Father Mike Schmitz on ‘The Catechism in a Year’ Podcast: An ‘Invitation Into Love, Relationship With God Himself’

Speaking to the Register during a press conference, Father Schmitz invited Catholics and non-Catholics alike: ‘Discover how God’s plan of sheer goodness is made manifest for us today.’

Father Mike Schmitz discusses with the Register several facts and features about the new ‘Catechism in a Year’ podcast coming Jan. 1, 2023.
Father Mike Schmitz discusses with the Register several facts and features about the new ‘Catechism in a Year’ podcast coming Jan. 1, 2023. (photo: Courtesy photos / Ascension Press)

After the incredible success of The Bible in a Year Podcast, Father Mike Schmitz and Jeff Cavins of Ascension Press announced the full details regarding The Catechism in a Year podcast during a press event on Nov. 2.

This next venture coming to all online audio platforms Jan. 1 was something that Father Schmitz had in mind when producing The Bible in a Year, but it was really popular demand that brought about this new podcast. An Ascension Press survey found that thousands were interested in learning more about the Catechism through a daily podcast. The 900-page-long book is a compilation of fundamental Christian truths and the essential teachings of the Church. 

Father Schmitz spoke passionately about this new podcast, telling the Register what listeners will get when tuning in: 

“One of the things that we recognize: Here is the Holy Spirit, who continues to move. Here is God, who continues to reach out to his people. God continues to make us his sons and daughters ... and there is real truth in the fact that you can't love what you don't know. ... And I am just so grateful for the Catechism. God reveals himself in sacred Scripture so we get to love him more. But he also reveals himself in sacred Tradition. So we get to love him more. I hope that when it comes to the Bible, we had a biblical worldview that was either given for the first time or rediscovered. Now, with the Catechism, it’s a biblical world view that is now amplified or even brought into a clearer or sharper vision.”

The podcast offers vital facts and knowledge on the richness of the Catholic faith, Father Schmitz continued, adding the episodes offer not only “real information but real transformation.”

 

New Podcast and the Real Presence

Given the release of the new podcast coming amid the National Eucharistic Revival, the Register asked Father Schmitz about the timing of this new venture and how the podcast might help revive the understanding of and belief in the Real Presence. 

Father Schmitz noted that since the podcast is going through the Catechism in a linear way, “We won’t necessarily discuss the Eucharist for awhile,” but he added the entire show is an “invitation into love, relationship with God himself,” and we as believers: “We can’t love what we don’t know.” 

The new podcast will explore deeply — as the Catechism does: “God in himself, the who and the what of what God is, offering a greater understanding and greater love.” In terms of the Eucharistic Revival, Schmitz called the podcast an invitation to “fall more in love with the word” and consider “how does God continue to reveal himself now?” The first episode is titled: “To Know and Love God.”

Similar to The Bible of Year podcast, The Catechism in a Year podcast will be 15-20 minutes in length for each episode, offering both commentary and prayer. Fleshing out the four pillars of the Catholic faith, Jeff Cavins joins Father Schmitz to cover “What We Believe,” Bishop Andrew Cozzens joins to discuss “How We Worship,” Mary Healy explores “How We Live,” and Sister Miriam James Heidlandand adds to “How We Pray.” 

Since so many churches are listening together as a group, Ascension Press has created free parish promotional materials, including flyers, posters, bulletins and graphics. The new podcast will be free on all streaming platforms, as well as on the Hallow prayer app.

The practicality of the podcast’s content is very unique. Speaking about the young audience they are reaching with the current podcast and what they hope to cultivate with the launch of The Catechism, Cavins of Ascension Press said, “There is a real challenge in reaching such a young audience that is intrigued by the Catholic faith.” Father Schmitz called it “leveling up” during the press conference, saying the podcast offers “a sober and serious revelation of who God is,” adding, “This faith of ours has really been thought through.” 

This project also comes with a new print edition of the Catechism. The book was released this fall in anticipation of the podcast dropping in January. John Harden of Ascension Press first thanked the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their help in printing this new robust version that is tailored for the podcast segments. 

Both the podcast and Catechism have gone through extensive “theological review,” Harden noted. He also spoke to their “‘Foundations of Faith’ approach,” which “allows people to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church with a clear understanding of its sources in Scripture, Church documents, writings of the saints and more.” The new book also comes with a very useful ‘Catechism-at-a-Glance’ chart and colorful Catechism indexing tabs, so listeners can easily follow along. A podcast notebook is also available. 

As the doctors of the Church play such a crucial role in the breadth and depth of the Catechism, the Register asked Harden about unique aspects, and he noted a very cool feature of the coinciding Catechism: “We highlight sources of each section — Scriptures and Tradition, creeds and councils, and doctors of the Church.” By listing all the sources for each topic and section, Harden said that readers and listeners can learn that “maybe half the content of the Catechism is really a quote from a council or doctor of the Church.”

Ascension Press also announced a new series coming next year, as well: The Bible Timeline Show, featuring Cavins. In dialogue with a special guest, the conversation will uncover connections between the Bible and Catechism. Some of the featured guests include Father Schmitz, Father Josh Johnson, Scott Hahn and Sister Alicia Torres.

Ascension, the podcast’s publisher, believes this new podcast will have tremendous impact, following on the heels of the success of The Bible in a Year podcast, whose popularity continues to climb. Garnering 6.8 billion total listening minutes, the podcast has had more than 365 million downloads to date.

In the last 30 days alone, the current podcast has reached 1.5 million people and has also topped the charts on Apple Podcasts for the second year in a row. Lauren Joyce, press secretary for Ascension Press, said, “Ahead of Conan O’Brien, ahead of Dave Ramsey, secretly people are reading the Bible.” The podcast also has countless testimonials, many pointing to the “bridges of healing in Catholic and Protestant households.”

 

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