Schmitz, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, who serves at the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Newman Center, hosts both podcasts and offers prayers and reflections to accompany the daily text. “Bible in a Year” episodes run for an average of 23 minutes while “Catechism in a Year” episodes are generally slightly shorter.
Beginning at the start of 2021, the “Bible in a Year” proved to be a hit on the podcast charts, rising to No. 1 overall on Apple Podcasts shortly after the new year. Despite eventually relinquishing its No. 1 spot on the charts, “The Bible in a Year” has gone on to be downloaded more than 430 million times.
Instead of reading the Bible in a linear fashion from cover to cover, the podcast follows “The Great Adventure Bible Timeline,” developed by Jeff Cavins. This approach, which pairs readings from the 14 “critical narrative books” with readings from nonnarrative books each day, helps to maintain the story structure of salvation history, Schmitz previously told CNA.
“The Catechism in a Year” podcast follows a similar format to the “Bible in a Year” podcast, with 365 daily episodes, each including Schmitz adding his own short prayers and reflections. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had to give Ascension specific permission to distribute the catechism in this format because it owns the copyright to the English translation for the distribution in the United States. That podcast, too, topped the charts for a time at the beginning of 2023.
While some people might think of the catechism merely as a resource, “like an encyclopedia,” Schmitz previously told CNA, he said he hopes his podcast will help listeners to appreciate the catechism as being permeated by “truth spoken in love.”
“[The catechism] is not just a heady document. [It has] a beauty that speaks to the heart, not just to the head,” Schmitz said.