On Religious Brothers Day, we celebrate the vocation of religious brothers and the many gifts they bring to the Church.  

Religious brothers work in a variety of professions as social workers, artists, woodworkers, teachers, professors, nurses, missionaries, retreat directors, administrators – and more. Through their example, we are all invited to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. 

Meet a few brothers who inspire us all to a Gospel-led life of service. 

A friar oversees two students using electronics as their relatives look on.

Br. Chris Cahill, OFM 

Roger Bacon High School, Cincinnati 

Br. Chris came to the friars with degrees in engineering and computer science. He taught at a community college during formation and has spent all but his first year after solemn profession teaching at Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati. 

Br. Chris also served as a part-time tech coordinator at the school. He has led computer clubs and is famous for his bread baking. His specialty? Cinnamon raisin bread. “How can you go wrong with that?” he asks. 

Q: What brings you joy in your vocation as a brother? 

“One thing I’ve always liked about teaching is moving students from not knowing to knowing. Seeing the little light bulbs light up. It’s great to help people who are interested in doing something learn how to do it.  

“We have a lot of students who want to learn about computer science, and it’s great working with them to help move them along.” 

Br. Clarence Klingert, OFM 

St. Peter Church and Friary, Chicago 

Every step of Br. Clarence’s education, except for kindergarten, has been influenced by the Franciscans. Now the business manager of the bookstore and St. Peter Church and Friary in Chicago, he learned from sisters through high school and worked for his father’s landscaping business before he entered religious life at age 19. 

He will be 83 in July and has been at St. Peter’s since 1991. Learning, travel, and contemplative retreat are important parts of his ministry. 

Q: What brings you joy in your vocation as a brother? 

“I love the solitude and spirituality of prayer. For me, it is understanding universal spirituality. I love to learn philosophy and spirituality. It is my journey, and I am looking forward to that for many more years I have left here. I am still upbeat and here I am. 

“Understanding the spirituality of other religions is the way of peace, if we ever get that straightened out. It is a way to have peace in our world.” 


A friar teaches a classroom full of young adults

Br. Tony Luevano, OFM  

St. Anthony Foundation, San Francisco 

Br. Tony, a chaplain in mission integration at St. Anthony Foundation, could land in any ministry and believe he was in the right place.

He worked for his home diocese in San Bernardino, California, in restorative justice, before joining the Order, and earned his master's in theology as a lay student at the Franciscan School of Theology in San Diego. He spent four years teaching RCIA and trained as a hospital chaplain.  

Q: What brings you joy in your vocation as a brother? 

“One of the biggest things, and it’s tied into our vows, is the ability to love freely and be available to all. That brings me a lot of joy – that ability to be in different places at different times without being particularly bound to one ministry for the rest of my life. 

“There is newness at every turn in our lives. When will that happen? Who knows, but there's always that expectation of something new coming.” 

Br. Maynard Shurley, OFM 

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Defiance, Arizona 

Br. Maynard, of Navajo decent, shares the Franciscan charism through his work with the Navajo. Before becoming a friar, he worked at a power plant on the reservation close to his home and studied radiologic technology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Br. Maynard began to consider religious life in his late 20s. He had known the friars from an early age through their work on the reservation. He incorporates Catholicism and Navajo tradition into his work. 

Q: What brings you joy in your vocation as a brother? 

“Spiritually, the Navajo are in touch with their surroundings, in appreciation of God’s creation. That is not unlike St. Francis, our founder. He would make an exceptionally good Navajo; I have always believed. I find joy in that. 

“We all greet creation as our relatives and seek to live in harmony. My work allows me to participate in native traditions, too. We are proclaiming the word of God, teaching to love, sharing good. We are one people, through scripture, prayers, and by living examples.” 


A friar trims the hair of a man sitting in a barber's chair.

Br. Angel Vázquez, OFM 

St. Francis Inn, Philadelphia 

Fulfilling ministry is often a mixture of what’s needed and what one can offer. For Br. Angel, that means serving soup on weekdays and fresh haircuts for the homeless on weekends at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia. He has trained professionally as a barber and ran a small barber shop at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York, before moving to Philadelphia. 

Br. Angel was a high school counselor before becoming a friar, and his master's in counseling from Sage Graduate School in Troy, New York, comes in handy as he speaks with the people who sit in his chair. 

Q: What brings you joy in your vocation as a brother? 

“You’re with your fellow peers, and it doesn’t have to do with age, but mindset. We’re living our lives for others, showing God’s love through our actions. 

“What I love about Franciscans is that it’s whatever you bring to the table. When you serve in ministry, it’s not just about becoming a brother. It’s using your talents for God’s glory in any situation you find yourself in.” 

Br. Craig Wilking, OFM 

Queen of Peace Friary, Burlington, Wisconsin 

Br. Craig is a great example of how a man can bring his gifts and talents into the Order of Friars Minor and continue to use them as a Franciscan friar. He attended the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and worked in healthcare for 30 years before becoming a friar. 

He provided healthcare for the homeless in Chicago for 12 years and has helped establish healthcare processes for friars nationwide. Now he serves as guardian to sick and retired friars in Burlington, Wisconsin, 

Q: What brings you joy in your vocation as a brother?  

“All of us have different gifts that God has given us. How can we be best in service to ourselves and to others? For me, healthcare was my expression of that gift from God. I always say I got many more things out of healthcare than I ever brought to healthcare. 

“This ministry has enabled me to be part of the process with the friars and the aging community I’m in.” 

Is God calling you or someone you know to become a Franciscan? Our friars are here to answer your questions. Contact our Franciscan Vocation Ministry to get started.