Bendigo-based priest Father Rob Galea prefers to be out of the spotlight, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made that harder than ever.
The founder of FRG Ministry, Fr Galea has been engaging with more parishioners from more places online since the pandemic gripped the world.
"We have had an online presence for six years and it's really increased in the past two years, but since March, interest has spiked ten-fold," Fr Galea said.
COVID-19 has forced people to recalibrate and seek a faith-based outlet, according to Fr Galea.
"People want to stay connected with their communities, not only with God, but they want to be seen and heard," he said.
"Every Sunday, our live mass attracts 10,000 people who comment and share a connection with each other."
Worshippers from Tanzania to Iraq have flocked in increasing numbers to FRG Ministry's digital offering.
Fr Galea said this new age way of bringing faith to people's lives hasn't always been well received.
"At the outset, there was a lot less support for what I was doing than there is now," Fr Galea said.
"People used to criticise me because I was online, saying I was just a show person.
"Those people are now needing to reach out because the virtual community is where people spend a lot of their time."
Fr Galea said his online ministry, which includes podcasts, educational resources, sermons and live music performances, was never conceived to replace churches.
"Our aim has always been to supplement what is offered already," he said.
"There will always be people who can't go to church because they are unwell or isolated.
"In no way does the virtual reality replace the beauty and tangibility of a community of faith."
Born in Malta, Fr Galea's teenage struggles with addiction are well documented.
Drugs, alcohol and petty crime were all part of his upbringing, as his life spiralled out of control.
"I was suicidal and had nowhere else to turn," he said.
"It was at that time where I was at a crossroads - to end it all or muster the courage to get out of this place I was in."
Fr Galea first acted on his faith when he was 17 years old, finding acceptance in the Christian community.
He moved to Bendigo 15 years ago and despite taking more than 300 plane trips in 2019 alone, it will always feel like home.
"This community is so interested in one another," Fr Galea said.
"There is nothing individualistic about Bendigo and that is the beauty of living in a town like this."
FRG Ministry has grown exponentially in recent months and years, beyond Fr Galea's wildest expectations.
"Today I am at a place I would have never imagined," he said.
"On Sunday, I sit in a chapel in Bendigo in front of a camera with 10,000 people watching and praying with me.
"How could anyone have imagined something like that?"
A well travelled priest, Fr Galea points to impoverished Asian countries as places where his work brings him the greatest satisfaction.
"Places like India, Thailand and Vietnam have such an incredible raw, spiritual thirst," he said.
"I think this pandemic has revealed that this spiritual thirst also exists in Australia.
"People are very distracted by their busy lives, debt, families and making ends meet.
"They haven't had time to stop and explore that part of themselves until recently."
Fr Galea is a self confessed introvert, but his story has made the big time.
A feature film, based on his novel, The Breakthrough, is being planned in Hollywood.
"I don't know what the results of the film will be, but I do know testimony is so powerful." Fr Galea said.
"I'm also scared. I don't want the attention to be on me, I'm an introvert."
The FRG Ministry is a not-for-profit, online organisation, based in Bendigo.
To learn more, visit FRGministry.com/churchonline