Podcasts: A new way to engage faith this Lent

By Fr. Edward Looney | Special To The Compass | February 13, 2021

Lent is a time when people decide to learn more about their faith. Many people will pick up a devotional at the entrance of their church or order a book online for their spiritual reading. Another method of learning, one growing in popularity, is podcasting. There are a wealth of Catholic podcasts available for your listening pleasure which you could engage in this Lenten season.

Greg and Jennifer Willits, founders of the Rosary Army, record a podcast July 6, 2020. Podcasts are a popular way for people to engage their faith, says Fr. Edward Looney. (CNS photo | Michael Alexander, Georgia Bulletin)

What is a podcast? Think of it as on-demand radio, but not limited to any one radio station. Individuals or companies produce shows and make them available for wider distribution. If you are new to the podcast world, here’s a guide to some Catholic podcasts for your listening pleasure.

Catholic Informational Podcasts

The No. 1 podcast in Apple’s rankings in 2021 is “The Bible in a Year,” wherein Fr. Michael Schmitz reads the Bible in a year through daily episodes. Sponsored by Ascension Press, this podcast is great because it helps people become Bible literate. Fr. Schmitz also does an excellent job of not only reflecting on the Word of God and making it applicable to life, but responding to each reading with a prayer, modeling for listeners spontaneous prayer.

Other podcasts worth exploring: “Catholic Stuff You Should Know,” “Ave Explores,” “Ave Spotlight,” “The Pillar” and “CNA Newsroom.”

Homily Podcasts

Many priests make their weekend homilies available via podcasting, including (at least) three priests from the Diocese of Green Bay. Fr. Joel Sember publishes “The Pilgrim Priest Podcast.” Fr. Zach Weber, “Mysterium Vitae” and, yours truly, “Fr. Edward Looney Preaches.” Other popular homily podcasts are available from Bishop Robert Barron and Fr. Larry Richards.

Podcasts by other Priests 

Green Bay diocesan vocation director Fr. Mark Mlzevia and his team discuss topics related to discerning a vocation on the “Quo Vadis?” weekly podcast. Fr. Harrison Ayre and Fr. Anthony Sciarappa host a weekly conversation called “Clerically Speaking.” Fr. Joshua Johnson from Ascension Press answers weekly questions in “Ask Father Josh.” Fr. Josh has a passion and zeal for the Lord and the fire of the Lord will ignite within you as you listen. Fr. Brad Doyle hosts a fun podcast called “The Quizzical Papist.”

Podcasts by Male Religious Orders 

The Franciscan Friars of Renewal share their wisdom from years of prayer, community life and work with the poor in their “The Poco a Poco Podcast” and in a second podcast, “From the Friars.” The Dominican Friars of St. Joseph in Washington D.C. consider topics related to philosophy, theology, culture and beyond in their podcast “Godsplaining.”

Podcasts by Women’s Religious Orders

The Daughters of St. Paul recently began podcasting with “The Daughters’ Project.” The Daughters of St. Paul are known for their use of the media, especially as book publishers, but engaging in the use of the new media as well. They have recently emerged on the Tik Tok scene. Sr. Miriam James joins a few lay women each week for a conversation about living with passion and purpose in the “Abiding Together” podcast.

Podcasts by Lay People

God calls all people to share the Gospel, and some lay people from the pews are doing that through podcasting. 

Cecilia Cicone spent time in the convent discerning with the Daughters of St. Paul. She chose to leave before professing vows. In her continued call to evangelize, she shares about Jesus’ love in her podcast “Jesus Loves You, This I Know.” It takes a common children’s song and reflects on the many ways Jesus loves us. Catholic author, Twitter personality and mental health counselor Tommy Tighe addresses mental health and tries to remove its stigma in his podcast “St. Dymphna’s Playbook.” St. Dymphna is the patron saint of mental health.

Other podcasts to check out: “The Liturgy Guys” and “The Cordial Catholic.”

Podcasts by Catholic Radio 

If you listen to Catholic Radio, whether Relevant Radio, EWTN Radio or Sirius XM’s “The Catholic Channel,” many of their shows are created into podcasts. Just search the name of your favorite show and you might find it as a podcast.

Devotional Podcasts 

I host two podcasts related to Catholic devotion. “How They Love Mary” is an interview-based podcast. At the end of each episode the guest reflects on his or her Marian devotion. During the Year of St. Joseph, I’ve also started a video series through Facebook, YouTube and released the audio as the “Cup of St. Joe” podcast. Each week, a guest and I serve an espresso shot of teaching and devotion.

How do I listen to a podcast? 

With all of these suggestions, how do you get to listen to them? There are many different apps for your smartphones. The common places to listen are Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play. If you don’t have an app, download it and, after opening it, search for the podcast show. 

If you listen from a computer, you might be able to find the podcast through a Google search and listen right from a web browser. There is so much for us to know, and Catholic podcasting is a new way to discover and deepen your faith. 

Fr. Looney is the pastor of the Catholic parishes in Brussels and Lincoln/Rosiere. He is also the author of “A Lenten Journey with Mother Mary” available from Sophia Institute Press.

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