"I think God is doing something, to be honest," Cavins said.
At the beginning of each episode, Schmitz introduces the podcast as a way to "encounter God's voice and live life through the lens of scripture."
"The main goal was: How do we allow God's word to speak to us in a small way every single day in such a way that it shapes the way that we see the world?" he said.
Schmitz was raised in Brainerd, Minn., and went to college at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., before attending the St. Paul Seminary. The busy priest now juggles the new podcast with his duties as chaplain for the University of Minnesota Duluth's Newman Catholic Campus Ministries and director of youth ministry for the Duluth diocese, so he often records a few episodes at a time, usually early in the morning or late at night.
Each recording is about 20-25 minutes long and avoids mentioning specific dates so listeners can start the series at any time. Ascension also has a Facebook group with about 40,000 members where those listening to "The Bible in a Year" can connect and reflect on the day's readings.
Schmitz doesn't know what will happen once he reads the final verses of Revelations at the end of the year, but he's already mulling ideas for next steps — possibly a podcast diving deeper into specific parts of the Bible, like the Gospels, or one exploring the Catholic catechism, which explains the beliefs of the church.
He receives a handful of e-mails and letters each day from listeners around the world sharing feedback and personal experiences linked to the daily passages. Cavins added that the responses aren't coming from a single demographic — he's heard from families who listen to the podcast during breakfast, first-time podcast listeners, educators incorporating the podcast into their curriculum and people of other faiths curious about the Bible.
Like millions of others, each is familiar with the steady voice of the Duluth priest, who tells them at the end of his daily recordings: "I cannot wait to see you tomorrow. God bless."©2021 StarTribune. Visit at startribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.