The podcast you never knew you needed in your life. 🙂


A down-to-earth and chuckle-worthy conversation on everyday topics with a Franciscan friar from Duke University. You can listen to Friar Side Chats on Soundcloud, iTunes, or your favorite podcasting app.

Let us know which episodes are your favorite and what you’d like to hear more of!



After you’ve listened to an episode, you can check back here for any important show notes:

#37 | Bon Voyage!
  • This video on how one Franciscan friar always wears his habit while traveling can empower each of us to be more open to evangelization on the road.Here is a list of some scripture quotes that you can keep in mind when traveling
  • We found this awesome list of scripture quotes that would make awesome prayers for your journey. A prayer you can repeat at the start, on each day, and at the end of a vacation!
  • Draw inspiration from this Yale student who leans on her rosary for comfort during her travels. What religious imagery, prayers, or other reminders will help keep you grounded in your faith no matter where you find yourself?
#36 | Go Buy that Cupcake
  • If you find yourself having a difficult time staying engaged in the Mass, here article from Catholic Company that contains 9 tips that can help curb mass distractions.
  • We noticed this video by Fr. Mike Schmitz about motivation to go to Mass. We LOVE his videos, it’s like spiritual direction on demand!
#35 | The Mom Factor
#34 | Got Post-Lent Guilt?
  • Emma and Fr. Mike talked about the “Prayer for Anyone” by Thomas Merton. Check it out, it’s one of our favorites!
  • Did you do your Alleluia homework? Just in case you haven’t yet… here you go.
  • If you want to keep your Lenten penance going after Lent, great idea! The pope agrees with you that we should carry forth our Lenten attitudes to our entire life.
#33 | Walking that Last Day
  • Interested in walking the Stations of the Cross? Join the Duke Catholic Center Friday, March 22, 2018 at 6 PM beginning on the Duke Chapel Quad!
  • Gary Jansen wrote a great book on he Stations of the Cross called Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Stations of the Cross. Check out an interview with him here!
  • Here’s a little something if you are interested in how walking the Stations of the Cross began – it’s a fascinating story of persistence in the face of adversity!
  • Not sure you can attend a communal Stations of the Cross? Find the prayers here! Even alone in the quiet of your home, a chapel, or nature, praying the Stations is an incredibly powerful experience.
#32 | Drinking the Cameron Crazy Kool-Aid
  • For the record, Emma did, indeed, win the DCC’s staff bracket challenge in 2017. We’ll see what 2018 has in store for the staff…
#31 | That Third Pillar
  • For a great perspective on the effort we need to put into almsgiving, look no further than this article about the importance of giving to others.
  • Enjoy the podcast format of Friar Side Chats? Here’s another podcast by Bishop Robert Barron (one of our favorites!) that takes a close look at the three pillars of Lent and how to incorporate them into our lives.
  • Oh, and if you realized you really need to get on your budgeting in order to determine what you can give regularly, we recommend EveryDollar! You have to account for every dollar in and out.
  • There’s so much to be learned from other faiths around the world. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and just about every other religion have a traditions of charity just as rich as Christianity’s, and each has a lot to teach us about how to donate to others.
#30 | Ashes to Ashes
  • To learn more about the basic pillars of Lent and how you could dive into each of those, check out our Lent 2018 page.
  • Looking for new and exciting ways to celebrate Lent? Check out the DCC’s 40 for 40! It’s full of cool ideas for trying new things and cutting out bad habits.
  • Great little video by Fr. Mike Schmitz in which he explains where the observance of Lent came from (the Bible), clarifies why Catholics observe the season, and shares how it can make a difference in our lives.
  • If you are interested in a theological and historical look at Jesus’s fast in the desert and Lent in general, Bishop Robert Barron has a brilliant homily on the topic. Lent is the perfect time to go deeper into the theology of the Catholic faith!
  • To prepare for Lent, take a look at Pope Francis’s beautiful words on how to properly approach the season and make the most out of it. The purpose of Lent is to grow closer with God, and that should be our number one priority during the 40 days.
#29 | Nourishing Your Brain
  • Besides curtailing our social media practices, we can also transform our experience by adding in some positive, life-giving sources. Here are some we recommend across various platforms and media types!
  • Some of us may have more issues with social media than others. If that’s the case for you, I recommend checking out this helpful piece on the impact of obsessive social media use and how to take steps to improve.
#28 | On BFFs
  • An awesome, closer look into that idea of “virtuous friendship” that Fr. Mike talked about. 10/10 recommend thinking deeply about this!
  • Along the (cheesy but true) lines of “Jesus is your friend,” we often actually do forget about the hundreds (thousands!) of men and women who are our very real friends and are rooting for us every day. Here’s how you can tap into the great resource of friendship that our brother and sister saints offer.
  • This short post on being Catholic and going Greek is great for all women rushing or already in Greek life.
#27 | One Year Later
  • With an episode that pulls from so many past recordings, we encourage you to think about which episodes this year resonated with you and take a look through the show notes below.
#26 | A Mind-Blowing Christmas
  • Everyone loves Christmas, but most of us don’t find the lead-up, Advent, as exciting (well, except for all the chocolate in your Advent calendar). In this video, Father Mike Schmitz offers a new way to approach Advent in order to prepare yourself for the beauty of Christmas.
  • The narrative of the birth of Christ is one of the most famous stories in the world. Father Bishop Barron’s sermon on this topic gives the necessary historical information to truly understand this story for what it is: the beginning of a revolution.
  • As interested by Father Mike’s brief summary of John Duns Scotus’s philosophy as we were? Here’s a quick summary of his life from a Franciscan perspective that gives a good overview of his most revolutionary ideas.
#25 | The Coverup
  • Father Mike Schmitz takes a close look at what motivates us to cheat in relationships, and how to respond to those temptations.
  • Duke cognitive science professor Dan Ariely wrote a fascinating book (read an excellent review here!) called “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty,” which explores the ways in which we lie to ourselves and others. We definitely recommend checking it out.
  • Cheating is everywhere, and Duke is no exception. As recently as two years ago, Duke got national attention for cheating in its CompSci 201 class. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of cheating at a high-pressure school like Duke, but we need to recognize that temptation for what it is: a lie to ourselves and Christ.
    • And BTW, confession is a great time to bring any dishonest experiences into the light — don’t fear judgment from the priest! We can’t encourage you enough to seek out forgiveness and absolution through the sacrament.
#24 | Gratitude & Oyster Stuffing
  • If you’re looking for a way to bring your faith to Thanksgiving, look no further than this article on a variety of Catholic traditions that we can incorporate into our celebrations.
  • Maybe you’re not the best off-the-cuff pray-er yet. Don’t stress! We have some great prayers of thanksgiving for you to bring to the table this Thanksgiving. Definitely be bold and volunteer to lead your fam in prayer if it’s not currently a tradition — you can do it!
#23 | Epic Failure
  • Struggling with fear of failure? This article has plenty of strategies for dealing with perfectionism.
  • If you are caught up on some past failure, Father Mike Schmitz has a great video about learning from and moving on from our past mistakes
  • We promised prayers in the podcast, and here they are! (Psst: you can download them as pics if you want to save them on your phone!)
    • A Prayer for Anyone by Thomas Merton is a heartfelt reminder that failure is perfectly natural, and that we never really fail so long as we continue to seek God
    • Prayer During Stress About Success in Academics by Brendan Farmer (Duke ‘13) is a great prayer for overcoming the fear of failure that permeates classes at Duke, and realizing that true success in all things lies in God.
    • Prayer for Strength and Courage is an inspiring call to overcome what stands in our way through our faith in God.
#22 | For the Long Haul
#21 | A Man for Our Time
  • Check out Formed for an in-depth look at the life and story of St. Francis, told in the very place he grew up!
  • Learn more about Franciscan lifestyle, vocations, and history in the Conventual tradition (the same kind as Fr. Mike and Fr. Brad).
  • St. Francis set the bar for loving his neighbors, but even moreso for those considered his enemies; see how he was able to preach the Gospel at the height of the Crusades!
#20 | Coach Cutcliffe: What Defines You?
  • Curious about other Catholic athletes and how they live their faith? Here’s Chargers QB Philip Rivers talking about his own faith in the public sphere.
  • Are you an athlete looking to encounter Christ more regularly? We have an 11:30 a.m. Mass on Thursdays at the Yoh building; all are welcome!
  • Calling all football and lacrosse players! There are two bible study groups to fit your schedule: email Terry Lindsay for the lax group and Tim Skapek for the football group!
  • Psst, also, here’s a great little piece: Who Decides Who You REALLY Are?
#19 | New Year, New You
  • One of Duke Divinity’s best professors (now retired) has a message for all first-years. We love it.
  • Freshman year can bring so many exciting new experiences, especially in your spiritual life. But sophomore year can sometimes feel less vibrant, and a spiritual slump can happen, too. Here’s an awesome piece on 5 Things to Remember When God Seems Silent.
  • For juniors both abroad and at Duke, diving into the Catholic podcast world is a GREAT way to keep growing in your faith, no matter where you are. Here are our top four recs — besides Friar Side Chats, of course!
  • For students of all year, but especially for seniors, the new school year marks the perfect time to begin forming spiritual habits you want to carry with you into the “real world.” Number one recommendation from us? Join a Small Group where you will learn how to pray with scripture and just generally improve your prayer life.
#18 | The Flatfooted Friar
  • Check out this trailer for a great documentary (which has been a mainstay must-watch on the staff) on the sugar industry.
  • Fr. Barron weighs in on living bread, namely the Eucharist (a highly recommended part of a Catholic diet!)
  • Want to pray on the run? Download the Laudate app on your phone from iTunes or Google, and add some prayer to your workout.
#17 | No Place to Rest Your Head
  • Big news: since we don’t have a central office, the tabernacle is now present in Memorial Chapel! Check Duke Chapel hours so you can spend more time with the Lord.
  • Did Fr. Mike get you thinking about complaining? Here’s an article to get you think even more!
  • Want to know where to find us? Here’s where we’ll be:
    • Fr. Mike will be going to Langford 056
    • Evan and Emma will be in the Chapel Basement, Rooms 044B and 040 respectively.
    • Our business office with Ruth Anne Kennedy and Michelle Sutton will be in Smith Warehouse Bay 4, second floor.
#16 | Old Friend or Acquaintance
  • I LOVE THIS GUY. And this video of his on praying with Scripture is pretty great.
  • Maybe you’re more of an infographic person? Well, if that’s the case, here is a more visual breakdown of that same type of prayer, lectio divina.
  • Lastly, this article. A serious reality check for me. (And hopefully for you, too!)
#15 | Modern Prophets
  • brief, relatable look at what it means that we are called to be Priest, Prophet, and King. 
  • The prophets have a TON of wisdom to share, reflect on, and help build up your prayer life. I like this guy’s reflection on his favorite Scripture passage from the prophet Isaiah.
#14 | Fr. Mike’s Secret Passion
#13 | Summer Fallacies
  • Fr. Mike and Emma’s recommended summer spiritual reading books:
    • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (originally released as informal radio broadcasts; a top ten classic for any Christian)
    • Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton (an autobiography of Merton’s conversion; very story-like and easily digestible)
    • Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (a masterpiece of satire; both laugh-aloud funny and deadly serious)
    • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (very original and creative look at heaven, hell, and purgatory; incredibly insightful and thought-provoking)
    • My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin (an enjoyable and very relatable memoir; inspiring and hilarious)
  • Pray As You Go
    • An awesome podcast or website (whichever medium you prefer!) to guide you through praying the daily reading. Super simple way to learn how to pray with scripture and to make sure you’re encountering Christ each day this summer.
    • Literally use this every time we’re in a new city, wherever you are in the world. So easy to find Mass and Reconciliation opportunities. Def wanna bookmark this.
  • A few other recommendations…
    • The podcast Catholic Stuff You Should Know is great! A lighthearted exploration of both prominent and obscure Catholic topics.
    • The FOCUS Blog has tons of great posts geared toward college students (but which we in the office still find very relatable and helpful for our own spiritual lives, too!).
    • As the Netflix-for-Catholics, you could really stand to spend some of your summer free time on We’ve got all the details for you  here. (And psst… we’ve already paid your subscription fee.)
#12 | Happy Birthday, Catholics!
  • Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, reminds us of our call to carry the Good News out to the world. Check out Fr. Barron’s post “How to Preach Like the Apostles” for some additional thoughts on carrying out that mission.
  • Still not sure how to begin praying to the Holy Spirit? Don’t stress! You’re not alone. We like starting out with these simple prayers, and really taking our time meditating through each line.
#11 | A Real World Plan
  • Whether you’re a graduate and moving on from Duke, or spending the summer to working/boosting your resume/traveling/spending time with family, we believe that coming up with a game plan for the real world (and the Duke world, too, tbh) requires fear-free decision making! We guarantee, if you really take these three keys to heart and put them into practice, your plans will begin to take shape and you’ll definitely find more peace.
#10 | Sweating Like an Army Mule
#9 | Party On!
#8 | The Big Dance
#7 | No Regrets… Right?
  • Reconciliation during the academic year is so easy to find! Every Wednesday night at 9pm in Goodson Chapel, and every Thursday afternoon from 12:15-12:45pm in the Chapel Basement offices.
  • Fr. Mike and Fr. Brad are also happy to make an appointment for reconciliation any time! Simply email them to set it up.
  • We also very strongly recommend the Forgiven series on Enjoy any or all of the three part series, and reconnect to God’s mercy! To find out how to watch the series, we have login instructions for you.