Sewing Hope Into Broken Hearts
March 17, 2014

A Conversation with Michael Stark

Last week, I had the privilege of interviewing Michael Stark, the Executive Producer of The Truth and Life Audio Bible and App. The audio bible is a dramatized reading, complete with an original soundtrack and sound effects of the Catholic Edition of the NRSV Bible. It is brought to life by critically acclaimed Hollywood actors like Neal McDonough (Jesus), Sean Astin, Kristen Bell, Stacy Keach, Julia Ormond, Malcolm McDowell, Blair Underwood, Michael York, Brian Cox, John Rhys-Davies, and many more. It has a Vatican Imprimatur and is endorsed with a foreword by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The smartphone and tablet app which is available on all major carriers has additional components like direct access to Word on Fire, Word Made Clear, the Archdioceses of Chicago, Catholic News Agency, and daily readings for the Mass.

First and foremost, let me say that in my opinion, as a 28-year-old tech geek who consumes a lot of Catholic media, this is the best Catholic Audio Bible and App on the market. As a professional audio editor myself, the production quality is second to none. Believe me, this is not your grandmother’s reading of an audio bible – it has an incredible soundtrack and great audio effects. If you are still searching for a way to deepen your faith in this Lent, this app will help you do it with its simple, direct interface and lots of great content.

In our conversation, Michael Stark and I discussed how this Bible project was created and developed. We also spoke about many of the features in detail. If you would like to listen to the full interview click here. Below are some of the highlights:

Bill: How did this project get started?
Michael: Well it started back in 1995 when I was playing in a men’s baseball league and I met this guy, who is now my best friend and the producer of this project, Carl Amari, and he was an old-time radio guy. He was driving a really nice car and we started talking about what we did; I was in advertising, and he was at a company called Radio Spirits where he remastered all the old-time radio shows and was also doing a couple of independent films. He ended up making a film with a guy by the name of Jim Caviezel, called Madison (2005). It was a family film, made before Jim played Jesus [in Passion of the Christ]. Carl and Jim became good friends and Jim invited Carl to Rome when they were filming the Passion. While they were over there they were talking about Carl’s ability to make great audio productions and they start talking about making an Audio Bible.

Bill: This is an interesting tool. In what formats can people get this? (paraphrase)

Michael: It started with CDs and has grown into a wonderful app with a lot of interesting features. But first, it was CD’s and people were talking about how great it was to listen to the bible and of course, I went out and started telling all the people who were visually impaired, and there are a lot of blind Catholics out there; and not just blind Catholics, but people who maybe aren’t ready to pick up the book but hear it.

Bill: There are lots of features on the app version of this product. Can you highlight some of the features that make this so different from the other Bible Apps? (paraphrase)

Michael: As far as the App itself, the people that put this together for us, FutureSoft, are full-blown partners with us. They are very, very interested in propagating the faith and “shaking up the Catholic Church”, as they said. They came to us and said we can make an app for you that can do all kinds of things and things you can’t even imagine yet. We are trying to make this accessible [to everyone] electronically first of all. Now you want to talk about the features it has. It has a search tool. You tap on the search tool and you type in a word or name and you will get a concordance of every passage starting with Genesis and ending with Revelation where that word or name appears.

Getting into the other content we have, I am good friends with Fr. [Robert] Barron. That was a must to link them; Word on Fire is the number one Catholic website going right now. He’s just got so much wonderful content out there, he’s got the Catholicism, right now he has the Lenten reflection every day, it takes less than a minute. It is little things like that that add to the wholeness of what we are trying to create here, which is a Catholic toolbox.

We have Word Made Clear, which is Fr. Jim McIlhone, who is the director of Biblical formation for the Archdioceses of Chicago. He also taught in seminary for 23 years and knows the Bible backward and forwards so he’s put together this website called and basically, he dissects who these [Gospel writers are]. He also created Biblical origins of the Mass which I think is fantastic.

Simply put, this app is loaded with features and content that make it relevant and easy to use. It is authentically Catholic and extremely educational. So again, if you are looking for another tool for your Catholic toolbox this Lent, check out the Truth and Life Bible at