A billboard promoting The Bible in a Year podcast will surprise the millions of visitors rounding the corner of 7th Ave. & 48th St. in New York City between Dec. 19, 2021-Jan. 9, 2022.
How did this brazen billboard find itself in Times Square? And will it encourage people to make a New Year’s Resolution to read the Bible?
The Bible in a Year Podcast (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) saw meteoric success at its 2021 launch in January. It held the #1 position on Apple Podcasts in all categories between Jan. 2-18, 2021, ahead of long-standing and widely popular programs from The New York Times, NPR and The Daily Wire. The podcast is ending the year with 4 billion minutes listened through 170 million downloads!
The show, produced by Ascension, a Catholic publisher and multimedia network, features Minnesota priest Fr. Mike Schmitz reading through The Great Adventure Catholic Bible in 365 episodes, providing commentary, reflection and prayer along the way. Episodes average 23 minutes in length. Scripture scholar and Bible Timeline Learning System creator Jeff Cavins is the featured guest of the podcast.
What inspired the Catholic podcast?
Fr. Mike explained his vision for this extraordinary project, “One of the primary reasons why I wanted to create this podcast was because my own mind was being filled with a lot of chaotic voices. Some were wise, many were merely distracting. I think that a lot of people are tired of those same distracting and temporary voices. And they want what I want: to allow our hearts and minds to be shaped by something eternal – God’s eternal Word.”
In choosing a framework for organizing the 73 books of Scripture, Fr. Mike turned to the Bible study system that changed his own relationship with God’s Word: Jeff Cavins’ celebrated Great Adventure Bible Timeline. “We have this phenomenal resource in Jeff Cavins’ Great Adventure Bible Timeline,” comments Fr. Mike. “Jeff Cavins unpacks the story of salvation – the story of God’s love for his people. We’re basing our reading plan on The Great Adventure Bible Timeline because in my life, The Bible Timeline is probably the most significant Bible study that I’ve ever been a part of.”
Why is it so popular?
“Through distraction and distress, our culture has lost a hopeful, historical biblical worldview – but by the grace of God this podcast has helped hundreds of thousands rediscover it,” said Fr. Mike Schmitz. “We’re humbled by testimonials from people of all walks of life who’ve started to apply a biblical worldview to their lives – gaining clarity on God’s will, overcoming addictions, returning to the sacraments or converting to Catholicism, renewing marriages and relationships – and many more incredible stories.”
Many of the podcast reviews share stories of hope, such as Victoria, who shared “Like so many others I lost my way over the summer because of Covid – The Bible in a Year has not only brought me back, but anchored me in place. For this I am forever grateful.”
Thousands are listening with their spouses, like Tom, who wrote, “When I saw the Bible in a Year program, I decided … why not. I asked my wife if she’d like to do it with me, expecting her to say no … but she said yes… this has changed our life in so many ways. We’re closer together, we’re learning, praying, experiencing a wonderful transformation … Your reading, commentary and prayers have revitalized our spiritual life.”
What’s next for the Bible in a Year podcast?
To reach out to Spanish-speakers with even more resources, Ascension is launching the La Biblia en un año Podcast on Jan. 1 with original commentary and native Spanish-speaking priests, Fr. Sergio Serrano, OP, and Fr. Dempsey Acosta.
Because La Biblia en un Año podcast will follow the exact same reading plan as The Bible in a Year podcast in English, mixed-language English-Spanish parishes and schools will be able to read the Bible together during 2022.
With a large percentage of Catholics in the United States preferring to speak and pray in Spanish, this new two-language podcast offering represents a stunning free resource for Catholic parishes and schools. This resource will also be a boon for bishops, priests, parish leaders, and catechists who might not speak Spanish personally, but who want a trusted free resource to place into the hands of their Spanish-speaking constituents.
More Bible In A Year Resources
For listeners who want to celebrate The Bible in a Year podcast, Ascension is hosting “The Bible in a Year Retreat” Virtual Event for Bible in a Year listeners Feb. 18-20, 2022. The event, which likely will sell out soon, will help thousands of Catholics cultivate a lifelong relationship with the Word of God – one that extends far beyond the podcast.
Many listeners are sharing inspiring words on the Ascension Catholic Bible Studies Facebook group and have said that they’re planning to listen again and invite friends, family and co-workers to check it out. Some who started in 2021 but didn’t finish have said they’re going to start again in 2022.
To help those listening to The Bible in a Year podcast deepen their experience, Ascension offers The Great Adventure Catholic Bible, Paperback Edition and The Bible in a Year Notebook.
This article was written by the Ascension Team.
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