Pair of podcasts keeps young adults connected to Church

Andrew Olson, Michael Atkins and Fr. Rob Clements, pose for a photo while preparing to host “Gold, Frankincense and Maroon,” a podcast recorded at the All Saints Newman Center at ASU. They chat about life and faith. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Local Catholic Podcasts

I Got Issues

Young adult podcast produced by the Diocese of Phoenix Communications Office and hosted by Danielle Burr.

Gold, Frankincense and Maroon

Podcast produced by the ASU All Saints Newman Center and hosted by Fr. Rob Clements.

The Catholic Goatee

A podcast for the college soul hosted by a veteran youth minister and ASU alum.


Other Catholic Podcasts

Catholic Bytes

Podcast produced and hosted by priests and seminarians from the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

Catholic Stuff
you should know

Podcast produced and hosted by priests in the Denver area, including Fr. Michael O’Loughlin, a priest of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix.

Catholic Military Life

Podcast produced by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, featuring recorded audio conversations with chaplains and others involved with pastoral care to those who serve in the U.S. Military.

If conversation is the root of both prayer and evangelization, then podcasting should help Catholics on both fronts.

At least, that’s what prompted a pair of podcasts aimed at young adults to premiere on digital airwaves. Both are based in the Diocese of Phoenix, but their reach has the potential to go anywhere.

Some 39 million Americans listen to a podcast each month, per a podcast guide from Convince & Convert Media. The firm’s “Social Pros” podcast won a 2015 Content Marketing Award for best podcast.

“We find we’re more connected than we’ve ever been but we’re so disconnected as well,” said Danielle Burr, host of “I Got Issues,” which is produced by the Diocese of Phoenix Communications Office and debuted April 19.

Podcasts have the power to keep people connected to the device of their choice while uniting them with real people and topics. That’s pretty much how the “Gold, Frankincense and Maroon” podcast was born during Advent.

Fr. Rob Clements, director of the All Saints Newman Center in Tempe and host of the “Catholics Matter” TV segment, saw it as a chance to “hang out” where he knew the college community gathered. As a priest who serves one of the largest public universities in the country — Arizona State — the idea of reaching countless more people in a personal way was rather appealing.

“More and more the Church is turning and encouraging greater use of technology, especially in trying to engage people,” said Fr. Clements, whose Newman Center app launched three years ago.

Among the most engaging shows so far: the “Don’t Preach at Me, Bro” episode with 207 downloads, the four-part “The Discerner’s Guide to the Galaxy” conversing with those in secular and religious vocations and the “More Haze, More Praise” episode.

“Nobody complained about incense that weekend [at Mass],” Fr. Clements said.

Others have covered homiletics and sacred art inside the Newman Center with others discussing apologetics with St. Paul’s Outreach. “Gold, Frankincense and Maroon” had 1,300 total downloads as of late March.

Each show is an unedited conversation about life, particularly faith life, with a connection to ASU. Co-hosts include Michael Atkins, executive director of development for the Newman Center, alongside Andrew Olson, the Newman Center’s liturgical coordinator.

“Being on a college campus, people go out and evangelize. But do they do it well?” Olson asked while sound-checking podcast equipment.

Recording downloadable audio is a way in through the back door, said Danielle Burr, the main host of “I Got Issues.” It allows listeners to join and leave the conversation at their discretion.

Danielle Burr, host of “I Got Issues,” a new podcast produced the by the Diocese of Phoenix Communications Office, wants to be real about any struggle the typical young adult faces, regardless of faith. She brings it back to Jesus. (courtesy)

She plans to reach listeners, regardless of their faith, and already has requests from such people to notify them when the episodes are posted online.

“I find that the issues are the same, but it’s bringing that back to how God can be a part of that,” she said. “This is how God comes into my mess.”

“People are sick of dogma. If they can see a real, authentic, transformed life, then they see something different,” Burr said.

Or, in this case, hear from someone who is authentic. “I Got Issues” will feature recurring guest co-hosts with Burr, a coordinator of youth ministry at St. Francis Xavier and a licensed marriage and family therapist, as the mainstay. She’s not particularly fond of how her voice sounds over the digital airwaves, but knows the content is exactly what she wished she heard people talking about.

The first two shows discussed social media and dating. Others will talk about Internet addiction, pornography or how the faith relates to current events. Listeners will hear stories of people and even a quote from a saint or a non-Catholic so long as it doesn’t contradict the truth.

Each podcast is like a normal conversation, Burr said, one that could just as easily occur in a coffee shop — except there happens to be recording equipment in front of them.

“It’s really free when we go into the recording studio. We know what we’re going to be talking about, but it’s not scripted,” Burr said.

And since it’s podcasting, not broadcasting, there’s no time constraints to monitor. However long it runs, Burr hopes listeners find the podcast a source of conversation, inspiration and great hope.

I Got Issues” is suitable for high school teenagers and older with young adults ages 20 to 35 in all states of life relating to it best.