'Facebooking Father' to become Canada's youngest bishop

A tech-savvy Montreal man will soon become the youngest Catholic bishop in Canada, and the second youngest in the world.

40-year-old Montrealer to be ordained during live webcast in September

Rev. Thomas Dowd has an online blog, which is followed by hundreds of people. He is to be ordained as Canada's youngest bishop in September in Montreal. (CBC)

A tech-savvy Montreal man will soon become the youngest Catholic bishop in Canada, and the second youngest in the world.

Father Thomas Dowd, 40, will be ordained as a bishop in Montreal in early September.

But Dowd's age isn't the only thing that will make him stand out from other bishops in the Catholic Church.

Dowd graduated with a commerce degree from Montreal's Concordia University, and became a senior manager at telecom giant Ericsson in the early 1990s.

Although he left Ericsson to join the church after only three years, he stayed connected to modern technology.

Today, hundreds read his daily online blog, and he is active on social media websites Facebook and Twitter.

Dowd said it's a good way to draw people back to the church.

"Very often the email starts with, 'I am not a Catholic but,' or 'I used to go to church but,' so there's a door that's open for them there, and they want to knock on the door and I want to answer," said Dowd.

Known as the 'Facebooking Father,' Dowd will become a leader in a church that has seen a decline in attendance over the last 50 years.

Dowd said he hopes that by embracing social media, the Catholic Church will have a platform that will help it become more accessible.

"We are going to have to acknowledge things that don't work ... but at the same time be equally transparent and responsive," said Dowd.

Connection to youth

Rev. Dowd speaks with parishioners in Montreal. (CBC)
A youth ministry co-ordinator from Montreal say Dowd's blog allows him to connect with young people, even if they don't go to church.

"It's not old language. It's applying faith to today so you can connect to it because of what he is saying," said Lauren Cooper-Graham.

When Dowd is ordained at Montreal's Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, the Catholic Church plans to broadcast the ceremony live on the internet.

With files from Peter Akman