For the 16th consecutive year, Franciscan Mission Service (FMS) missioners have just completed an annual training called the “Collaborative Formation Gathering.” First beginning in the autumn of 1996, the annual collaborative training of several Catholic lay missionary organizations in the United States seeks to create new forms of knowledge and praxis for overseas mission. With a generous grant from the Koch Foundation for 2011, four lay mission organizations (Comboni Missionaries, Franciscan Mission Serivce, Maryknoll Lay Missioners, and the Society of African Missions) were able to expand their partnership as a means to share and expand their visions of and preparation for international mission.

Most of the participants and staff enjoying a beautiful day
during the final days of CFG-DC. Photo: Daena Padilla
Beginning with an afternoon visit at the New York office of Franciscans International on October 19th, FMS’ lay mission candidates and program director, Rhegan Hyypio, spent a little over a week in Ossining, New York with the other lay mission groups at Bethany, Maryknoll’s lay mission building. Then, all four groups headed back down to Washington, D.C. for the final week of programming. Hosted by Franciscan Mission Service and the Society of African Missions, most of the sessions were held at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America. Throughout the 15 days of total programming, 24 individuals, in addition to program administrators and staff, benefited from fellowship and a wide variety of expert-led workshops and seminars relating to their future roles as missioners.

Topics and activities included…

  • Cross-cultural adaptation
  • A panel of returned missioners
  • Conflict management in cross-cultural ministry
  • Trauma preparation
  • Money in the hands of missioners
  • Theology of inculturation
  • An Aymara Mass
  • Theory of Catholic social teaching
  • Implementing Catholic social teaching and social analysis
  • Peace & justice with the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  • A spiritual retreat with Franciscan friar Fr. Mike Johnson, OFM
  • Healthy sexual integration in mission
  • Journaling in mission
  • Keeping healthy in mission
Thank you to all the participants and presenters, as well as the planners and hosts of the entire event!

Written by: Matt Lorch