FMS Commissions Three for Service

HNP Communications Around the Province

ARLINGTON, Va. — Joseph Nangle, OFM, a board member of the Franciscan Mission Service, celebrated two Masses in December to commission three lay missioners for service in Bolivia and Kenya.

Joseph presided at the well-attended Mass on Dec. 4 at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Arlington, to commission a writer-photographer and an educator-coach. Kitzi Hendricks and Michael Redell are leaving Jan. 12 for Cochabamba, Bolivia. Joe, a member of the parish staff, also celebrated a commissioning Mass for Susan Slavin, a civil rights attorney, who will leave Jan. 18 for Nairobi, Kenya.

The friar was instrumental in working with Hendricks and Redell through their formation process, including leading their final retreat and simple sending Mass on Dec. 9 at the FMS chapel. The two comprise the 27th class of lay FMS missioners.

“Writing of their intentions as they prepared for commissioning as lay missioners, Kitzi Hendricks and Mike Redell demonstrated a clear understanding of the Franciscan approach to mission,” said Joe, a Provincial Counselor. ”Each mentioned a desire to walk with the people of Bolivia, learn from them, and share Gospel values with all whom they meet during their three years there. Reading their statements reminded me of the words ascribed to Francis of Assisi: ‘preach the Gospel at all time, using words when necessary.’”

Hendricks and Redell will spend two years in Cochabamba. Their first few weeks will be at a language school while they discern what ministry would best use their gifts.

Earlier in the month, FMS commissioned Slavin, a member of the 26th class of lay missioners. Joe celebrated her simple commission Mass on Dec. 2. Though she completed formation last year, Slavin needed to delay her departure because of surgery. She will work at a legal clinic for internally displaced persons.

During Hendricks’ and Rendell’s Dec. 4 Mass, the two publicly accepted their call to mission and commitment to follow Christ’s lead through service.

A Pledge of Service
Their pledge of service read: “In the spirit of St. Francis and Clare, in the company of other members of the Franciscan family, I want to be present and serve people as their guest, friend, and visitor. I pledge my solidarity with the local mission community by living the Gospel and breaking bread with them.”

At the Mass, FMS program director Rhegan Hyypio presented the missioners with the Tau crosses they will wear in Bolivia. The congregation then extended its hands in the blessing of St. Francis.

The song of rejoicing after communion that was performed a cappella by the choir was written by Hendricks. Both she and Rendell, who are known to have good voices, anticipate using song to connect with the people of Bolivia.

“This is one of my favorite Masses of the year,” said Kim Smolik, FMS executive director. “Witnessing young people to give of themselves is an inspiration for all of us in attendance.”

A reception in the church hall followed Mass.

The Mass was a culmination of 13 weeks of formation during which missioners learn about mission, the Catholic Church, the Franciscan charism, social justice, peace, and the culture of Latin America, according to Smolik. They also volunteered regularly at a local homeless shelter.

Photos of the Mass can be found on the organization’s Facebook page.

fms-rAbout the Missioners
Hendricks, 22, is a writer, musician and photographer from Northern California. Redell, 26, is from Grand Rapids, Mich., and has a background in education and coaching. Slavin, 62, is “about to leave behind waterfront property on Long Island, her law practice of 25 years and the most challenging aspect for her — a 3-month-old grandson — to live without luxuries, away from friends and family while facing new challenges thousands of miles away,” according to a Catholic News Service story.

The three missioners are among several working around the world for FMS. Bryce and Sandra Bradford, a couple working in Zambia and who have helped to renovate the friars’ guest house there, are featured in the current issue of the FMS newsletter, Franciscan World Care.

The newsletter also mentions that FMS is in need of a van donation, as its van is 11 years old and, as they say, “is at the end of its life.” Details are available through Smolik at FMS staff members can arrange to pick up the donated van.

FMS also advises its friends and supporters that its newsletter is soon going to an electronic-only version. Subscribers can be added by sending an email to, with the subject line “Newsletter.”

— Wendy Healy, a Connecticut-based writer, is a frequent contributor to HNP Today.