Mike Schmitz and Jeff Cavins.
Father Mike Schmitz (l) and Jeff Cavins collaborated on the "Catechism in a Year" podcast. (Courtesy: Ascension)

St. Thomas Alumnus Tops US Podcast Charts Again

They’ve done it again.

As of late Tuesday morning, Jan. 3, Father Mike Schmitz ’03 MDiv and Jeff Cavins’ “Catechism in a Year” podcast with Ascension Presents ranked No. 1 in all categories on Apple Podcast charts. It reached that spot within 48 hours of its Jan. 1 launch.

Schmitz, a Saint Paul Seminary alumnus, and Cavins, a seminary instructor and founder of the Catechetical Institute, achieved similar success with the “Bible in a Year” podcast the past two years.

The “Catechism in a Year” and “Bible in a Year” shows are two of the top three on Apple Podcasts. The “Catechism in a Year” ranks No. 2 on Spotify’s charts.

“People are confused,” Cavins told Our Sunday Visitor. “They are hungry, they are scared, and we are offering them a sure foundation.”

According to Apple’s podcasting website, its charts “reflect the most popular shows and episodes available in a given market and are designed to help people discover what to listen to next. They do not reflect all-time listening records and are not a measure of the largest podcasts by listenership.” Apple doesn’t share its exact algorithm but says its rankings come from a mix of listening, follows and completion rate. Spotify’s rankings are more straightforward: They’re primarily based on what shows are downloaded and listened to the most.

With a similar format to “Bible in a Year,” Schmitz takes listeners through a daily excerpt from the Catechism, which summarizes the basic beliefs of the Catholic Church. According to Ascension, the podcast will allow listeners to “read the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church in 365 days, understand the essentials of the Catholic Faith and why they matter, see how Church teaching is rooted in Sacred Scripture, absorb over 2,000 years of Sacred Tradition, encounter God’s plan of sheer goodness and transform their relationship with the Church that Christ founded.”

“After the Bible, the Catechism is the most important book for Catholics,” Schmitz says in the podcast’s trailer. “The Catechism is much, much more than a reference book. It is distilling, the unpacking, the summary of all that Christians have believed for hundreds and thousands of years and what Christians believe today.”

The show features occasional appearances from Cavins, including Day 3, which was published Jan. 3. Cavins founded the seminary’s Catechetical Institute in 2008 and has spent decades studying, writing, teaching and speaking on the Catechism.

“The beautiful thing about the Catechism is that it presents our faith in four pillars … what we believe, how we worship, how we live and how we pray,” Cavins says in the third episode. “It’s laid out in a beautiful way.”

Editor's note: A version of this story originally ran on The Seminaries of Saint Paul website. The Saint Paul Seminary is located at the University of St. Thomas.