FMS Celebrates 18 Years in Mission

Jocelyn Thomas Franciscan World

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Franciscan Mission Service celebrated 18 years in mission at its fourth annual mission and globalization lecture reception in November. The event, held in St. Francis Hall on the property of Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land here, highlighted the more than 90 missioners, celebrated the benefactors of the FMS, and raised $5,000.

Ursuline Sister Dianna Ortiz, the featured speaker at the Nov. 7 event, spoke about “Reverse Mission — Torture the Gospel and the U.S. Government Collide.” Ortiz gave a gripping presentation, according to the winter 2008 issue of the FMS newsletter, Franciscan World Care.

Ortiz, a founder of The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition(TASSC), that works to abolish torture in more than 150 countries, is a member of Assisi Community, a Catholic household located in the inner-city of Washington, D.C. She was part of TASSC until 2008, according to Joseph Nangle, OFM, who says that she “remains a force in its thrust.”

Ortiz wrote a book titled “The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth.”

In addition to the lecture, the evening included refreshments, a silent auction, and a slide and music presentation titled “FMS -— First Eighteen Years.” Joseph’s book, Engaged Spirituality, was one of many items included in the auction. Joseph served as FMS executive director for 12 years.

Masters of ceremony for the November evening were Don Clausen, interim FMS executive director and returned missioner, and Katie Mulembe, another returned missioner.

“Seeing images of our over 90 missioners through the years up on the big screen, serving overseas and engaged in reverse mission in the U.S., reminds us of the many blessings FMS has received, as well as the incredibly talented, faithful and committed lay missioners who have heard and answered the called to international mission,” theFranciscan World Care article said.

The evening raised more than $5,000 in support of international lay mission programs. Through the newsletter, the FMS team thanked all who contributed to the event, especially four benefactors, including Holy Name Province, which has contributed for all 18 years of the organization’s life, according to FMS Development Director Doug Garofalo.

The Franciscan Mission service, founded in 1990 by Franciscans from across the United States, has among its board members, George Corrigan, OFM, of Tampa, Fla.

Franciscan World Care was distributed in December after a brief hiatus while the organization experienced a transition in staff. Garafolo said in the newsletter, “We have been in a continued period of transition, as earlier in the year the new staff worked its way through the learning curves of new responsibilities.”

FMS board is in the final stages of interviewing for a new executive director, Garofalo said.

The 12-page winter issue of Franciscan World Care provides a detailed description of the stages of participation in FMS, from training through mission service to re-entry. Missioners include mainly lay men and women, as well as representatives of religious communities. They offer their skills and service to local communities of foreign countries, in areas such as healthcare, education, social service,  agriculture and pastoral ministry.

The newsletter also offered a prayer for Advent called,  “Hope in a Dark Time,” as well as information about purchasing greeting cards to benefit the FMS.

For information about the Franciscan Mission Service, visit its Web site, or phone Garofalo at 202-832-1762.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province