New show is sequel to The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz)™, Apple’s #1 Religion podcast for 2021-2022 and the most successful Catholic podcast of all time.
For the third year in a row, Catholic priest Fr. Mike Schmitz is the host of the #1 podcast on Apple Podcasts in all categories at the start of January.
This year, the leading show is The Catechism in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz), which has held the #1 position on Apple for 5 days from December 30 to the present writing.
Fr. Mike’s Bible in a Year has also performed well for its third year in a row, sitting in the Top 5 since January 1 and peaking at #3 on January 2, 2023 (above).
“Fr. Mike,” described by the New York Times Magazine as “an affable 48-year-old Midwesterner who … exudes strong Ted Lasso vibes,” first hit national prominence in January 2021 when his The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz)™ podcast was #1 on Apple in all categories. He then repeated the feat in January 2022. Since then, the show has regularly been the world’s #1 podcast in Religion & Spirituality (Chartable + Apple) and has been downloaded 430 million times.
As 2023 kicks off, Fr. Mike has invited his audience of Bible enthusiasts to consider studying a new religious text for 20 minutes each day: the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catholicism’s central summary of Church teaching. The response to his invitation has been enormous, with the show shooting to #1 in all categories on Apple Podcasts, ahead of major podcasts like NBC’s Dateline, Crime Junkie, and NPR. As of January 2, there are already 110K members in the podcast’s official Facebook group.
Fr. Mike: “There’s Something About the Accessibility of Podcasts”
When asked why he thinks people respond so enthusiastically to his podcast renderings of religious texts like the Bible or the Catechism, Fr. Mike answered,
I think there’s something about the accessibility of podcasts. When the Bible was originally made accessible to individuals with the invention of the printing press, and the Word of God was able to be distributed, vastly larger numbers of people read the Bible on their own. I think there’s something very similar about podcasts: they make texts like the Bible or the Catechism accessible, obtainable, graspable.
Non-Catholics are joining the movement, too. Anna, a self-described “life-long Southern Baptist” on YouTube, posted a “Protestant REACTS to Fr. Mike’s Catechism in a Year” video with 20K views in which she shares her excitement about the podcast, as well as a reflection on the opening line of the Catechism: “This first paragraph is … such a beautiful way to answer that age-old question of ‘Why are we here?’” And later in the video, she says, “If you sat this paragraph in front of any Protestant … no one would say that it wasn’t beautiful.”
“An Astonishing Moment for the Church”
As Christian affiliation declines across American society, it is notable that the top three podcasts on Apple at the beginning of 2023 (and 2022, and 2021) have been focused on guiding listeners through the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (The “Bible Recap” podcast produced by the D-Group is the third Christian title in that chart-topping trifecta.)
Ascension president and CEO Jonathan Strate offers his thoughts on what has now happened three years in a row:
To have a podcast about the Catechism of the Catholic Church reach #1 in the United States in all categories is an astonishing moment for the Church. It speaks to the deep longing we have to respond to God’s plan for each one of us revealed so beautifully in the treasure that is the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Catechism in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) will feature 365 daily episodes throughout 2023, plus bonus episodes featuring special guest experts Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Jeff Cavins, Dr. Mary Healy, and Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT.
Fr. Mike Schmitz will be the main presenter of the podcast, and will personally read every line of the Catechism, using the Ascension Edition, throughout the year, as well as offering prayer and commentary during each of the 20-minute episodes.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ascension Edition
To accompany the new show, Ascension obtained permission from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to print a new edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with a comprehensive color-coding system, Foundations of Faith, which is built into the text itself and carried across companion products including The Catechism in a Year Notebook and The Catechism at a Glance Chart.
Ascension is a multimedia network and the leader in Catholic faith formation and digital content. Over the past 25 years, Ascension has helped nurture the faith of more than 10 million Catholics through award-winning books, the chart-topping Bible in a Year podcast, more than 50 unique faith formation programs, and Ascension Presents, the world’s largest Catholic YouTube channel in English.
Media kit for The Catechism in a Year podcast – click here
Media kit for The Bible in a Year podcast – click here
For other media inquiries, contact Lauren Joyce: LJoyce@AscensionPress.com.