Meet the Friars

All things for Christ -- Prayer, Fraternity, Joy & Service

Serving ‘Every Human Creature for God’s Sake’

The Franciscan Renewal Center is led by priests who are dedicated to serving the poor and promoting justice, peace, care of creation, and reconciliation in the joyful and prophetic spirit of St. Francis. They belong to the brotherhood of the Order of Friars Minor as part of the Province of Saint Barbara, which works cooperatively with The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

The Order of Friars Minor was created in 1209 to serve as missionaries around the world with this simple instruction from St. Francis of Assisi: announce the Word of God and “be subject to every human creature for God’s sake.” They act first for others, not for themselves.

In residence:

Fr. Joe Schwab, OFM, Executive Director of the Franciscan Renewal Center

Joe-CropJoseph Henry Schwab was born in Cincinnati and moved to Phoenix as a teenager, where he graduated from Arcadia High School. His first exposure to the Franciscan Renewal Center was in high school, when he did odd jobs such as setting up meeting rooms, cleaning and making beds, helping in the kitchen and on the grounds. He later attended college at Phoenix College and Arizona State University, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Religious Studies and a minor in Biology. Today, he is a lifetime member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key National Honor Society.

It was in 1978 that Joe read the life of St. Francis and was “really impressed” with one man’s ability to make such a lasting difference in the world. Joe chose to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis. He entered the Novitiate of the Order and later was ordained a priest. He continued his education by completing a Master of Theology degree from the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif. He lived in Guatemala City to complete his Master’s thesis about education among the impoverished. He holds certifications in Contemporary Spirituality the Kino Institute, a Theology Update Certification from the International Study Centre at Canterbury, England, and in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Notre Dame.

Fr. Joe has served as a part-time teacher at various schools in Phoenix, as Vicar at Old Mission Santa Barbara in California, Guardian at St. Elizabeth’s Friary in Oakland, Calif., and as secretary to the Provincial of the Province of Saint Barbara. Since 1998, Fr. Joe has served as executive director of the Franciscan Renewal Center.

In addition to his professional activities, he leads annual pilgrimages to Assisi, Italy and enjoys gardening, hiking, bicycling, recorded books, exercising, missions, Colonial art and cooking.

Fr. Joe’s family includes his mother, Beatrice Carle Schwab; brother, William; sister, Bonnie; four nephews, two nieces, three grandnieces, one grand nephew, and dozens of cousins.

Fr. Daniel Barica, OFM, Rector of the Church of Our Lady of the Angels

Fr. Daniel was born in Riverside (Chicago) Illinois in 1961, the third of four children born to Joseph and Margaret Barica, of Czech heritage. The family moved to Hollywood, Florida in 1968, where most of his schooling took place. Daniel holds a B.A. in Art from Florida Atlantic University (’83) with a concentration in photography and an M.A. in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia (’88).

Fr. Daniel joined the Saint Barbara Province of Franciscans, entering postulancy in Portland, Oregon in 1991, after spending the summer of 1991 at the Casa as a Covenant Worker. His education continued with the Franciscans with an M.Div. degree from the Franciscan School of Theology in 1998. His solemn profession into the Franciscan order was in August, 1998, and he was ordained a priest in 1999 at Mission Santa Barbara.

Ministry assignments included his time at St. Barbara parish before his ordination, then at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Los Angeles (2001-2006) where he became pastor in 2003. Later he was sent back to St. Barbara Parish at the Mission as pastor from 2006-2012. Fr. Daniel just finished an assignment as pastor at Sts. Simon & Jude Church in Huntington Beach from 2012-2020.

Daniel spends most of his free time learning new things to cook, as well as engaging nature through bird watching, gardening and photography, where he likes to “focus” his lens on the natural beauty of God’s creation. A website featuring his nature photos, calendars and note cards is in the making!

Fr. Page Polk, OFM, Pastoral Minister

Fr. Page was born and reared in Dallas, TX, and has a background in education, psychology, guidance, and counseling. Before entering the Franciscan Order, he taught children with special educational needs. He holds a B S. degree from East Texas State University and has advanced degrees from the University of Northern Colorado and East Texas State University. He also holds an M. Div degree from The Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL. He is a member of the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati, OH, and continues to serve on their Provincial Council.

He has served as the Director of the Catholic Chaplain Corps for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and as the Director of Vocations for the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist. He recently was part of an Inter-Provincial team of three friars asked by the seven U.S. Provincial Ministers to research the process for revitalizing and restructuring Franciscan life in the United States.

Fr. Page works in collaboration with Our Lady of the Angels leadership in the planning and execution of liturgical celebrations and provides pastoral care to the community. He also collaborates with the FRC staff responsible for the Adult and Children’s Catechesis programs and Faith Formation programs and provides support for Sustainability and Endowment endeavors. Fr. Page also leads Franciscan pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

Fr. Vincent Nguyen, OFM, Pastoral Minister

Father Vincent Nguyen, OFM comes from a family with eight siblings. His father was a political prisoner for seven years after the fall of Saigon. Because of this, his whole family was allowed to take a political refuge in 1994 to the U.S.A., where sis family settled in the city of Huntington Beach, California.

He joined the Franciscan Province of Saint Barbara in 2003 and made solemn profession in 2009. He was assigned to the Casa in 2013 for a year to have a pastoral experience and to learn the program of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Thunderbird hospital. He was ordained at Sts. Simon & Jude parish in Huntington Beach, CA in 2017, where he served before his assignment at the Casa.

Father Vincent is known as a “funny priest” for his great sense of humor, especially when he delivers his homily. He created the San Damiano Crucifix in the Our Lady of the Angels Church and has a great love of priestly ministry and liturgy.

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