Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

The Community of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal were invited to live the Franciscan charism within the Diocese of Oakland, California at the invitation of Bishop Michael Barber. The mission of the CFR's is a life of prayer, in community, directed toward hands on work with the materially poor and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The friars assigned here at San Junipero Serra Friary, unique as they are, live and work together for the spreading of the Kingdom of God.

Fr. Luke Joseph Leighton

Fr. Luke grew up in Red Bank, NJ. He had a conversion experience in high school that led him to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at 15 years old. About a year later, he felt invited by the Lord to share in his priesthood. As a seminarian for the Diocese of Trenton, Fr. Luke attended Seton Hall University, where his knowledge of the faith and the life of prayer grew tremendously. After graduating, he entered the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and served in the friars’ mission of preaching the Gospel and attending to the needs of the poor in NYC for fifteen years. While living in the Bronx, he served at the Saint Francis Youth Center, Saint Anthony’s Shelter for Renewal, and Cardinal Spellman High School. Fr. Luke was ordained a priest by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in May of 2013. He completed the Institute for Priestly Formation’s Spiritual Direction Training Program in January 2020. He is now serving with his fellow friars in the Diocese of Oakland, California where they are establishing a new friary at the invitation of Bishop Michael Barber, SJ. During his time as assistant chaplain at Cardinal Spellman High School Fr. Luke published videos on YouTube which can be viewed here.

Fr. Daniel Williamson

Father Daniel Williamson is a priest of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. He currently lives in Oakland, California and has served the friars in various missions, including in New York, New Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua, since joining the friars in 2001. Prior to entering the friars, he served in the United States Air force as an F-16 crew chief, drove an 18-wheeler cross country and worked various construction jobs. He attended Seton Hall University and received his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Master’s degree in Divinity from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT. Fr. Daniel is passionate about the outdoors, music, travelling, and most especially, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ.


Br. John Joseph Brice


Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Br. John Joseph attended the University of Wisconsin, earning a degree in Chemistry and Business Administration. In 1974, he joined the Order of Friars Minor, serving homeless men. After his final vows in 1979, Br. John completed a Clinical Pastoral education course at Rush Presybetarian Hospital in Chicago. Following this training, he worked as a hospital chaplain at St. Mary of Nazareth Medical Center in the same area. In September of 1984, Br. John answered the call to work in the missions in South Africa, where he first worked with the Zulu Franciscan Sisters for three years and then for the Diocese of Johannesburg in financial management, at an AIDS hospice, and a men’s shelter for the next nine. The following nine years, he became the Provincial Treasurer and Director of Development for the Province of South Africa. In 2004, Br. John first visited the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in New York City. Desiring to live a more authentic Franciscan vocation, he decided to join the Community in 2005. Br. John has held multiple roles within the Community of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, including being a Local Servant, the General Treasurer, and the General Development Officer until 2019. Currently, Br. John enjoys giving directed retreats, providing spiritual direction, and assisting with the religious brothers’ formation. He is excited to take on his new assignment at San Junipero Serra Friary in Oakland, California.

BR. Matthew Solanus Schumacher

Br. Matthew is originally from Madison, WI. He grew up playing soccer, training in the martial arts, and exploring the great outdoors. While attending college seminary in Southeastern Minnesota, he was invited by a few friends to join them in visiting the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in New York City. Although he didn’t join right away, his experience of praying, working, and learning from the Friars left a deep impact. Br. Matthew finally joined in September of 2016. He lived his first year in NYC, and the following three years in New Jersey, prior to arriving in Oakland.