WASHINGTON, D.C. — After a month on the job, Kim Smolik, the new executive director of the Franciscan Mission Service (FMS) here, said she is touched by the deep commitment of the lay international mission program.
“I am drawn to the opportunity FMS creates for missioners to make partnerships in the field that lead to personal transformation and the building of a global community,” said Smolik, who recently earned a doctorate in clinical pedagogy from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. “The FMS mission creates the opportunity for its members to contribute to the social mission of the Church in a way that cannot be done individually.”
Smolik, who relocated from Minnesota and began her position March 1, has experience with international service and lay volunteer programs, said Patrick O’Neill, president of the FMS Board of Directors. “Kim is a person of faith, with commitment to social justice and work with laity in service.”
Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, traveled to Washington, D.C., recently to meet with Smolik. “She, Joe Nangle (OFM) and I had a very nice meeting, in which we discussed a broad range of topics,” John said, “from future plans for the FMS, to placement of missionaries, to finances, to the relationship of the FMS to the English-speaking Conference.”
Smolik said she looks forward to learning from and building upon the rich history of the organization.
“I welcome the opportunity to have conversations with as many of you as possible. I am interested in knowing how FMS has touched your life, why you support or are interested in the organization, and what your hopes are for its future. As the world around us continues to change, FMS will be asked to respond and grow in new ways. We invite and need our missioners, alumni and supporters to be a part of this process.”
O’Neill said that FMS is poised for the new challenges of a changing world.
“FMS continues its work in preparing new missioners for service, supporting them while away, and assisting them upon returning home for reverse-mission. Each of these tasks requires much devotion and faith on the part of FMS, in particular from the person who serves as director of the organization.”
At the same time that Smolik arrived at FMS, Don Clausen, interim executive director, and Doug Garofalo, development director, completed their service to FMS.
Other FMS news is reported in the Spring 2009 Franciscan World Care newsletter. Topics in this issue include:
• “Transfiguration in Action — Our Bolivian Based Missioners on Retreat” — tells the story of FMS missioners going on retreat at the Franciscan Monastery Convento San Francisco in Tarata, Bolivia.
• “On the Road Again” — a story about Jean and Lee Lechtenberg, missioners at a rural college in Carmen Pampa, Bolivia.
• “Franciscan Mission Service” — discusses how FMS continues to be a global community through its partnership with others, and lists its needs for sponsorship of missioners, underwriting costs, contributions towards a computer and other office equipment.
• “A Madonna of the Missions” — invites people to purchase note cards depicting FMS work in Bolivia. The assortment of cards includes a photo from last year’s Christmas card, and other shots taken over the past five years. Prices are $10 for a pack of eight, $12 for a pack of 10 cards.
The newsletter also mentions the April 16 anniversary of the papal approval of the Early Rule of St Francis by Pope Innocent III. “Without the foresight and dedication of our founder Anselm Moons, OFM, along with many other friars’ presence and assistance, we would not be writing to you today about us, the Franciscan Mission Service.”