A study done by a private campaigns consultancy and management firm revealed that “faith” has become the top topic for Filipinos on Facebook in the past two months.
BluePrint.PH studied Facebook posts, shares and comments with a total of 115,467,742 engagement score from daily monitoring of 50 keywords. The 1,500 discovered keywords discovered were then grouped into 10 categories.
In terms of total engagement, the keyword category “faith” was number one among all keyword categories in February and March 2021.
A statement from the firm noted that Filipinos used Facebook as a platform to express their faith with “Quiapochurch,” “holyweek,” and “500yearsofChristianity” as the most used keywords.
The top influencer in this category has been Quiapo Church, which has 3.6 million followers and actively posts live online Masses on a daily basis
It is followed by the keywords “gifted to give,” which is the theme of the Philippine Catholic Church’s celebration of the quincentennial of Christianity in the country. It earned more than 3.3 million engagement score.
The keywords “we give our yes,” which is Manila Archdiocese’ official song for the local celebration, is third with more than 3.2 million engagement scores.
“That’s very overwhelming and we are very happy because our online community is established,” said Father Danichi Hui, parochial vicar of Quiapo Church.
He said the church, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, started building its online community in 2016 for Filipinos overseas to be able to hear Mass.
“When the pandemic forced the church to shift online, we already have our consistent viewers,” he said, adding that the number of audience “grew much bigger during the lockdown.”
The priest said the church’s Holy Week celebrations alone got about 53 million views in March.
He credited the “interesting relationship” between the Filipino faithful and the Black Nazarene in the active participation of devotees in online Masses.
“The people can relate to a God who suffered,” said Father Hui, adding that it is because of the devotion of carrying the cross that people during the pandemic identified with the Black Nazarene.
Father Jerome Secillano, head of the public affairs committee of the Catholic bishops’ conference, said, the BluePrint.PH study shows that for many Filipinos it is “more reasonable to turn to faith when science and medicine struggle to combat the virus.”
“I do not like spiritualizing our problems just as easily,” said the priest, “but at the rate things are going, we truly need an enormous amount of faith to survive.”
“We have to admit that there are things in this world that are beyond our control,” said Father Secillano. “If so, then it is the most opportune time to call on God who has power over everything,” he added.