WASHINGTON — The Franciscan Mission Service is accepting applications from Catholic laypeople interested in serving as missioners abroad. The next class begins in fall 2011.
The commitment in an impoverished country is three years, according to Kim Smolik, executive director. FMS has five missioners now serving in Bolivia, and has trained and supported more than 110 lay missioners in the past 20 years.
Missioners receive three months of formation and language training before leaving the United States and a one-month re-entry program at the end of service. FMS missioners come from all walks of life and cannot be more than 60 years old at the start of their service.
Thirty former missioners met in May for the 2010 Returned Missioner Retreat in Allenspark, Colo. Missioners gathered from across the world, some traveling from as far as the Philippines and Guatemala, to attend and renew one another in lifelong mission, according to Smolik. George Corrigan, OFM, who was in Kenya from 1996 to 1999, “inspired all with a presentation about the state of FMS and helped facilitate dialogue about the future of mission,” Smolik said.
This retreat was generously funded through the support of the Holy Name Province May Bonfils Stanton Memorial Trust, Smolik added. A slideshow of photos is posted on the FMS website.
George, of Sacred Heart Church, Tampa, Fla., also recently posted a blog on the FMS website. He discusses the definition of contemporary mission, and how Franciscans understand the concept. Called “Franciscan Mission in the Third Millennium,” George references John 20:21 — “As the Father has sent me, so I sent you” — as the context for mission.
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