The Catechism in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz)

A day-by-day walk through the transformative beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church.

About the show

In Ascension’s The Catechism in a Year podcast, Fr. Mike Schmitz guides you through the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church in 365 episodes, providing explanation, insight, and encouragement along the way.

Unlike any other Catechism podcast, The Catechism in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) podcast follows a reading plan inspired by Ascension’s Foundations of Faith approach, a color-coded approach that reveals the structure of the Catechism, making it easier to read and understand. With this podcast, you’ll finally understand what it means to be Catholic and how the beliefs of the Catholic Faith come together.

Listen and…

  1. Read the ENTIRE Catechism of the Catholic Church in 365 days
  2. Understand the essentials of the Catholic Faith and why they matter
  3. Understand how Church teaching is rooted in Sacred Scripture
  4. Absorb over 2,000 years of Sacred Tradition
  5. Encounter God’s plan of sheer goodness for your life

Each 15-20 minute episode includes:

  • A guided prayer to help you enter into each episode
  • A reading from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • An explanation from Fr. Mike Schmitz about the reading

The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains adult themes that may not be suitable for children - parental discretion is advised.


  • Day 217: The Effects of Holy Orders

    August 5th, 2023  |  18 mins 27 secs
    effects, grace of strength, holy orders, indelible spiritual character, indelible spiritual mark, sacraments

    Together, with Fr. Mike, we examine the effects of the sacrament of Holy Orders. Fr. Mike emphasizes that once a man is ordained a priest, he is always a priest because he receives an indelible spiritual mark. He also emphasizes that Holy Orders is a sacrament of service. The effects of the sacrament configure him in such a way that he is best able to serve the Church. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1581-1589.

  • Day 216: Who Receives Holy Orders

    August 4th, 2023  |  24 mins 49 secs
    bishop, celibacy, deacon, holy orders, men, priest, sacraments, vocations

    We continue our examination of the sacrament of Holy Orders. Specifically, we explore exactly who can receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Fr. Mike emphasizes that only a baptized man can receive the “sacred ordination”. He then unpacks exactly why the ordination of women is not possible. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1577-1580.

  • Day 215: Deacons and the Diaconate

    August 3rd, 2023  |  13 mins 31 secs
    bishop, deacons, diaconate, holy orders, ordination, permanent diaconate

    Together, with Fr. Mike, we examine the ordination of deacons and the diaconate. Fr. Mike unpacks each of the essential elements of the rite of the ordination of deacons as well as each of the tasks of the deacon. He emphasizes that only a validly ordained bishop can validly confer the sacrament of Holy Orders. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1569-1576.

  • Day 214: Priests and the Presbyterate

    August 2nd, 2023  |  18 mins 45 secs
    co-workers, episcopal college, eucharistic assembly, eucharistic cult, holy orders, ordination, presbyterate, presbyterium, priest, priesthood, rite of ordination, sacerdotal, sacerdotal college, sacrament, sacrament of order, sacramental brotherhood, synaxis, the gospel

    The Catechism moves on from bishops—the episcopacy—to priests in the presbyterate, who share in the bishop’s ministry “in a subordinate degree”, to be “co-workers”. Fr. Mike dives deep into the service-leadership that priests are called to. “[A priest’s] whole life must be configured and must be conformed to Jesus Christ the high priest.” Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1562-1568.

  • Day 213: Bishops and the Episcopacy

    August 1st, 2023  |  16 mins 37 secs
    acme, bishop, bishop of rome, college, collegial, consecration, deacon, diaconate, episcopacy, episcopal, hierarchical communion, high priesthood, holy orders, in eius persona agant, minister, ministry, ordination, presbyterate, priest, sacerdos, sacrament, summa, three degrees

    There are three degrees within the sacrament of Holy Orders: the episcopacy (bishops), the presbyterate (priests), and the diaconate (deacons). The Catechism begins unpacking ordination with the bishops. Fr. Mike speaks on the special role that bishops play in the life of the Church. Today’s readings are from Catechism paragraphs 1554-1561.

  • Day 212: In Persona Christi

    July 31st, 2023  |  20 mins 3 secs
    baptismal priesthood, bishop, boys adrift, caput et membra, common priesthood, hierarchical priesthood, high priest, holy orders, in persona christi capitis, king, mediator, minister, ministerial priesthood, ordained minister, priest, priesthood, priestly, prophet, sacrament, sacred power, two participations in the one priesthood of christ, typos you patros

    The Catechism unpacks—by way of comparison—the “two participations in the one priesthood of Christ”: the common priesthood of all the faithful and the ministerial (or hierarchical) priesthood of the bishops and priests. Fr. Mike hones in on the ministerial priesthood as a means for Jesus to minister to his Church. His ministers act on his behalf in persona Christi Capitis: in the person of Christ, the Head. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1546-1553.

  • Day 211: The One Priesthood of Christ

    July 30th, 2023  |  17 mins 8 secs
    bishops, chosen people, consecration, consecratory, deacons, economy of salvation, levi, levites, mediator, melchizedek, ministers, ministry, new covenant, new testament, old covenant, old testament, ordination, prefigure, prefigured, prefigurement, priesthood, priesthood of aaron, priesthood of christ, priests, sacrament of holy orders, true priest, type, typology

    The priesthood of the Old Covenant among the people of Israel is fulfilled in the one priesthood of Christ. The Catechism compares the Old Testament priesthood, “powerless to bring about salvation,” with the ordained ministry in the New Covenant. Fr. Mike unpacks the reality that there is only one true priest—Jesus Christ. His “priests” on earth are humble ministers. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1539-1545.

  • Day 210: The Sacrament of Holy Orders

    July 29th, 2023  |  17 mins 23 secs
    apostles, apostolic ministry, article 6, chapter 3, consecrated, consecratio, consecration, diaconate, episcopate, holy orders, laying on of hands, marriage, matrimony, ordinatio, ordination, ordo, presbyterate, sacra potestas, sacraments at the service of communion, sacraments of holy orders, sacred power

    The Catechism enters Chapter Three on the “Sacraments at the Service of Communion” which include both Holy Orders and Matrimony. As it introduces the sacrament of Holy Orders, Fr. Mike reminds us that every vocation is a gift, and that—no matter what state of life we are in or have been called to—we should read this chapter with an open heart and a grateful spirit. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1533-1538.

  • Day 209: Summary of the Anointing of the Sick

    July 28th, 2023  |  13 mins 8 secs
    death, forgiveness, healing, heaven, hope, sickness, strength

    This summary of the Catechism’s teaching about the Anointing of the Sick is concise and rich. This holy anointing brings us hope and courage as we endure illness and the difficulties of old age. While we pray for healing of body and soul, this sacrament also prepares us for death. Fr. Mike ends this episode by explaining three practices of the Church that help her members prepare for death. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1526-1532.

  • Day 208: Completing the Earthly Pilgrimage

    July 27th, 2023  |  16 mins 36 secs
    death, healing, heaven, life, pilgrimage, resurrection, sickness

    The effects of the Anointing of the Sick are numerous and deeply transformative. In times of great need and temptation, this sacrament brings us strength, courage, peace, and the forgiveness of sins. Fr. Mike explains that these effects aren’t only for the individual recipient but for the whole ecclesial community. We learn that when a person approaches the threshold of death, joining this anointing with Reconciliation and the Eucharist as viaticum constitute “the sacraments that complete the earthly pilgrimage.” Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1520-1525.

  • Day 207: Celebrating the Anointing of the Sick

    July 26th, 2023  |  11 mins 8 secs
    anointing, death, eucharist, healing, illness, sacrament, sickness

    The Anointing of the Sick is not just for those on the verge of death but for any faithful suffering from a grave illness. Fr. Mike explains that because of this, we don’t have to put this sacrament off to the very end; instead, we can enjoy the graces it confers as often as is fitting throughout a lifetime. This section also discusses how we can celebrate the Anointing of the Sick. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1514-1519.

  • Day 206: Healing the Sick

    July 25th, 2023  |  18 mins 31 secs
    anointing, healing, hope, physician, redemption, sacrament, sickness

    By taking up our cross and following Christ, we gain a new way of seeing sickness and frailty. Along with this newness of vision, the Church is given the command from her founder to heal the sick. Since its beginning, the Church has anointed the sick among us, praying for their healing and salvation. Amid their sufferings, the suffering can endure, uniting themselves to Christ’s own afflictions for the sake of the Church. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1506-1513.

  • Day 205: Christ the Physician

    July 24th, 2023  |  21 mins 46 secs
    comfort, compassion, healing, illness, physician, redemption, sickness, suffering

    Sickness and suffering bring us face-to-face with our fragility and limitations. While they might cause some to lose hope and become bitter, we can also endure them in such a way as to grow in maturity and trust in God. Jesus not only heals the sick in the Gospels but also plunges into suffering’s depths. In this redemptive work, we know Jesus as the physician of soul and body. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1499-1505.

  • Day 204: Summary of Sacrament of Reconciliation

    July 23rd, 2023  |  12 mins 57 secs
    confessing sins, forgiveness of sin, healing, mercy, penance, reconciliation, sacrament of confession

    In today’s nugget day, Fr. Mike reviews the major themes of the sacrament of Reconciliation. Fr. Mike emphasizes the six spiritual effects of this sacrament and reminds us of the great gift of Confession because, as the Catechism states, “to the eyes of faith, no evil is graver than sin.” We conclude today’s article with humble gratitude for God’s unfathomable mercy. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1485-1498.

  • Day 203: The Purpose of Indulgences

    July 22nd, 2023  |  23 mins 31 secs
    celebration of confession, communion of saints, confession, forgiveness of sins, general absolution, indulgences, partial indulgence, plenary indulgence, reconciliation

    Fr. Mike expands on the purpose of indulgences and clarifies why the Church has the authority to provide indulgences. We also learn about the role of the Communion of Saints in our strive for holiness and the different liturgical forms and elements of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1474-1484.

  • Day 202: How Confession Heals

    July 21st, 2023  |  24 mins 36 secs
    confession, double consequences of sin, eternal consequence, eternal punishment, forgiveness of sins, healing, indulgences, reconciliation, restoration, temporal consequence, temporal punishment

    What happens to us when we go to Confession? Fr. Mike explains the powerful ways the Sacrament of Reconciliation spiritually restores and perfects us. We also learn about the eternal and temporal consequences of sin, and finally, Fr. Mike discusses the four aspects to an indulgence and how these aspects require our cooperation with God's grace. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1468-1473.