The three most popular Catholic Facebook pages in Britain belong to the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales, this esteemed publication and Holy Family parish, Mossend.

Holy Family is not – on the surface – a particularly unusual parish. Mossend is one of the string of small towns dotted through Lanarkshire, the hilly gut of Scotland between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Holy Family’s parishioners are mainly the descendants of Irish Catholic immigrants drawn in by long-closed coal mines.

Yet cousins John Patrick Mallon, 26, and Brian Timmons, 24, have ensured that if you are a Scottish Catholic on Facebook you know about Holy Family. John Patrick is shorter, ebullient and mile-a-minute. Brian is slender and restrained, more technical.

“It was the spring of last year we started running the parish Facebook page,” says John Patrick. “We’d done a few videos for the church website and Fr [James] Grant, the parish priest, asked us to take it on.”

They began covering events and posting videos they filmed and edited themselves.

“Growing up we were always making wee videos,” he says. “It was just something we really liked. And once we started putting them up we were amazed at how popular they were.”

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