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“Habits for Holiness” Distills 800 Years of Franciscan Wisdom into “Small Steps” for Lay Faithful

[West Chester, PA, February 23, 2021—]

“CFR” Franciscans, founded in the chaotic South Bronx, share simple steps for all Christians to become instruments of peace 

In his new book Habits for Holiness: Small Steps for Making Big Spiritual Progress, Fr. Mark-Mary Ames, CFR, takes 800 years of Franciscan spiritual wisdom and extracts ”small steps” that can lead anyone—especially laypeople—to great holiness.

Fr. Mark-Mary Ames, Director of Communications for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (known affectionately as “the CFRs”), is well-known for his videos on the popular Ascension Presents YouTube channel. This is his first book with Ascension, the leader in faith formation.

“Instead of encouraging people to exit the chaos of the world and tune out, we share the Franciscan rule of practical and proven steps of how to lean in and to cultivate their daily life into fertile soil for the spiritual life,” Fr. Mark-Mary explains.

Throughout the past year, and especially now during Lent, many people are reevaluating their spiritual priorities. The daily pursuit of holiness may seem daunting, but putting God first provides peace of heart and clarity along the path to sanctity and eternal life. 

The tools outlined in Habits for Holiness are drawn from the CFR charism and spirituality. The book’s chapters model the pillars of CFR religious life: prayer, fraternal life, evangelization, and service to the poor. The book has a particular appeal to Catholics in the current Lenten season.

Habits for Holiness: Small Steps for Making Big Spiritual Progress coaches readers how to:

  • Run the “marathon” of life with spiritual nourishment 
  • Make prayer the center of daily life through a quick “3×5 examen”  
  • Create a strong and faithful Catholic culture within a family
  • Foster growth through recreation, exercise, proper rest, and healthy eating
  • Serve and love the poor through personal encounters and small sacrifices

Each section includes thought-provoking questions for reflection such as, “Does my life look radically different from the lives of non-believers?” and “Am I truly paying attention to the people I meet throughout the day?” 

Fr. Mark-Mary emphasizes, “Things fall in order when you’re living in order. Doing simple things consistently provides a solid foundation onto which grace can overflow. The CFR community’s motto is ‘poco a poco,’ or ‘little by little.’ By opening our hearts to others, making time for prayer, and serving others, we can be transformed.”

About Fr. Mark-Mary Ames, CFR

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal were founded in the chaotic South Bronx neighborhood in 1987, and are one of the fastest-growing religious communities in the world. The primary mission of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal community is a wholehearted embracing of Jesus Christ and their Holy Father, St. Francis. Through their commitment to prayer and contemplation, the study of Sacred Scripture, their fidelity to the Church and the sacraments, their fraternal life, and their generous service to the poor, the CFRs receive the nourishment necessary to live out their lives as sons of St. Francis in the Capuchin tradition. 

Fr. Mark-Mary Ames, CFR, was ordained in 2018 and lives at the CFR friary in the Bronx. Fr. Mark-Mary is a weekly host on Ascension Presents, the second-largest Catholic YouTube Channel in English.

About Ascension

Ascension is the leader in Catholic faith formation and digital content. Over the past 20 years, Ascension has helped to nurture the faith of more than 10 million people in 8,000 parishes through their books, Bibles, faith formation programs, chart-topping podcasts, social media, and the Ascension Presents YouTube channel. The company has 60 employees and is based in Exton, Pennsylvania.

Media Contact

For interviews with Fr. Mark-Mary Ames, CFR, or other media inquiries, please contact Lauren Joyce at (484) 876-1400 or newsroom@ascensionpress.com. 

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