While most Catholics have read the Bible or at least parts of it, not nearly as many have read the Catechism of the Catholic Church cover to cover. Ascension Press wants to change that, inviting both Catholics and non-Catholics alike to make it a goal in 2023.
Following the monumental success of the Bible in a Year podcast, Ascension and Fr. Mike Schmitz will soon embark on a new yearlong adventure. The Catechism in a Year podcast begins January 1st, and one look at posts from people on the over-80,000-member Facebook group offers a glimpse into the excitement from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Fr. Schmitz is the Director of the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese, and the author of Made For Love (Ignatius Press, 2018).
A one-volume work summarizing Church teaching and divided into four parts—what we believe, how we worship, how we live, and how we pray—the Catechism was finished in 1992 under the direction of St. John Paul II and editorial guidance of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
Starting January 1, on your favorite podcast app, you can listen to Fr. Mike Schmitz read the Catechism and explain its words in the unique way only he can. It will be an incredible journey!
The Bible in a Year podcast was transformative. Fr. Mike’s wisdom, his exuberance, and his love of the faith inspired people to press play every day to hear the word of God as they had never heard it before. Not only did Catholics strengthen their faith, but lukewarm Catholics returned to the faith, non-Catholics converted, and hearts and minds were opened to the love and goodness of God. The Catechism in a Year podcast will no doubt continue this transformation and will give us a greater understanding of the Church that Jesus founded over 2,000 years ago.
Throughout the pages of the Catechism, we will learn about God’s mercy and love and how we can shine that love to others. We will learn the origin of certain practices, where our prayers originated, and why it’s important to venerate the saints and our Blessed Mother. We will learn about sin, about the sacraments, about prayer, and about how to live our lives so that we can spend eternity with God.
Oftentimes, we find ourselves simply going through the motions of our faith. We don’t really understand why we do what we do; we just do it. The Catechism will give us that understanding. This is something we desperately need in a time when our faith is so often attacked and when many political leaders who claim to be Catholic attempt to pervert what the Church actually teaches. Hearing and understanding Church teaching will not only fill us with joy as we come to know God in a deeper and more intimate way, but it will help us understand the difference between someone’s opinion and the truth.
For instance, regarding abortion, the Catechism says: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, which is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”
Regarding euthanasia, the Church teaches: “An act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator.”
Regarding the Eucharist, we understand that the Church teaches that it is the “source and summit of the Christian life” and that “anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion.”
These are just a few of the beautiful truths of the Catholic faith. Christ charged the apostles—and by extension, us—to go out and evangelize. But we cannot do as Christ charged if we do not know how to evangelize, why we’re evangelizing, or even what to evangelize.
The beauty and goodness of the Catholic Church are not for us to keep hidden or to celebrate privately. If we are to change hearts and minds and bring people closer to Christ, we must first love and understand all that the Church teaches. This love and understanding lead to a deep joy in our faith—a joy fully visible in Fr. Mike Schmitz. When listening to him, we can’t help but share in that joy.
Beginning on January 1, 2023, Ascension will release one new podcast episode each day. Each episode ranges between 15 and 20 minutes. During that time, as Fr. Mike reads the Catechism, prays, and then reflects on the passage, we will be immersed in Church teaching, awash in Christ’s love for His children, and transformed by the beauty of a faith that has lasted more than 2,000 years.
Just as the Bible in a Year has helped a deeper faith take root in the hearts and minds of listeners, such will be the case with the Catechism in a Year podcast. As Fr. Mike recently said, “The Catechism is this incredible gift of a Church that’s been given God’s word, has been shaped by God’s word, has been called higher by God’s word, has been converted and convicted by God’s word.”
Let us allow ourselves to be converted and convicted so that we can do the same for others.
• Related at CWR: “In gratitude for the gift of the Catechism of the Catholic Church” (Oct 11, 2017) by Carl E. Olson
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