If you’re a Catholic and a podcast listener, it’s likely that your listening time counted into at least a few of the 365 million downloads of the wildly popular “The Bible in a Year Podcast” has garnered. The show, hosted by Fr. Mike Schmitz, has sat perched near the top of Apple’s charts for months. At an interactive press conference last week, Fr. Mike and the team at Ascension announced their plans for ambitious new projects to complement the Bible in a Year journey, plus an all-new show entitled “The Catechism in a Year”.
Inquiring minds may want to know if a show hosted by a priest on the topic of a book containing the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church can repeat the impact of its predecessor. After having listened to two of the forthcoming episodes, I’m a believer.Join @LisaHendey as she looks at the new @AscensionPress #CatechismInAYear podcast with @frmikeschmitz Click To Tweet
On the press call, I was fortunate enough to see Father Mike and co-host Jeff Cavins discuss not only the unbelievable success of The Bible in a Year as they rolled out their plans for The Catechism in a Year. But I’ll admit it: I was still skeptical. Don’t get me wrong. I personally love the Catechism. It is not only an important compendium of official teachings, but also a beautifully produced aid to scripture study, important documents in the history of the Church, and the writings of our most important saints and Doctors of the Church. I keep two copies in my office for handy reference. Not a week goes by when I don’t open the Catechism to go digging into those big “WHY?” questions that tend to arise along my spiritual journey.
But even as much as I enjoy consulting the Catechism, I’ve honestly never considered reading it cover to cover. Until now! Before I dive into why, let’s look briefly at the history of the Catechism, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.
So why read the Catechism? Isn’t the Bible good enough?
I don’t want to answer that question for you, as your response will vary from mine. But I’ll tell you why I’ve traditionally read the Catechism. I use it often in my writing research to explain particular Church teachings. Although I am not a theologian, I am increasingly interested in understanding the Creed I profess. Most frequently I turn to the Catechism when I find myself in a “Why” moment, either one of my own making or when I am trying to explain our faith traditions to a friend or loved one.
I’ll let Fr. Mike answer this question too:
As part of my advanced media access to this project, I received limited access to two episodes of the podcast and a copy of the beautiful new book The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ascension Edition. I am happy to share that the podcasts have the same breathlessly excited tone that “The Bible in a Year” podcast carried. Fr. Mike can take what feels like a dry passage and breathe new life into it. His enthusiasm is infectious. But I also sense here that he will be our companion on a journey that will take many challenging twists and turns. One note: I typically listen to content at double speed to cram more listening into my limited hours. I’d advise against that here! Fr. Mike Schmitz speaks quickly and the material is dense. To get the most out of this show, you may even want to slow the pace.
As for the newly produced The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ascension Edition, it is now available for pre-order at Ascension. I’m incredibly impressed by the production quality here. The faux-leather white cover, gold embossing and satin ribbons give the book a beautiful look and feel. But the true value here is in the contents and organization of this new edition. It’s been specifically designed for daily usage with the podcast. I love many of the features, but the newly added “Sources from Scripture and the Church” appendix which makes the Bible a perfect companion to this Catechism journey.
When it launches on January 1, 2023, The Catechism in a Year podcast will feature:
- 4 Podcast Special Guests – Jeff Cavins, Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Dr. Mary Healy, and Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT – each of whom will join Fr. Mike to introduce a new section of the podcast.
- Free downloadable promotional materials – created in response to repeated audience requests, these materials will allow parishes, schools, or Catholic groups to share news about either The Catechism in a Year or The Bible in a Year in their local areas, and enjoy the show together as a community.
Learn more about The Catechism in a Year podcast and The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ascension edition at Ascension.com.