The Poco a Poco Podcast with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

By Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

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Reviews: 4

 Dec 2, 2020

Catherine Rauk
 Nov 17, 2020
Thank you for preaching the truth, your vulnerability and humour!

Angie M
 Sep 30, 2020
wonderful companions for the journey

 Sep 17, 2020


Join Fr. Innocent, Fr. Angelus and Fr. Mark-Mary, priests of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, each week to discuss authentic faith in today's world as they share stories and wisdom from years of prayer, community life, and work with the poor. It all comes back to this: finding deep friendship with Jesus. Seeing him work in our lives everyday. Through topics as varied as mental health, the confessional, and NYC neighbors, the Poco A Poco Podcast is here to accompany all pilgrims as they walk step by step, little by little, poco a poco on their pilgrimage to the Father's house. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are a Catholic religious order founded in the South Bronx, NY. Learn more or subscribe to their updates at

Episode Date
The Rich Young Man Who Didn't Turn Away

St Francis is the rich young man who didn’t turn away sad. God invited St Francis, and his response was even more than his heart burning for the Lord — he was consumed. There was no going back. 


He became more like Jesus, but without being less like Francis. He became more like Francis; not losing himself in God, but finding himself in God. The unique man that he is in the eyes of the Father, not just repeating the works of other saints.


Our hearts have such a capacity that we want more and more… which means that at some point, you leave behind some lesser goods. You develop a taste for a love that’s greater, and that’s a good thing. Francis didn’t settle for anything less — and neither should you.


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Apr 14, 2021
God Is Looking for You. Let Yourself Be Found.

We have a God who’s always on the move, always pursuing. In our busyness, we’re distracted — we miss things. We miss people. But God is constantly seeking, constantly encountering what is broken and seeing the wholeness.


Christianity is different: it’s about God becoming Man and coming to us.


He’s looking for you. Let yourself be found.


For the next few episodes, we’re focusing on Habits for Holiness, a new book written by our own Fr Mark-Mary. You can find it at


We now have video! Watch this full episode on,,


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Apr 07, 2021
On Chastity: The Wounded Heart of Jesus (Lent Part Seven)

Jesus has a wounded human heart; he allowed himself to be fully wounded this way. If it had only been his hands or feet, he would’ve survived.


How do we allow ourselves to be wounded for him? My sacrifices thus far are survivable. I could still be intact on my own. He gave us everything; we can’t turn back.


Evangelical chastity is the full, total gift of your heart, which is set on fire with love for God and for one another.


Jesus teaches us a new way to love on the cross — one that lines up with our desires. We want to love differently, but we’re tempted to settle. There’s a real fear in getting our hopes up. 


The Father wants you to get your hopes up.


Set your hopes high for intimacy — for the union and the love that is possible.


If you can, donations to support the Poco a Poco podcast now gratefully accepted at

Mar 31, 2021
On Obedience: The Wounded Feet of Christ (Lent Part Six)

Obedience isn’t something being snatched from you; it’s about willingly offering the gift of your freedom. It comes from great humility, a bold statement that “I’m not in charge of my life. I’m not God.” It’s recognizing that we don’t have all the answers, and God really knows what is best for us.


So wherever Jesus is, wherever he’s leading you: go there. Stay there. Choose to go there... don't get dragged! Don’t back off, don’t fill it with other things. Stay focused on him on the cross.


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Mar 24, 2021
On Poverty: The Wounded Hands of Jesus (Lent Part Five)

The last few weeks, we’ve been in the wilderness for Lent… but you can only stay in the desert so long. And when the Lord came out of the desert, he was very focused on his mission, with one moment in mind: going to the cross, and ultimately giving his life. 


As we move towards Holy Week and the Triduum: stay focused. Look at Jesus on the cross.


For three episodes, we’re going to ponder the wounds of Christ and relate them to the three evangelical counsels: poverty, obedience and chastity.


(People might think these are just for consecrated religious. And yes, we take vows. But the Catechism, St JPII, St Bonaventure—and more—all propose that these are for every disciple to grow in imitation of Jesus.)


Today’s episode is all about poverty… but we don’t talk about possessions. Look at Christ’s wounded hands, nailed to the cross; they’re a manifestation of Jesus’ own poverty. He can’t grasp at anything, but can only receive anything from the Father. His hands and wide open arms are all receptivity.


At the culmination of his life, he has given everything; let go of everything, for the sake of love. Absolute and total surrender.


What about when we grasp? Try to control things? Think we know what will fulfill us, or others? This week, examine where you might be grasping—not receiving—the good gifts that the Lord is offering.


Want to share in the work of this podcast a little? Donations gratefully accepted at

Mar 17, 2021
The Only Rule Is: We Don't Stop. (Lent Part Four)

Sometimes, in the heart of the wilderness, your step that was a strong march slows down. Then turns into a limp after rolling an ankle, and finally ends up looking more like a crawl by the end of the day.


And that’s fine. Because the only rule is we don’t stop


When there’s a choice between struggling and stopping, we always want to err on the side of going for it. 


That means that at the beginning of each day, the ones who “win”, spiritually, aren’t necessarily the most gifted, the most talented, the capable. It’s not the ones who look most promising on paper.


The most faithful are the ones who persevere. So just keep going. Be faithful.


Fr Mark-Mary's new book, Habits for Holiness, available now from Ascension Press. Check it out here:

Mar 10, 2021
There Are No Comforts in the Desert—Except Relationship (Lent Part Three)

After trying to go it alone day in, day out, you start to realize you can’t do it alone. That’s miserable. In the desert, you’re radically dependent: on the Lord, and on people who surround you.


Relationships are not accessory. They’re essential.


This breakthrough happens humanly and spiritually. All the physical sufferings start to purify you and you can experience what’s most important. It’s in our weakness that the only comfort, relationship, comes alive.


Once you lean into that, you can find joy in struggle because you’re in it together. It’s when all the distractions are taken away that you can focus on the gift of relationship. 


But being left with nothing except relationship can be a scary moment. You can put off that moment for a long time. You can run from it.

So… don’t. Instead, embrace the built-in grace of Lent: to not have another option. To willingly remove all the other comforts in life and to see relationship for what it is: a consolation. Let this consolation be consoling.

Mar 03, 2021
Safety Is an Idol (Lent Part Two)

The desert isn’t about struggling for the sake of struggle. There’s a wrong kind of struggle; one that’s self-reliant, self-focused, worldly. It’s difficult for the Lord to do anything for us there.


In the desert, the reality of the wilderness slams against pride and ego. Against “I know what’s best” and “I’m strong.” You get to the desert and it punches you in the face because everything’s so heightened. You figure out real quick how self-focused you are.


And that wake-up call is good, because we all have a temptation to turn in to ourselves. To fix ourselves. To fix the people around us. To control. We’re so stuck in ourselves. Getting after this temptation? Now that’s the right struggle.


Don’t get dragged through the desert, kicking and screaming and resisting the whole time. Use your will to choose the desert, whatever that desert looks like for you. It doesn’t matter whether you see what God is doing in the suffering or know where He’s leading you. You don’t have to like it or even understand it. You only have to pray, “Lord, I trust you and I receive this.”


Because that safety you’re trying to force with all your self-reliance? That safety is an idol. Let go. God’s got you.

Feb 24, 2021
Into the Wilderness—To Pray; To Rely; To Die. (Lent Part One)

We’re kind of tired of mediocre Lents. You?


This Lent, we’re going for it: into the wilderness. Accepting God's invitation into the desert, with all its dangers and hazards and risks.


Why does a loving Father, through a loving Church, invite us into a wild unknown?


Because it’s not unknown… to him. He’s the one who initiates the invite every time.


Jesus’ journey into the desert began immediately after his baptism—after receiving his anointing and identity from the Father. He goes into the desert for us; truly, he doesn’t need reminders of who he is. But he goes, and he’s tempted. He struggles. He’s hungry. And it’s in this experience—as he responds to temptations with the truth of who he is and who the Father is—that Jesus receives his identity in a deeper way.


We can have that desert experience, too. In the wilderness, the Father creates a sacred place to more deeply give each person his or her identity; for him or her to receive it over and over again. 


This journey often means leaving what’s comfortable and not being afraid to suffer. After all, the desert can be dangerous… if you go alone. If you’re standing at the edge of the desert, feeling a nudge to go for it: beg for the courage to go. God is waiting for you there.


Want to see some beautiful photos from the wilderness? Check out

Feb 17, 2021
Consistency is Key... But It's Not Flashy

If you want to be healthy, happy and holy—and truly, these things are possible!—you have to live intentionally. It’s not going to happen by accident.


The small things are the foundation for that kind of life; getting out of bed on time, showing up to that planned workout, cooking the healthy groceries sitting in the fridge instead of firing up that food delivery app (again).


Because things fall in order when you’re living in order.

This consistency is often hidden… boring, even. It’s often anything but flashy. But there’s grace in these small, simple, hidden acts—they build our hearts and allow us to sacrifice ourselves.

Feb 10, 2021
The Confidence That Comes From Choosing Hard Things for Jesus

What’s one thing you can do that will move you towards being holier, healthier and happier? Seriously… take a second. Bet something came to mind. Right?


Sometimes we overcomplicate the plan. When there’s a lot to change, or the change is going to be rough, it’s tempting to bail on starting. It’s easy to avoid doing the hard things, even the little hard things. Maybe especially the little things—but that’s how holiness happens. Choosing to do the small hard thing, for Jesus, over and over and over again.


You got this! With God’s grace, you can totally do hard things. That realization—that we're capable of persevering—gives us the confidence that we have what it takes to gladly do what needs to be done.

So stay simple. Keep the main thing the main thing. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” All of all three. Because keeping Christ firmly in the center of your life—the focus of all your energy and the motivation for all your choices—is the only sustainable way to live radically for him for a whole lifetime.

Feb 03, 2021
Boring and Comfy Are Enemies of Holiness

This week, we welcome a special guest for the first in a three-episode series: Jackie Mulligan of Reform Wellness.


“It’s ok to not be ok… and it’s also ok to want to be ok.”


God loves and accepts us as we are, in all the messiness of our weakness. And his love also draws us to renewal; to real change that leads to real holiness, happiness, and a life that’s abundant.


Life-changing renewal is possible and it’s what God wants for us. But it doesn’t happen by accident.


It takes intention. It takes risk. It takes very honestly asking yourself, But, really… how am I doing? If the answer demands an overhaul of your life, there will be temptation to put it off—don’t give in! Fight through that resistance. This is God’s initiative.


Because if you don’t, well, as a very honest friend of Fr Angelus’ once told him, “If they wrote a book about your life, this would be a really boring chapter.”


And a life that’s a little too safe and comfy and boring is an enemy of holiness. So let God change it. Let him change you.

Jan 27, 2021
There's a Divine Efficiency to Interior Poverty

We welcome a pretty special guest this week... Br Kolbe, of "He likes cars" renown!


Let's get right to it: interior poverty. Facing our own brokenness, weakness, failings. Not the first place we want to go, right? But here’s the thing… there’s no way around it. The “secret” way to following Jesus is coming to terms with our poverty—with him, as he gives us the grace to be able to see it and not be overwhelmed by it. Getting to that place of emptiness allows him to fill us with peace and trust.


There’s a divine efficiency to poverty. The Lord can work more directly when we are depending solely on his grace and not on any false securities that get in his way.


It’s the only way. And that might not sound like good news, but that’s because we have worldly ears. Hear it this way: this only way is hard, but it’s with Jesus, he who brings sweetness to difficulty.


So go there. Don’t avoid your spiritual poverty—Jesus meets you there.

Jan 20, 2021
Build the Kind of Fraternity that Replaces Rejection with Rejoicing

If you live community life well, if you live family life well, people are going to see your sins and weakness and failures. That can be a hard place. But if you can stay there, and people can stay there with you: that’s the good stuff. That’s the place of abundant fruit.


Real fraternity—the love of brothers and sisters—is powerful.


There can be a real infection in our hearts today that comes from experiences of rejection. We need spaces where we can rejoice in one another despite our weaknesses: moments of welcome and mercy that redeem our life experiences. 


This has to start somewhere. Where does this happen? In intentional relationships where we decide to have mercy on each other. 


People who keep choosing community, keep choosing to be patient with each other and have mercy on each other. To keep saying, “yeah, it’s hard, but I’m here and I’m not going to leave you.”

Jan 13, 2021
Being Fully Alive Doesn't Come from Prayer That's Lifeless

“There are so many voices telling me I’m not good enough, not worthy of that love. And lots of voices saying that this kind of freedom doesn’t matter or isn’t possible. That I can’t experience true forgiveness or true healing or true conversion. That’s where the battle is fought.”


We hear a lot of voices. And the gift of prayer is a space where we can hear the one voice that matters. Blessed are those who root out the distractions in their lives, for they will know God.


As baptized Christians, we are made for prayer. Everyone is called to open up Scripture, encounter Jesus, and live the Gospel.


We want to follow Jesus—and the way to follow Jesus is prayer. Our lives only make sense in the context of relationship with Him. And it’s only when we get rid of anything that is blocking or distracting or interfering with this relationship that our interior life can be what it’s supposed to be; an interior life that gives life new meaning.


This could be your breakthrough in discernment, too. It will transform discernment from a calculation to a chance to give yourself away in love.


To embrace sacrifice and boldly say to the Father, “Lord, I give you permission to take what I’m not strong enough to give.”


Mentioned in this episode...

The Godsplaining Podcast

A Work of God by Vianney Vocations, now available for pre-order. 

Jan 06, 2021
The Authentic Renewal You Crave is Possible

Even when we’re actively trying to trust God in all things, there’s a constant temptation to take back control. To just do it ourselves. To bail out of surrendering to Him, and keep things from Him to try and “make sure they get done.” We forget, over and over, that God takes initiative, does things, takes care of us. We overlook the ways He’s doing that right now.


What’s opposite that temptation? God’s constant invitation to let go, to trust, to forget about ourselves, to get over ourselves. To find that balance of letting God do everything while our fiat also provokes us to action.


If you want to live differently;
if you crave renewal, restoration, conversion in your life;
it’s possible. It’s real!
Most of all: it’s a work of God. 

This episode kicks off a new series moving through a collection of images and essays of the CFR community called A Work of God by Vianney Vocations, now available for pre-order.

Dec 30, 2020
Returning to Your First Love Isn't About Balance

Sometimes we need to stop and take a real look at what’s going on in our hearts and our lives. What has power in my life? Who has influence over me? And if God isn’t the first authority—by a mile—then it’s time to reorder. It’s time to get back to relationship with Him above everything else.


Because Jesus isn’t meant to be one priority among many. We can’t balance our pursuit of Him with other things, even good things. The only way to living intensely with the Lord—the only way to become a saint—is to accept sacrifice. It’ll cost you something, perhaps even a good thing that you’d really rather not give up. But it’s worth it. 


Living this way, with Christ, protects us from being tossed around in whatever storms are raging. (And it’s been a stormy year.) With Christ, the world and its storms no longer dictate our mood or determine whether we feel unsettled or unsafe. God alone is in control of our peace.

So if you’re sensing distractions or attachments or clutter in your life that are keeping you from God; if you’re holding on to one thing that’s actually holding you back from Him; if you’ve been thinking about letting go of something that’s keeping you from being all in with God… now’s the time. Drop it and return to God. Return to your first love.

Dec 23, 2020
Jesus Wants to Wipe Away Your Tears—Even Today (Advent 2020 Part Four)

Isaiah 25: “The Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.”

We face suffering in this world; trials and hardships and pain that can leave us feeling so alone.

In Advent we wait to celebrate Jesus coming to us in the Incarnation, and for him to come at the end of time, when he will definitively wipe away all tears.

But he also comes to us today. Wherever we are, whatever we're feeling; he gently comes near to us and wipes away our tears. When we cry out to God, he hears us. He sees our suffering. He does not pass by or overlook us. Whether we’re publicly begging for him or privately weeping to him, each day can be a mini Advent in our hearts, welcoming the Savior who comes to us.

Our hope is sure. The Lord comes to comfort us, and we can experience that breakthrough in prayer, even today.

Dec 16, 2020
Time to joyfully expect big things of God (Advent 2020 Part Three)

Let’s take an honest look at our expectations of God. Specifically, how our wounds and weakness can make us expect so little of him. The times when we feel threatened by others, insecure about ourselves, anxious about life—these are all fruit of a small heart with small expectations of what our mighty Father will do.


Jesus says he will come. So do we believe him? And when he comes to us—at Bethlehem, at Mass, every day—are our eyes open to see him?


Our hearts are meant to be bigger. Advent is a time for our hearts to expand with Christ’s own heart. Jesus shows us how to have joyful expectations and real confidence that the Lord has revealed his goodness throughout history, continues to work today in our lives and the lives of all those around us, and will continue to work in the future.

God has promised that he will come. Now’s the time to pray with filial boldness and be available to him, awaiting his promise with joyful expectation.

Dec 09, 2020
Jesus is our home (Advent 2020 Part Two)

Where do you feel most "at home"? When are you most free to be yourself? Ultimately, our hearts can only fully experience this  through a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. He's the one who settles our insecurities and gives us the sense of belonging which we crave.

If you're feeling a sense of exile, of not feeling seen and known and loved... maybe it's time to discern if that's due to trying to make your home in other places. As Henri Nouwen pointed out, sometimes we know we have a home, we just don't choose to live there.

Let's choose home! Let's decide to live there. Because that's where we belong—and if we're not home with the Father, it's very difficult to find home in the world.

Today's episode continues with Blessed is She’s Advent Devotional, Maranatha.

Also recommended (thanks Fr Angelus): Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings, 1941-1944 by Fr Alfred Delp, S.J.

Dec 02, 2020
A Cry for Those in Crisis: Come, Lord Jesus! Maranatha! (Advent 2020 Part Three)

Advent is here! In these days leading to Christmas, we all have the chance to look at the places where we need Jesus to break in and bring light and hope.

In this week’s episode:

  • We start our 4-week exploration of Blessed is She’s Advent Devotional, Maranatha
  • Recommendation from Fr Angelus: Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings, 1941-1944 by Fr Alfred Delp, S.J.
  • Martin Jernberg (instagram: @martin.jernberg), Mike Kearney (instagram: @atmikekearney)
  • Advent and Lent have similarities. Consider this: St Francis fasted before both Easter (during Lent) and Christmas (during Advent).
  • Do you struggle to get “into” Advent?
  • Fr Mark-Mary is publishing a book with Ascension Press, set for release in March 2021.
  • Fr Mark-Mary talks about praying maranatha (“Come, Lord Jesus!) in a particular situation as an example of how we can invite the Lord into our lives.
  • The “recipe” for Jesus to come: embracing our poverty.
  • Jesus doesn’t always come with the remedies we hope for—He comes with himself.
  • The world before the advent of Christ needed a Savior; it was broken, lost, dark. Christ brought healing, purpose and light to the world, and He wants to do the same for our world, now; for our lives.
  • We don’t have to wait for the “big” things to happen before we involve God; He wants to enter into the ordinary, everyday things with us.
  • The Church has set aside holy, consecrated times like Advent as a gift for us.
  • Jesus not only wants to come, but also wants us to ask, even beg, for Him to come.
  • Servant of God Marcel Văn, in prayer, hears Jesus say to him, “It brings joy to me to hear you call my name.” Jesus has a desire to hear us cry out to Him.
  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel… one of the greatest Advent songs, right?
  • Reflecting on the experience of Megan Hjelmstad (instagram: @positively__imperfect) of longing for children after a hysterectomy, and how so many of us can relate to that suffering of longing.
  • Megan feels the Holy Spirit invite her to pray for Our Lady’s intercession to conceive Christ in her life so that she might bring His light into the world.
  • When we’re consumed by our suffering, we need to let God break in. We need to turn away from ourselves and to the Lord, and let Him work.
  • Fr Innocent talks about struggling with depression in high school and feeling the pressure as a varsity athlete, even while appearing totally fine and happy on the outside. 
  • This depression and experience of anxiety leads to a profound Eucharistic encounter.
  • Healing is made possible through hope.
  • Your Advent season can be real and concrete. What are areas in your life that are barren and burdened and in need of Christ?
Nov 25, 2020
Prince of Peace - Crucified King - The Way to Peace

Peace on the outside comes from knowing God on the inside.  This week we discuss the Prince of Peace who is Christ crucified.  Through the cross, Jesus has made a way for us to have peace with the Father in this world.

Peace WITH God will bring the peace OF God. Jesus promised peace in our hearts. So, we remain in His presence.  It’s in Him alone that you can find real peace…

Nov 18, 2020
We Have a Father (forever!!): The Foundation and Fullness of Good News

In this week's episode we talk about the reality of our heavenly Father. The God of heaven and earth is passionately pursuing you right now. No matter how close you are to him, he is knocking on the door of your heart, asking to come in and meet with you once again. He’s not knocking just to fix you. He’s not knocking just to make you do something for him. He simply wants to meet with you. He simply wants to love you.

In this week’s episode:

  • Blessed is She podcast 
  • Abiding Together podcast 
  • Want to send a sticker for Pro the donkey? Address: St Joseph Friary 523 W 142 St New York NY 10031
  • Isaiah 9:6: Father Forever (Alternate translation: Everlasting Father)
  • Why is Jesus called “Father forever”?
  • Rembrandt’s The Prodigal Son 
  • Parables Referenced:
    • The Prodigal Son
    • The Lost Sheep
    • The Good Samaritan
  • The Father’s desire to be a friend to sinners.
  • Fr Innocent tells a personal story of searching for a friend who has recently died. The Holy Spirit moves our hearts to seek out His sons and daughters.
  • How the Father pursues us and longs to be with us forever; for eternity.
  • St Francis of Assisi’s example as someone who seeks the forgotten; being with the forgotten always reminded St Francis of who the Father is and of his own mission. God always pursues the forgotten.
  • Mission gives us experiences of the Father. Seeking the lost and the broken not only gives us a chance to love and serve others, but also gives us privileged insight of how God loves us as well.
  • Hosea 11; reread this passage and replace Israel with your name. God is drawing each of us out of exile.
  • Fr Innocent talks about how sometimes Jesus is our safe space. We say, “ok, I just want to stay with Jesus.” And he asks us, “How’s your relationship with the Father?” Jesus is not satisfied just revealing Himself. Jesus doesn’t want to keep the Father hidden away.
  • Our inheritance is not an orphan spirit of insecurity. We have an everlasting Father who pursues us.
  • Referenced Books by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis: Fire of Mercy (Vol. I, II, III), The Way of the Disciple
  • Upcoming episodes will feature Blessed Is She’s Advent Devotional Maranatha. Order it now if you want to use the resource with the podcast: .
Nov 11, 2020
Mighty God

This week we discuss the title, "Mighty God" and the way in which God shows his might by making himself small, by forgiving us, by coming to us in the Eucharist.  God is great and omnipotent but he chooses to become small to us so we can respond to Him in love. He made himself fragile to give us his strength. He became vulnerable so we could finally open our hearts in love, without fear. He is with you. He is for you. And he is enough.

Nov 04, 2020
Were you there? An invitation to trust the Wonderful Counselor

Are we fascinated by God or merely interested?  God wants His creation to be fascinated with Him and His ways. In this week's episode we talk about what it means to put aside our worry and to trust in the Wonderful Counselor.  The truth is this: If we are fascinated with anything in life other than Jesus then we don’t really know Him intimately!  If  we allow ourselves to be captivated with Him and seek Him more, then we will experience a heart consumed by and filled with God!

Oct 28, 2020
Going Deeper With Our Lady of Tenderness

In this week's episode Fr. Angelus talks about his favorite Icon, Our Lady of Tenderness and how Our Lady teaches us how to surrender everything that keeps us from loving Jesus with all we have. Through her example Our Lady teaches us how to have hope in seemingly hopeless moments, and what it means to really be seen by the Father.  We uncover how Mary desires to mother us in our poverty so that we can go before Christ fully alive.

Oct 21, 2020
So, I Send You: Living the Mission of Jesus With Urgency

As the Father sent me, so I send you.  In this week’s episode we talk about the real share that we have in Jesus's own mission and the urgent need to bring Jesus to the world. God uses our gifts and talents to touch the people that God brings into our lives. God is not waiting for somebody else. God want to use you.  No matter what our vocation in life God calls us to mission.

Oct 14, 2020
Come, Holy Spirit: The Promise is a Person

The Holy Spirit, who worked in and through Christ during his life on earth, now works in and through us. In this week’s episode we discuss how the Holy Spirit wants to move in our lives. Just as the Spirit enabled Christ to bring glory to his Father, so now the Spirit enables us to glorify both the Son and the Father.  The Holy Spirit can help us greatly, but only if we let it.  

Oct 07, 2020
He Thirsts For You: You Are Pursued by God

We look at Jesus and the Samaritan woman with an emphasis on they way in which Jesus thirsts to love her.  We also mention Mother Teresa's relationship with the thirst of Jesus and how important it is for us to know that God thirsts for our love.  We're wanted and pursued by God.

Sep 30, 2020
Tangible Grace, The Spiritually Hangry, and Praying in a Crazy World: With Michelle Benzinger

Our first guest!  Our long time arch nemesis, Michelle Benzinger from the Abiding Together Podcast, joins Fr. Innocent and Fr. Mark-Mary to talk about tangible grace for tangible trials, seeking first the Kingdom of God lest you go about your day spiritually hangry, and praying when there's no time to pray.  Also, we learn about Fr. Innocent's cheap shot on Fr. Mark-Mary and his failed tinkerbell charade. (N.B. by "arch nemesis" we mean dear friend, source of inspiration, mentor, and much loved.)

Sep 23, 2020
Love Desperately (and don't be vanilla): The Reasonable Response to Salvation

We take a look at two ways to live: The way of Simon the Pharisee (boring!!, empty, vanilla) and the way of the sinful woman who bathes the feet of Jesus with her tears.  Her love is desperate.  Her love makes others uncomfortable. But, her love is real!  Her love is beautiful. 

Why does she love the way she loves and lives the way she lives?  She knows she's a sinner in need of the savior, and the savior is within reach.  Let's love lavishly people!  Let's live like sinners in need of a savior who know where to find him!

Sep 15, 2020
He Sees You That You May See: Faith as the Source of Absolute Security

We take a look at the story of Bartimaeus. One major theme is the way in which a blind person feels very vulnerable in the world and has a lot of fear/anxiety because of it. If we go about life without faith, it's like we're walking the streets of NYC blind. Faith gives us absolute security, it allows us to see who we are and that God's with us.

Sep 09, 2020
God Is Who He Says He Is: Allowing God to Walk the Walk in Your Life

Have you ever noticed how “going for a walk” helps to calm you down when you are stressed?    God wants to walk with us before He works through us. Our daily encounter with Him becomes our training ground for a life that is rooted and grounded in love.  In this week's episode we talk about how to allow God to walk with us in the midst of our mess. God is always trying to draw us closer to him.  He wants your life to be transformed into a joyful relationship with him regardless of the circumstances we live in. Teach us Lord to walk with you!   Invite God to walk with you in those hard places so that we can be fully alive.     

Sep 02, 2020
Christian Rest Hits Different: Receiving Christ’s Rest

Could God be prompting you to leave the boat -to take a radical break from your routine to get some rest and enjoy silence, so you can hear God’s whispers and hear his nearness again?  In a culture where the world wears busyness as a badge of honor, how can we live in God’s stillness?  This week we explore how Christian rest comes from living from our identity and sharing in Christ's own rest -because he knows the Father.

Sometimes it takes greater faith and courage to admit we’re tired and we need to reassess why we’re doing what we’re doing. God welcomes soul searching. He loves being with us on that intimate journey.

Aug 26, 2020
The Battle For Your Heart: Learning to Pray Well

What does a good movie, our desire for the best job, and that perfect picture we just posted on Instagram have to do with each other?  None of these things is wrong in itself. But when we begin to allow the things of the world to control us, we miss out on the joy of God's call for deeper intimacy in our hearts.

In this week’s episode we discuss the battle for our hearts which is also a battle for our time.  We want to learn to pray well because that's how we give God authority over our lives.  But part of praying well is stepping away from distractions, even good ones.  

God calls us to transform our half-hearted, distracted, disconnected prayer life into a vibrant, meaningful, intentional way of communicating with our Father.

Aug 19, 2020
The Battle of Prayer: The Right Struggle

Grounding their discussion in Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis's book, The Way of the Disciple, the friars take a look at the battle of prayer. This is the principle place where we battle for grace, where we battle to receive the truth of our identity and the riches of our identity. But it takes work! It's hard!

The good news is, with God's grace, we're capable of hard things! May this episode encourage us all to be renewed in our commitment to prayer!

Aug 12, 2020
Echoes of The Word: What's the Word Want to Say Through You?

God has spoken, but he wants the Word to continue to echo through you! The Word became flesh, dwelt among us and revealed to us the heart of the Father. But the Word mission is not complete! In this week’s episode the friars take a look at how different saints have heard the Word, been transformed by it, then echo it by their lives.. becoming a living word; And God wants to do the same through you! Take a listen to learn what in the world this all means and looks like.

Aug 05, 2020
Prayer: A Matter of Life or Death

Prayer is like oxygen; we can't live without it. If you're not praying, you're dying. Prayer is not optional in our lives but it's essential.   Prayer is our lifeline to God, and with it, lives are changed for eternity!  God invites us into an intimate relationship with Him.  Prayer is your relationship with God if we are living without prayer, we are living without God.  As with any relationship, we need to put in the desire, effort, and time to seek intimacy and seal that bond that involves finding intimacy with God in the midst of our everyday busy lives. 

This close, intimate, personal relationship that you can enter into with the Lord will be the door opener that will change the course of your entire life forever. The journey is there for all who are willing to step into it!
Jul 29, 2020
Know who you are. Know who He is. Know peace.

Blessed are the peacemakers! Peace comes from knowing your identity, but also knowing who God is.  Knowing who you are and Whose you are changes everything.  God is the only One who knows the depth of your struggle, and therefore He is the only One who could offer the exact reassurance of peace we so desperately need to hear.   Are we confident in our spiritual inheritance as children of the Father?  God promises us that if we stick with Him, He will give us peace that surpasses all understanding.

Jul 22, 2020
Define Others By What Defines You (Keeping Mercy In Your Definition and Defining)

God doesn't call us by our sin, He calls us by our name. Our dignity is based on the fact that we are His children.  In this episode week's episode the friars dive into what "blessed are the merciful" really means.  God loves us even in our sinfulness and wants to restore what sin has taken away.  We are called to come face to face with our brokenness so that we can experience true healing and mercy so we no longer act as orphans but as children of the Father. 



Jul 15, 2020
I Want To See God (Seeking the Face that Saves)

"Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God." Journey from the cry of the heart expressed in Psalm 80, "Show us your face and we shall be saved," to the tragic loss of the rich young man who went away sad because he missed the answer to who he is and what he's made for as it was revealed to him on the face of Jesus who looked at him and loved him, to the world transforming conversion of St. Francis of Assisi who was able to find in the face of the leper the sacred face of his Savior.

Jul 08, 2020
Burn Through The Finite (You Gotta Want It)

It's satisfaction guaranteed people! "They shall be satisfied." Not, they might be satisfied or 9/10 times those who hunger and thirst for righteousness claim to be satisfied. Satisfaction is guaranteed to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! It's a promise and the Father always keeps his promises! gotta want it. You have to burn for holiness. You have to burn for the infinite depths of his love and burn through all lesser goods. Let's get after it together!

Jul 01, 2020
The Father Thinks I'm Hot Stuff

Fr. Lloyd has experienced a whole lot of life over the past 98 years. In his own words, what has he learned, "The Father thinks I'm hot stuff."  That's his friendly, New Yorker, way of saying the Father is well pleased with him.  The Father loves him and rejoices in him. And it's for you as well!  In this week's episodes the friars take a look at the true meaning of "meek."  Being meek doesn't mean you're soft, it's the strength that comes from already receiving the inheritance of your identity and knowing that all the Father has is yours.  Or in short, it means living in touch with the reality that the Father thinks your hot stuff, too.

Jun 24, 2020
Greater Than The Lilies (He Cries Because He Cares)
There's a whole lot of Good News in this episode. Jesus has clothed the lilies with great splendor and they didn't have to do any work at all! And he reminds us, if I take such great care of the wild flowers, how much more will I care for you!
The friars invite you to take a prayerful journey into the heart of Jesus as it's revealed in the story of the raising of Lazarus where we see him weep over Lazarus because he loved him so deeply...and he loves you like that too!
Jun 17, 2020
It's Not About Me (Discipleship as a Team Sport)

"Love is an exodus from me to you" (Pope Benedict XVI). Oftentimes the spiritual life can be focused on." Am I growing? Am I getting after it? Am I, am I, am I... Of course, each individual's particular growth is important, and there is a place for examining our own lives, but discipleship is a team sport and it's in losing ourselves that we authentically find ourselves.  In the latest episodes, the brothers take a look at how poverty of spirit helps us do the hard work of staying in communion.

Jun 10, 2020
Beggars and Beast Mode (Poverty and Holiness)

Beggars and Beast Mode.  Taking another look at the "Franciscan Sweet Spot," poverty of spirit, the friars reconcile our poverty and dependence with the call to scale the heights of sanctity.  Fr. Innocent, Fr. Angelus, and Fr. Mark-Mary, looking at their own life experience, proclaim with conviction, that our poverty is not an obstacle to Christian excellence, but when it is properly brought to the Lord, our poverty becomes the very fuel for holiness.

It's time to go Holy Spirit-Anointed-Beast Mode.  It's time to give God permission to make us saints.

Jun 03, 2020
Intimacy Is Our Inheritance

Join Fr. Angelus, Fr. Innocent, and Fr. Mark-Mary, members of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, in a deep dive into the "Franciscan sweet spot": Poverty of Spirit and The Kingdom of Heaven where our dependence meets the Father's providence.  For this reason, the friars truly consider themselves, "Rich Kids." They are rich in intimacy with the Father and it's possible for you too!

Punctuating everything the friars discuss is the witness of Fr. Innocent, who as a 24-year-old friar, had what he calls a "conversion" moment after he woke up paralyzed from a routine back surgery. In was in that moment, he experienced the Lord's love for him not because of his gifts or abilities, but because he is truly his beloved son.


May 27, 2020
Becoming Fascinated with Jesus

IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS! In the latest episode of The Poco a Poco Podcast, Fr. Innocent, Fr. Angelus, and Fr. Mark-Mary take a totally fresh look at the Beatitudes.  And what do we discover in the beatitudes?  We discover the face of Jesus and the invitation to become authentically, and overwhelmingly, fascinated with Jesus.  

IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS! Jesus offers us the Beatitudes as a reminder of what it means to be truly blessed.  We are invited to be blessed like Jesus, and that is very good news. But don't get caught on the first half of the beatitude (the hard or uncomfortable part).  In each beatitude is also a promise, and we all know, we worship a Father who always keeps his promises.  

May 20, 2020
Intimacy With The Father Is For You

Intimacy with the Father is for you!  FACT! Get it!  

This is the first episode of The Poco A Poco Podcast in which all three hosts are present: Fr. Innocent, Fr. Angelus, and Fr. Mark-Mary of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.  After an extended introduction to their community, themselves, and the story behind "Poco a Poco" the friars proclaim with absolute conviction, rooted in lived experience, that radical relationship and intimacy with God IS POSSIBLE.  

Join the friars in climbing to the heights of holiness by first entering into the depths of the interior life where the King of Glory and the fulfillment of every desire dwells.

Learn more about the friars, signup on their email list, and get a transcription of the podcast at


May 13, 2020
Patience! Takin' a Look at What God's Doing and How He's Doing It

Patience! It's the name of the game. During this third, and final, of the "Pandemic Episodes," Fr. Mark-Mary reminds us to be still and know that he is God! We can be sure that God is at work in our situation even though we don't know where he's leading and when we'll arrive.

Apr 19, 2020
FOCUS! An Introduction to the Particular Exam

In this second episode of the Poco a Poco Podcast, Fr. Mark-Mary gleams from the wisdom of Jesuit Spirituality as practiced by Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ during his years of "Quarantine" in Soviet prisons and labor camps. Learn how to pick your battle and so win the war!

Apr 19, 2020
Our First Episode! A Quarantine Way of Life

Our First Episode! Join Fr. Mark-Mary is the first episode of the Poco a Poco Podcast, the new podcast of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Fr. Mark-Mary pulls from the wisdom of Catholics who have lived in "quarantine" to give some tips for thriving in faith during this uniquely difficult time.

Apr 19, 2020