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‘Unprecedented’ Podcasting: Religious podcast hit #1 on Apple as Americans search for peace

Dramatic popularity of “Bible in a Year” illustrates national hunger for truth, meaning

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Millions of people are seeking answers and hope in today’s culture of unrest and suffering. The unexpected national success of Ascension’s The Bible in a Year with Fr. Mike Schmitz, which was the #1-Ranked Show on Apple Podcasts for 17 days and remains in the top 3 shows overall as of this writing, indicates that many are turning to God’s Word for truth and peace in difficult times.

The show, which officially launched on January 1, now boasts over 9 Million downloads. In shooting to the #1 position on the Apple Podcasts Chart on January 2, it ousted long-standing offerings from The New York Times, NPR, Barstool Sports and The Daily Wire.  

“In a time of distress, there is something incredible about timeless wisdom, which is epitomized in the Word of God,” comments Father Mike, who is a nationally recognized author and speaker well known for his YouTube videos on “Ascension Presents,” the second-largest Catholic YouTube platform in English. 

“The things we thought we could count on are more fragile than we like to admit. But the Word of God is not fragile, and it is not temporary,” the Minnesota-based priest explains. “People are realizing that and experiencing that the Bible reveals what many of us have forgotten about ourselves, God, and the meaning of life.” 

For Catholics, this past Sunday, January 24, was the “Sunday of the Word of God,” established by Pope Francis to encourage people to “grasp the beauty of God’s Word and to see it applied to their daily lives.” In his announcement of this celebration Pope Francis explained, “the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity.”

Jeff Cavins, author of  The Great Adventure® Bible Timeline upon which the podcast’s reading plan is based, and himself a regular guest on the podcast, echoes the Holy Father’s remarks.

“God draws people to himself through His Word. When they understand Salvation History, people come to know the heart of their Heavenly Father and discover His amazing plan for their life. God reveals himself in words and deeds which results in a solid foundation on which to trust,” Cavins explains. “Trust is what is lacking at this time and trust is what people will experience when they receive God’s Word as a letter from a Father to his children.”

The Bible in a Year podcast seeks to promote this unity that the Holy Father enjoins through faith: listeners are encouraged to pray for each other, discuss what they’re hearing and discovering with friends and family, and join social media discussion groups for further reflection.

“We want people to let the Word of God seep into their hearts and shape their worldview with a lens of hope and purpose,” said Father Mike. “The point is not to just ‘get through’ the Bible, but to integrate God’s Word into actions each day – and into the future. We’re not just reading the stories of the Bible. We’re encouraging people to discover how their own ‘personal stories’ fit into the story of salvation and God’s unique plan for each of us.”

The Bible in a Year is being produced by Ascension, the leader in Catholic faith formation. Long respected for their Catholic Bible study resources, Ascension sells the bestselling and best-rated Catholic Bible on Amazon, as well as dozens of other Catholic Bible studies, books and faith formation resources. Their evangelizing digital media platforms on YouTube, Facebook, and social media are some of the largest in the Catholic space.

The Bible in a Year is available on all major podcast platforms or on Hallow App. Daily episodes will run through the end of 2021.

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Lauren Joyce
[email protected]
(484) 876-1400

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.