”

At Chaminade College School — the first picket line the president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association visited — seeing teachers there lifted her spirits and reinforced her resolve.

“They’re in the trenches everyday in the classroom,” said Stuart, who was warmly greeted by teachers, chanting “Cuts Hurt kids” and waving protest signs while drivers passing by honked in support.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath delivers snacks to teachers on the picket line outside Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic School on Sherbourne Street Tuesday.

“It’s really good to come out here and connect with them and see them all out here saying, ‘Yes, we need to fight this,’” she said. “Now I really know we’re on the right track.”

It’s a track that has put OECTA, and the province’s other three teachers’ unions — representing public elementary and secondary teachers as well as the French school boards — on a collision course with the province. All the unions have launched work-to-rule campaigns and three scheduled one-day strikes this week involving tens of thousands of teachers.

In Toronto, public elementary teachers went on strike Monday, followed by public high school teachers on Tuesday.

At Chaminade high school, located near Jane Street and Highway 401, strike captain Anthony Perrotta hit the picket line for the first time in his 15-year career and planned to picket in the afternoon with his two children outside their elementary school.

“I feel completely empowered as an active citizen and an advocate for publicly funded education,” said Perrotta, who lives in King-Vaughan riding represented by Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

The unions want to protect full-day kindergarten, to receive a cost-of-living raise of about 2 per cent and are opposed to the province’s plan to boost class sizes and introduce mandatory online courses in high school. The government maintains the sticking point is salary, noting it’s offering a 1 per cent increase yearly, which is in line with recent legislation limiting public sector wage increases.

At Chaminade College School, school strike captain Anthony Perrotta hit the picket line for the first time in his 15-year career on Tuesday.

During a wide-ranging interview on the biggest day of action for her members since 1997 — teachers province-wide walked off the job then for two weeks despite not being in a legal strike position — Stuart spoke about the last few months, describing them as a “roller coaster.”

While ministers don’t sit in on negotiations, Stuart isn’t sure whether it would even make a difference to have Lecce there.

“We strongly believe that the mandate, ultimately, is going to come from the minister of finance, the treasury board president and the premier — we believe that’s where the stumbling block is,” she said. “We’ve been clearly told that the goal of the government is to find permanent savings in education. And that couldn’t possibly be the goal of the minister of education, who consistently talks about how he’s in it for the kids.”

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Stuart said she last spoke with Lecce in September. “He talked extensively about how much he valued teachers, how much he wants to retain good teachers, about making sure that students have what they need. But nothing he does demonstrates that.”

At another picket — Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School on Sherbourne Street near Wellesley Street East — Ontario’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath dropped by with muffins and urged the government to “get back to bargaining.”

Teachers picket outside Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic School on Sherbourne Street on Tuesday during a day of massive labour unrest in the education sector.

Stuart said arriving at the “difficult” decision to proceed with the one-day strike was the toughest moment in recent months. She recalls hitting the picket lines, taking along her two kids in strollers, during the 1997 strike when teachers across Ontario protested the education reforms of Bill 160.

“I remember that sense of anxiety. I knew it was the right thing to do, but I still had a family to feed,” said Stuart. “For any leader, even when you know that you’ve got the support and the mandate of your members, you think long and hard about the fact that 45,000 people (OECTA members) are out on a picket line today … That gives everybody pause.

“It’s about recognizing that people are going to make sacrifices, some more than others. And it’s about recognizing that we’re asking parents, some of whom I know are precariously employed themselves, to make a sacrifice today. And you don’t do any of that lightly.”

Isabel Teotonio

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