I’m excited to share with you a new project that WPI has been working on, the Apostles’ Field Guide podcast. We started our first podcast, Peter’s Field Hospital, back in March and Mike Lewis has had some great conversations with the WPI contributors as well as notable guests like Austen Ivereigh, Christopher Lamb, and Dr. Phyllis Zagano. Don’t worry—Peter’s Field Hospital isn’t going anywhere and Mike will keep publishing awesome content every week. But I’m excited to offer a different resource for WPI followers.
I love reading the Catechism and I study papal encyclicals for fun (which is a useful hobby when your day job is a parish catechist). I believe the Holy Spirit speaks to all the faithful through the pope and the bishops, and that the Spirit’s words can transform our hearts so that we can be agents of mercy in the world. However, these documents can be intimidating and difficult to understand. I wanted to create a resource that breaks down those barriers. A couple of months ago, I spoke with my good friend and ministry partner, Monica Pope, about making a podcast together where we explore Church documents, and she was all-in.
When I pitched this idea to Mike he said, “Great. Just don’t make it boring.” I mean, on the surface, getting people excited about documents with titles like Gaudete et Exsultate and Sacrosanctum Concilium sounds daunting. But making Church teaching not only interesting, but compelling and life-changing, is what Monica and I do for a living. We both believe that the Church’s teaching takes on new life in someone’s heart when it is presented in the context of the Kerygma, the first proclamation of God’s love that Pope Francis says, “We must hear again and again in different ways … nothing is more solid, profound, secure, meaningful and wisdom-filled than that initial proclamation” (Evangelii Gaudium 164-165). Catholic teaching is also more fruitful when it is relevant to our real-life experiences of God and the world around us. If presented in this way, even documents with impossible-to-pronounce Latin titles can be healing and transformative, and anything but boring.
Today we released our short introduction episode (which you can listen to below or wherever you listen to podcasts). Going forward, our plan is to release new episodes on Mondays. As we work through a document, we will post a new episode every week. We may take a few weeks off in between documents (this is a side project, after all), while we read and prepare our discussion of the next title. Originally, our plan was to begin with Laudato Si’ (Pope Francis’s encyclical about social justice and caring for the environment), since the pope has encouraged all the faithful to read it this year. With the recent killing of George Floyd and the rise in racial tension in the United States, we decided to begin with the U.S. bishops’ 2018 pastoral letter on racism, Open Wide Our Hearts. In our first episode, we discuss the Introduction and the “Do Justice” sections of the letter. We have organized the podcast so you can either read the section we’re discussing beforehand or just listen along.
I hope you will listen and subscribe to the Apostles’ Field Guide, and we hope you’ll enjoy exploring the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church so that, through them, the Holy Spirit can make you an agent of mercy in our world.
Paul Fahey is a husband, father of four, parish director of religious education, and co-founder of Where Peter Is. He can be found at his website, Rejoice and be Glad: Catholicism in the Pope Francis Generation.