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The surprising trend of virtual Catholic Masses on Roblox

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Archidiecezja Wrocławska Roblox | Fair Use via YouTube

J-P Mauro - published on 01/31/23

The popularity of these services among young people suggests the next generations are still thirsting for an active faith life.

Roblox is a popular video game that offers players the chance to build anything that comes into their imagination and share it with others. Similar to games like Minecraft – which Roblox predates by 5 years – Roblox presents a sandbox experience with a fanciful LEGO-adjacent aesthetic. With all these creative and wholesome elements, it should be no surprise that Catholics have been making in-game churches to spur virtual faith communities. 

In Poland, it has become a recent trend for Roblox players – estimated at around 50 million users per day – to attend virtual services at the churches they have constructed. The phenomenon was a niche group at the start, but now these services (Masses, memorials, etc) have become so popular that hundreds wait in line to attend. 

These virtual Catholic events are organized thanks to a tremendous community on the popular gaming chat platform Discord, called “Archdiocese of Gniezno.” With over 28,000 members to this Discord server, they can easily put together events that are well attended and respectful to the faith. These “Masses” are not actually a valid Mass, but it is still a valuable experience that educates newcomers about the real Mass and gives the faithful a chance to game in a uniquely spiritual setting. 

Take a look at a November “Mass” held in a recreation of The Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland. This Marian shrine is a place of pilgrimage in Poland, and thanks to this magnificent virtual reconstruction, it can be explored more than ever. The attention to every little detail in this build is particularly impressive. 

“Archdiocese of Gneizno” is a big Polish community, but they are not the only Roblox community that’s been dedicating itself to the divine. Another such group is the “Vatican City State of Roblox,” an active community that has been around since 2011. This group has created some excellent virtual representations of famed churches, like Westminster Cathedral in London, and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. 

The virtual Westminster Cathedral is such an active Roblox site that it even went so far as to create a Nativity scene for Christmas 2022. 

Aleteia’s Polish edition noted that the young “celebrants” are hardly ordained ministers, but they tend to come at the project with complete seriousness and sincerity. A Polish TikTok priest named Fr. Sebastian Picur even went so far as to commend these youngsters’ “knowledge of the liturgy.” One attendee said the service was “beautifully done,” and suggested that some parishes should take notes. 

While some may find the notion of a pretend service run by unordained children to be silly or inconsequential, we find a tremendous amount of hope in their actions. As we see reports of dwindling church attendance, this trend of virtual Masses suggests that the younger generation still thirsts for faith practice. The next challenge is to figure out how to transition virtual attendees to the real pews. 

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CatholicEntertainmentYouth
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