Local family invests everything into founding global Catholic media mission

29 November 2023

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

A Vegreville family has started a media ministry focused on making Catholic prayer and the Holy Mass accessible to people throughout the world. 

The Little Goodness YouTube channels have garnered more than 10 million views since their launch in 2019, with viewers from more than 90 countries tuning in to livestreams of the Mass and guided prayer videos. Little Goodness is currently launching their Prayer World App, which aims to bring Catholic prayer to the entire world, in more than 50 languages. 

Originally from India, John Jofin, his wife Simmy and their two daughters are parishioners at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. John recently left his career as an accountant to work full time on the success of Little Goodness. 

Father Robert Lee is their pastor and he has been a champion of the Jofin’s work on Little Goodness.

“One of the most important elements of the Little Goodness app and broader media mission, is that it offers prayer in many different languages, which is a growing need in our Archdiocese.

“Prayer World offers prayer for an immigrant audience, which is a significant part of Canadian Catholic communities. It’s wonderful to have a resource coming out of our own Archdiocese that offers prayer for people who don’t speak English first,” Father Robert said.

“Every pastor prays that the Holy Spirit would be active amongst his parishioners and this mission of Little Goodness is not only a sign of the Holy Spirit at work, but also a sign of the presence of Our Lady, who is especially near and dear to the Jofin family.” 

The Little Goodness team with Fr. Robert Lee at St. Martin de Tours Parish in Vegreville.

The following is an interview with John Jofin as he discusses the radical financial investment, unexpected adventures, and emotional journey of coming to the Archdiocese of Edmonton and founding this mission of Catholic prayer. 

Why did you begin this mission of Little Goodness?

When I was seven years old, this is where it started. My father was a carpenter. My mother was a housewife, and they both had no formal education. So I had nobody to teach me as a kid. I remember asking my Mom, “Can you teach me?” and she started crying and she said, “I don’t know how to teach you, kid! If you pray to the holy Mother, she will guide you.”

So I went to the nearest chapel and knelt down before the statue of the Mother Mary and, with a rosary in hand, I cried out for help. I asked Jesus, my best friend, “Can you spare your Mom? Can I borrow your Mom? And if both of you can actually be part of my life and I can get an education. . . I will take your word to the ends of the world.”

So that is the promise I made to Jesus at the age of seven. And ever since then, the Holy Rosary has been a very important part of my life. I carry a rosary every day, everywhere. I start each day with the rosary.

St. Mary’s Chapel in John’s hometown in Kerala, India, where the mission began. Photo courtesy of John Jofin.

After you married Simmy, how did your mission for our Holy Mother continue to unfold?

I am from a poor background. I had nobody to guide me. Nobody has even passed Grade 10 in our locality. And then Holy Mother said to me: “Miracles happen when you dare to dream the impossible.”

I graduated from high school and then I went on to finish a master’s degree in commerce with distinction and I went to England for my Master of Business Administration degree with a scholarship and finished with distinction. I didn’t know how this was happening! I was a “medium” student and then all of sudden our Holy Mother just kept giving me bigger targets. Then we came to Canada when I was 27.

Holy Mother Mary kept saying: “Share the rosary.” From Mother Mary, Simmy and I knew we were meant to share the Rosary not as normal, but as a “guided prayer.” 

We learned from YouTube how to do all the editing and we recorded a guided rosary. We barely even knew how to upload this rosary video to Youtube, but we started. We started first with a video of the rosary in our language, Malayalam.

John and Simmy on their wedding day. Photo courtesy of John Jofin.

How did your mission to share the rosary continue to develop, after you launched your Youtube channels?

My father contracted COVID and was in the ICU for 27 days. His doctor called us and said there was no hope for him, because he had contracted pneumonia. We were crying; not sure what to do.

We were praying the rosary and then Simmy remembered our rosary video on YouTube and we asked the doctor if he would share the video with my father. We wanted my father to listen to it, so he would not be so afraid of being alone in an isolated ICU.

What happened was that these recorded rosaries gave my father confidence. He knew that his children were on the other side of the world, praying along with him. So then we started to take it very seriously. 

As part of our mission we also share the Mass online. There was a soldier from the Indian Army who wrote to us. He said there was no way for him to go to Mass. There was another person from the Middle East. From Qatar, who said he also had no way to go to Mass. But they both said they are using Little Goodness. The app, the Youtube community, is what these people from across the world are using for the Mass, for prayer.

The Little Goodness team at the family Life Conference in July 2023 at Lac Ste Anne. Photo courtesy of John Jofin.

You founded Little Goodness Catholic Media, which includes a prayer app, which has a mission of sharing the rosary – and many other prayers. Where did the funding come from?

Everything is funded from our own savings. We have spent over $600,000 on the app, the website and our YouTube channels.

From the perspective of everyone around me, this was madness. I was making $120,000 every year when we started so I could afford to spare my savings and take loans and we also got support from a startup funding agency.  We also mortgaged our house.

What happened was that in August of 2021, I decided that if I’m going to continue working full time on my day job, and then also try to accomplish this mission, it’s not going to get anywhere.

I am a chartered accountant and I had been working for the same company for eight to nine years. I told my boss and he said it was a crazy thing. But I said that I had nothing in my hand other than the Holy Rosary when I started my life, so Holy Mother gave me everything in my life. So it’s my calling to do this for the Holy Mother. If I don’t do it, who else will do it?

It has been very stressful, to be honest with you. Simmy is working very hard to keep everything afloat for us and we have [family who has] contributed. But it’s been really painful and stressful.

The Jofin family receives a house blessing for their new home in Vegreville. Photo courtesy of John Jofin.

Do you doubt your decision to move forward with this big investment?

No, no, I am confident! If you have something to lose, definitely you are worried. But I had nothing to lose, when I started with the Rosary. This pocket rosary of mine really gave me everything. This is my calling. I take it.

You know, when you are doing something passionate, and you’re committing to it, you know that “I have a calling, which I need to execute.” I could be like other people and say, “ok. I’m done, I’ll go back to my regular job.” But when you say yes to the Lord’s will, the Lord will provide for it. Every single day is given to me for a mission to be accomplished. 

Simmy adds:  Sometimes I feel that he is really tense, but I was surprised, because every time I ask him about it, I say “Are you comfortable? Are you sure you are OK?” And he says, “No matter what, Mother Mary is with me. She will guide me.” So nothing is in our own hands; God will provide for us.

What is your goal with Little Goodness as a media organization and a prayer app?

Our basic idea  is that everyone says that the Catholic faith is declining globally. That is true. But the main reason that it is declining is that. . . people have forgotten the prayers of the Church and they don’t have access to Christ.

So I thought, OK, if I can work together with various communities and Catholic churches worldwide to bring a vast, digital library of prayers, we can at least make an attempt to rescue people from the verge of leaving the faith, right? And we can bring back the habit of prayer.

St. Martin de Tours Parish in Vegreville.

How has Fr. Robert Lee, pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish, supported you?

Father Robert has been involved with Little Goodness since its inception. During the initial years of planning and developing the prayer app, he extensively supported and mentored us. He has offered excellent spiritual guidance and prayer support during this beautiful spiritual journey. 

He has also provided help in sourcing Catholic prayers in English and has also been of great support with the syllabus development for our upcoming children’s prayer app, to be released in 2024.

How has the St. Martin of Tours parish community supported you?

Many parishioners have helped us with sourcing traditional prayer scripts in English, French and Ukrainian. We also presented our mission to all the parishioners after a Sunday Mass in August 2023. 

Our family’s commitment and passion to this project has been greatly praised and acknowledged by many parishioners and community members. Many Catholic families from our parish have shared with us that they are praying special rosaries and prayers for the success of our mission to save souls for the Holy Mother. We really love to be part of our Vegreville Catholic community!

Download the Prayer World App now and visit LittleGoodness.ca for more information about this local mission with a goal to bring Catholic prayer to the whole world. 

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Jenny Connelly – Archdiocese of Edmonton 

(This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity)