Franciscan Mission Service Launches Sunday Symposium Series

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

WASHINGTON — A variety of Franciscan-hearted people — lay men and women, friars and sisters — gathered Jan. 29 for the first in a series of Sunday Soup Symposia being offered by the Franciscan Mission Service. It featured Bread for the World’s Sr. Margaret Mary Kimmins, OSF, who presented a reflection on “Francis in his time, Franciscan in ours.” Sr. Margaret Mary, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, serves on the Washington Theological Union’s board of trustees.

A Sunday night post on the FMS Facebook page thanked everyone who came to the “souposium.”

This and future gatherings, held at the Casa San Salvador on Quincy Street, aim to “share and celebrate the Franciscan spirit,” according to an event flyer. They are scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of every month, said FMS director Kim Smolik.

FMS development director Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, is preparing the soup for each program. Among the friars who attended Sunday’s program were Michael Blastic, OFM, Stephen DeWitt, OFM, Daniel Horan, OFM, Erick Lopez, OFM, and Fr. Jeremy Harrington, OFM, guardian of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington.

Dan, whose first book, Dating God, is being released this month, will be the speaker for the next symposium on Feb 26.

The FMS team looks forward to “gathering a community of Franciscan-hearted people in the D.C. area,” according to the flyer.

Information about the symposium series is available from the Franciscan Mission Service office by phone (202-832-1762) or email (

Though the programs are free, donations are being accepted. “Do not let that stop you from coming,” said Smolik, who is aiming to hold these monthly gatherings throughout the year. The FMS has scheduled speakers for the symposia through April.

The Franciscan Mission Service welcomes those who are interested in supporting its work — either locally or in a foreign location — to contact its staff. Information about its 2012 fundraiser, set for March 16, and the FMS “discernment days” planned for this spring is available online.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.