Meet the Friars

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Fr. Edward O’Keefe

Fr. Edward O’Keefe, 79, a native of Ireland and trained as a pharmacist, met the Capuchins in Africa, where he was already serving as a missionary with the Jesuits. He entered the Capuchin Order on October 4, 1968. As a Capuchin he has preached missions, given retreats, and served as a hospital chaplain. He has also worked both as an Associate Pastor and Pastor. Fr. Ed had aided both the Marriage and Engaged Encounter, and the Focolare Movement. He was a missionary in northern Mexico before returning to St. Lawrence Friary in Watts. He is currently retired at Mercy Care and Retirement Center in Oakland, CA.
c/o Mercy Retirement and Care Center
3431 Foothill Blvd. Room 358 - Oakland, CA 94601

Fr. Eugene Ludwig

Fr. Eugene Ludwig is a professor in Berkeley and sees teaching as a way for people to come away with a new perspective and to have a deeper understanding of the human person. Originally from St. Francis Parish in Bend Oregon, Fr. Eugene attended St. Francis High School when it was a minor seminary and was the first novice at the San Lorenzo. He then went back east for studies and has worked as a teacher since his ordination. He currently teaches patristic at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Regarding this ministry, he says: “I hope my students will take the material they have studied with me and use it in a way that informs their own decision making and understanding in how they form their own life.”

Our Lady of Angels Parish - Burlingame, CA

Fr. Flavian Welstead

Fr. Flavian Welstead has lived many places. Born in Douglas, County Cork Ireland, he entered the Capuchins there in 1959 and later served as a missionary  in Africa at the Sioma and Mangango Missions and in Livingstone in Zambia. He afterwards came to the U.S., serving in parishes in Oregon and California, as well as teaching at St. Francis High School. He was Provincial Development Director from 1989 until 1997. He is currently Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Angels in Burlingame, and is tireless in his ministry to others. His good nature and service have gained him many friends.
Our Lady of Angeles Friary - Burlingame, CA

Fr. Gerald Barron
Fr. Gerald Barron started out as a member of the Secular Franciscans (Third Order) in Dublin, Ireland. Inspired by the preaching of the Capuchins and their closeness to the people, especially the poor, he joined them in 1957. As a newly ordained priest he was sent to California in 1966. Since his arrival, he has ministered in parishes, vocation ministry, and retreat work. He also served the friars for six years as Provincial Minister. He says of his ministry: "I am like a bystander watching God's marvelous work in the lives of His people." Fr. Gerald sees Capuchin community as a great gift from God. He is presently the Pastor at Old Mission Santa Inés in Solvang.
Old Mission San
ta Inés - Solvang, CA

Fr. Gregory Coiro

Fr. Gregory Coiro was born in New York but grew up in Garden Grove, California.  In 1972, he entered the Capuchins and was ordained in 1982. His first assignment was to teach theology at St. Francis High School.  In 1987, he began working in the Public Affairs Office of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and, in 1994, Cardinal Roger Mahony appointed him director of Media Relations.  As an official spokesman, he represented the Church on radio and television programs and he hosted “Clergy on Call” on KPLS-AM. In 2000, he became associate pastor of Our Lady of Angels, Burlingame, but returned to St. Francis High School as chaplain in 2002. He presently resides at San Buenaventura Friary in San Francisco where he is the Rector of the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi.
San Buenaventura Friary - San Francisco, CA

Br. Hai Ho

Br. Hai Ho worked with the Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps after college. While working with Latino immigrants in Washington, D.C., Br. Hai felt drawn to respond to God’s invitation of love. “As a Capuchin,” Br. Hai says, “I am continually inspired and challenged by St. Francis’ encouraging words: ‘Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves, that He who gave Himself totally to you may receive you totally.’” Br. Hai was ordained on June 2, 2012. He is presently associate pastor at St. Lawrence of Brindisi Parish in Los Angeles and serves as the Postulant Director.
St. Lawrence of Brindisi Friary - Los Angeles, CA

Fr. Harold Snider
Fr. Harold Snider was born in Stamford, Connecticut in 1954. He was a Captain in the U.S. Army before he moved to California and became a parishioner at Our Lady of Angels in Burlingame. There he met the friars. “I was attracted to the Order by the fact that the life and ministry of a friar is varied.” He entered the Capuchin Order in 1981 and was ordained a priest in 1989. In the Order he has served as Director of Postulants, Vocation Director, Student Director, and Chaplain at St. Francis High School and became Pastor of his old parish, Our Lady of Angels. He now resides at Old Mission Santa Inés in Solvang and is a chaplain at Lompoc Federal Penitentiary. He loves history and good movies and reading novels.
Old Mission Santa Inés - Solvang, CA
Fr. Hung Nguyen

Fr. Hung Nguyen, a native of Vietnam, as he pondered his future. “To my own surprise, the Capuchin Franciscan way of life intrigued me. Suddenly, Jesus, St. Francis, religious life and the Capuchin way of life have meant something to me” Since joining the friars, Fr. Hung has worked with prisoners at San Quentin State Prison as well as the sick at various hospitals.  He has also ministered to Vietnamese youth and the Vietnamese communities in San Francisco Bay Area.  He most recently served as the chaplain of St. Francis High School. “My formation ministry continues to challenge me to grow in self-knowledge and in my own formation as a Capuchin.  I have found the joy and the fulfillment in the people I encounter and minister to.  The way of life as Capuchin allows me to experience life with new eyes and a freedom in which choices are not risks but opportunities to learn more about what God has in store for me.”

Fr. Jim Cleary

Fr. Jim Cleary was raised in a strong Irish Catholic family, one of nine children. He received a good Catholic education and when he parents moved to Pasadena he attended St. Francis High School, where he first met the Capuchins. Amid the tensions between the Russians and Americans in the time of President Kennedy, he was drafted into the US Army and served for two years. When he came back to California he contacted Fr. Emilian Meade at St. Francis and was helped by him and others through the process of becoming a Capuchin friar. With other friars of the province in the 1960s he studied with the Capuchins in New York, then returned to the west and was ordained at St. Bede’s Church, across the street from St. Francis High School, 1n 1970. Since then he has worked in parishes, formation, and chaplaincy. “I’ve had a challenging and good life as a Capuchin priest.”
St. Lawrence of Brindisi Friary
- Los Angeles, CA

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