Who would have expected a podcast on the Bible to top the charts at the start of 2021?
Fr. Mike Schmitz and Jeff Cavins have been recognized on Our Sunday Visitor’s 2021 Catholics of the Year list for their groundbreaking Bible in a Year podcast.
Schmitz is an alum of the Saint Paul Seminary, ordained for the Diocese of Duluth in 2003. He serves as a chaplain for University of Minnesota-Duluth. Scholar and catechist Jeff Cavins is currently on staff at the seminary, helping form aspirants for the priesthood during the new propaedeutic stage of formation.
Cavins is also the founder of The Saint Paul Seminary’s Archbishop Flynn Catechetical Institute.
In partnership with Ascension Presents and using Cavins’ Great Adventure Bible Timeline as a framework, the “Bible in a Year” takes listeners through every single passage from Genesis to Revelation, with Schmitz giving brief but profound reflections. Cavins is also featured on select episodes that transition into a new era in the Bible, going in depth on historical context and theological significance.
The idea seemed simple enough: two to three passages per episode, with words of insight from Schmitz. However, the podcast gained millions of subscribers in less than a year and at one point was the popular show on Apple Podcasts.
Stories of conversions and lives touched have come out of the woodwork.
“I’ve been a Catholic for three short months now, and honestly I wouldn’t be able to convert if it weren’t for your Bible in a Year podcast,” one listener testified.
Longtime friends Cavins and Schmitz’s work isn’t done yet, though.
The pair has a virtual Bible in a Year retreat scheduled for Feb. 18-20. Ascension also recently released the Bible in a Year in Spanish, new for 2022.
“It really spoke of two things,” Cavins said. “One, someone other than us is at work here. I believe that is the Holy Spirit, who is calling people to that which does not change, which is God in the midst of so much chaos. … I think that people are desperate to know God’s story in the midst of it. I also think there is a renewed hunger in the Catholic Church for scripture.”