Faith, frankly spoken: Archdiocese unveils first-ever evangelization podcast (AUDIO)

Fr. Stephen Pullis, left, director of Evangelization, Catechesis and Schools for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and Danielle Center, a lay Catholic and staff member at Ste. Anne de Detroit Parish, laugh and chat with guests during a recording of the archdiocese's new podcast, "Open Door Policy." (Archdiocese of Detroit screen capture)

Fr. Pullis, Danielle Center host 'Open Door Policy,' a casual conversation about God, life and evangelization


DETROIT — It’s evangelization for your earbuds. 

Or loudspeakers — if your neighbors appreciate faith-filled podcasts.

On Nov. 20, the Archdiocese of Detroit debuted its first-ever self-produced podcast, a new casual-Catholic-conversation style audio show called "Open Door Policy." The show, hosted by Fr. Stephen Pullis, the Archdiocese of Detroit's director of Evangelization, Catechesis and Schools; and Ste. Anne de Detroit Parish staff member Danielle Center, will focus on evangelization and feature conversations between the pair and a local guest, chatting about faith, culture and everything in between. 

“I think in order to be a millennial, a bona fide millennial, you have to start a podcast; it’s a written rule,” Fr. Pullis joked. 

Fr. Pullis said the informal style of podcasting can be a great “low-level entryway to be part of a conversation about a topic you are interested in.”

Fr. Pullis and Center worked together to come up with a diverse list of guests, topics and shows for the podcast, which is recorded in a new state-of-the-art studio at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. 

The pair recorded six episodes, interviewing a pastor, a seminarian, a stay-at-home mom, a music minister, a volunteer with Alpha for Catholics, and people who have gone on pilgrimages around the world.

“We wanted to highlight that there is no one way to follow Jesus,” Center said. “We’re called to follow in as many ways as there are people called to be disciples. Someone traveling the world, spreading the message of Jesus is just as important as the mom raising six children at home. Those are all important things for the Church.”

The different faith backgrounds featured on “Open Door Policy” give listeners practical, real-world examples about what it means to be a disciple, Fr. Pullis said.

“If we’re going to be committed to become a band of joyful, missionary disciples, as Unleash the Gospel calls us to do, we have to think about what that means, and that’s a really messy process,” Fr. Pullis said. “We’re not going to get that perfectly right. There is no foolproof training manual for how to do that.”

The only true blueprint, Fr. Pullis added, is to trust the Holy Spirit. 

The podcast's title, “Open Door Policy,” is inspired by many things, Center said, including the open nature of the topics and the crest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, which features an open door, a reference to Detroit's Blessed Solanus Casey. 

Though the title was coined by Center, it wasn't her first suggestion. 

“I made a title about vulnerability, but Fr. Steve didn’t like it – he worried no guys would listen to it if it had 'vulnerability' in the title,” Center said. “But I think vulnerability is crucial in ministry and life in general; vulnerability is the currency of intimacy. And when we’re talking about the Holy Spirit and where Jesus is in our lives, we have to be honest.”

Center is quick to note “Open Door Policy” is not all in the deep end; she and Fr. Pullis keep the mood jovial in order to create frank and honest conversations that any disciple of Jesus can find relatable.

“This will be a place where people can listen about topics that are really important for ministry,” Center said. “We’re talking with people about the success they’ve seen, testifying to how God works in our lives.”

The first episode of “Open Door Policy” debuts Nov. 20 with guest Deacon John McKenzie, a transitional deacon studying for the priesthood at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, with more episodes to follow.

“Part of all of this, all of evangelization, is having a conversation,” Fr. Pullis said. “We’re striving, imperfectly, Danielle and I, to be disciples of Jesus. I’m confident, through our asking questions, thinking about the mistakes and successes we’ve had, that we can show how to follow Christ more closely and try to do what the Holy Spirit is asking us to do.”

Open Door Policy

Listen to the Archdiocese of Detroit's newest podcast, "Open Door Policy," on iTunes, Google Play or Spotify.