WASHINGTON — The Franciscan Mission Service has been sending lay missioners into the field for 20 years now and has scheduled its 20th Anniversary World Care Benefit and Celebration for Oct. 23, 7 p.m., at Trinity College here.
The event features Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, a well-known Franciscan priest, speaker and author, and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. His latest book is The Naked Now.
The FMS, founded in 1985, will honor Sister Barbara Fried, SMIC, and the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception with the Anselm Moons, OFM, Award.
FMS has set up a micro-site on its website for the anniversary, including a letter from Joseph Nangle, OFM, former FMS director. He wrote: “Since 1990 some 110 lay missioners have served among the extremely poor in 19 different countries. The majority of them have returned to take up work in the United States, which allows them to engage in mission to the so-called developed world.”
Joseph added, “One can imagine the sort of dramatic and varied experiences our missioners have lived through during the course of these 20 years. For example, one went overseas with a strong background in animal husbandry, but answered the need to start a cooperative in Central America for women who lacked the means to earn a fair price for their homemade handicrafts. Another became the unofficial chaplain for incarcerated men in an overcrowded Bolivian jail; still another was surrogate parent for orphaned African children dying of HIV/AIDS.”
He said, “Our people have served as an administrator in a university for indigenous men and women, as the sole health care provider in a rural town, as a radio talk show host, as a hospital CEO — the list goes on and on.”
The anniversary pages on the website also invite former missioners and supporters to post a memory. Also on the site, FMS is selling commemorative prints of Bolivian people by artist Lee Lechtenburg, a former missioner.
The October event includes live music by Andinay, a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres and more.
A $75 donation per person is being requested. Additional information can be found on the FMS website.