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It’s hard to believe that a year has almost passed, but Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Catechism in a Year podcast is already in its December home stretch. While there’s only a month left to go, however, Ascension is working to solidify the podcast as a lasting resource for religious education, releasing a reading plan, as well as a companion guide to all 365 episodes of Catechism in a Year.
Launched in January 2023, Catechism in a Year (CIY) is a daily podcast in which Fr. Mike Schmitz reads and explains the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). It is similar to his 2022 endeavor, the massively successful Bible in a Year podcast, which remains #1 on Apple’s US podcast charts in both the categories of Religion and Spirituality, and Christianity. While CIY has never reached the same popularity as its predecessor, it still holds #4 spots on the same charts.
Today, we’re watching episode 323, in which Fr. Mike examines what the CCC has to say about Truth, Beauty, and Sacred Art. As always, the episode begins by citing the paragraphs about to be read and an opening prayer. The citation allows listeners to follow along at home, but the prayer readies the mind and soul to learn about the Catholic faith.
It’s clear right from the start why Fr. Schmitz’s podcasts are so popular, as he has a talent for simplifying the often dense wording of the catechism into terms that anyone can understand. This priest illuminates points or concepts with examples or stories from his life, presented in conversational tones that resonate with listeners.
After reading the passage from the catechism discussing beauty and truth, Fr. Schmitz explains that human beings are naturally drawn to what is true due to our intellect. One of the ways truth can be revealed to us is through beauty, most especially when that beauty is exemplified through human expression. Fr. Mike said:
“And that is so powerful. I mean, we all know the phrase, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’ And in this paragraph 2500, it seems to me, at least, that the Church is saying, yes, not just a picture being worth a thousand words, but there’s something that is expressed in art.”This has been adapted from TheCatechism of the Year podcast. Listen to the podcast at ascensionpress.com/app.
Fr. Mike reminds that beauty can be found in all forms of art, from visual to literary, and even musical. He notes that beauty can be communicated even by a solo instrument if it is played excellently, for which he recalled the melody of the Indiana Jones theme. Similarly to how music can make a movie scene more compelling, Schmitz explains, “beauty can reveal something that mere words can’t.”
There is a whole year’s worth of Catholic religious education and personal reflections from Fr. Schmitz waiting in Catechism in a Year. Those who use the podcast as a resource may find it beneficial to sign up for Ascension’s Catechism in a Year reading plan, which only requires an email address to receive. The color coded plan keeps track of each passage of the catechism for each episode of the podcast, to help keep listeners organized and moving at their own pace.
Interested parties may want the Catechism in a Year Companion, which provides unique content for each episode, including transcripts of Fr. Mike’s prayers and key highlights. Like the Bible in a Year Companion, the first volume covers episodes 1-120, with subsequent volumes filling out the remainder of the year. This hardcover Catholic resource is worth consideration as a Christmas gift for any fan of Catechism in a Year.