NEW YORK — The Province’s Franciscan Missionary Union has a new website. Launched earlier this month, it provides information about the organization as well as about educational travel opportunities. The web address, FMUunion.org, has remained the same.
“The changes to the website reflect the new focus of the FMU, which is offering international and domestic mission trips to friars and to laypeople,” said Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, the Province’s moderator for missions and evangelization.
The website also includes resources for parishes wishing to enter into a sister-parish ministry, said Paul, who planned the design and content of the site. One of the new programs on the FMU site is a section on how to obtain a grant from the FMU. “This program gives the FMU an opportunity to give to Franciscan projects that are not already well funded and that do not have much prospect of finding other funding opportunities.”
The FMU’s goal is described on the website: to offer ordinary Catholics an encounter with diverse cultures — from the street children and orphans of Nairobi to the chronically homeless inhabitants of Washington, D.C. — so that everyone involved can experience the grace of Christ more fully. Mission represents an opportunity for the people of non-Christian cultures to encounter the Church in its concrete form and for individual Catholics to be transformed by the holiness contained in the traditions of those cultures.
“At the heart of our programs is the idea of ‘reverse mission,’ which refers to the gifts that local churches receive from their missionary activities abroad,” according to the site. “By extending missionary opportunities to lay Catholics, we believe the Church will reap the rewards of a new generation of Catholics, capable of responding, with a missionary spirit, to the changing times.”
“This new website will help both the FMU and its partnering entities — schools and varied ministries — promote the many initiatives in which the FMU has been involved,” said Paul in an email to friends and partners-in-ministry. “A big part of the website is dedicated to mission trips and mission trip resources.”
One of the website’s new features includes a password-protected section where trip participants can access itineraries, contracts, pre-trip preparation documents, readings, and other resources.
“The site offers information in an inviting and creative way,” said David Convertino, OFM, executive director of the HNP Development Office. “Paul has done great work in updating the FMU site, and making it very attractive and user friendly.”
The FMU site will be linked to the websites of colleges and universities with which Paul works, making it easier for students and other frequent users to access the website. They include Siena College and St. Bonaventure University as well as the University of Georgia, where the friars staff the Catholic Center, and the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Paul is planning a variety of trips for 2016. The FMU’s trips usually last between one to two weeks.
Before joining the friars, Paul spent six years on mission in Ghana and Kenya. He currently lives in Boston at St. Anthony Shrine on Arch Street.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.
- “Ministries Enhance Digital Presence” — Oct. 28, 2015, HNP Today
- “Mission Trip Opportunities Expand Through Franciscan Missionary Union” — July 21, 2015, HNP Today
- “Paul O’Keeffe Visits South Africa” — March 27, 2013, HNP Today