The host of the most popular Catholic podcast of all time is coming to Phoenix on March 21. Tickets are now available for the public event that will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Phoenix.  

Fr. Mike Schmitz, whose Bible in a Year podcast has been downloaded more than 350 million times, will be in Phoenix to speak at a fundraiser for the John Paul II Center for Theology of the Body. The Witness to Hope Celebration and Fundraiser is an annual event that supports the work of the Diocese of Phoenix’s center devoted to the late pope’s enduring legacy regarding the human person. 

“Fr. Mike,” as he is known to his fans, spoke about the impact of Theology of the Body when he addressed listeners of The Bishop’s Hour, a Diocese of Phoenix podcast that also airs on AM 1310 on Saturday mornings. He said that in his experience, those who open their hearts and minds to the Theology of the Body are transformed by it. Listen to the full interview on The Bishop’s Hour here. 

“I think it has the capacity not only to heal a lot of the wounds that we experience in our culture, but also even pierce through the darkness and confusion,” Fr. Schmitz said.  

It’s not a matter of just doling out helpful advice, but “here’s how you can understand yourself. Here’s how you can understand both the great parts of you and the parts that are made for love and also the broken parts,” Fr. Schmitz said, who launched a second popular podcast, Catechism in a Year in January of 2023. 

In his role as director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, and chaplain at the Newman Center at the University of Duluth, Fr. Schmitz deals with thousands of young people and young couples. Theology of the Body is a gamechanger, he noted.  

“There are so many marriages that I’ve seen become completely transformed. I’ve seen families be healed. I’ve seen husbands and wives who have said, “we were headed for divorce. We were headed to the end.’” Theology of the Body made the crucial difference. 

So, what exactly is the secret sauce?  

“It’s a matter of ‘this is not just something that’s helpful for me to learn, but if I put this into practice, my marriage will never be the same and my family can actually be rescued,’” Fr. Schmitz said.  

Theology of the Body is based on the 129 catechetical addresses Pope St. John Paul II delivered from 1979 to 1984. Michael Villanueva, coordinator of the John Paul II Center for Theology of the Body for the Diocese of Phoenix, said the late pope’s teaching addresses concerns on the minds of many today.  

“In an age where there is so much confusion and darkness regarding identity, relationships, love, sexuality, and the body itself, Pope John Paul II has gifted us an enduring gift in the Theology of the Body,” Villanueva said. “Prophetic and providential in many ways, his masterwork, as it has been called, addresses these realities both with piercing clarity and in a captivating way that resonates with the deepest longings and questions of the human heart.” 

In his interview on The Bishop’s Hour, Fr. Schmitz pointed to a key element in the Theology of the Body: The Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, their eyes were opened, and they knew shame. And with that first sin, trust died in the human heart.  

“God doesn’t abandon us in our shame,” Fr. Schmitz said. “The rest of the story is God trying to win back our trust, trying to prove to us that He is not a dictator, but He is a dad. That He’s not a tyrant but a father and a good father.” 

Purchase tickets and learn more about Fr. Mike’s Phoenix event here.