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Celebrating 20 Years of the ‘Ministry of Presence’


Click to see a slideshow of the event and videos here.

On October 23, 2010, Franciscan Mission Service celebrated its 20th Anniversary Benefit & Celebration to commemorate its rich history of laity in mission.

“From the start,” said Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM, former executive director, “Franciscan Mission Service has been oriented not just to walk with the poor of the world in other countries, but to the conversion of North America.”

During the course of the evening, two awards were given to individuals who have dedicated their lives to service and support of FMS:

  • The Anselm Moons, OFM Award was given to Sr. Barbara Fried, SMIC for her 17 years of devotion to FMS, designing the formation program’s curriculum and building fundraising strategies. The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception were honored for their contributions to FMS both through staffing and funding.
  • The Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM Lifetime Mission Award was given to Fr. George Corrigan, OFM for his steadfast commitment to both international and local mission, his service in Kenya as a FMS missioner, his work at his parish in Downtown Tampa, FL, and his consistent support of FMS.

With 400 guests in attendance, the event was the largest celebration in FMS’s history. In honor of the anniversary, renowned Franciscan author and speaker, Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM came to D.C. to give a morning retreat and the keynote address at the main event.

He noted that lay missioners had the means to transform North American society because of their willingness to look beyond “self-imposed grids” of society to truly encounter individuals they work with overseas.

Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, spoke about the role of missioners in transforming hearts. Follow the link to Fr. Richard Rohr’s talk.

“Missionaries,” Rohr said, “model that [transformational experience] of moving into the great dialogue, the great I/Thou relationship, the bigger picture beyond this isolated boundaried self.”

Guests were witness to the work and experiences of our missioners, who shared stories of the people they encountered overseas who became family to them. Where the evening was a reunion for some, it was an introduction for others to that “ministry of presence” that FMS has cultivated since Fr. Anselm’s founding vision enabled the first lay group to depart for mission in 1990.

L: Megeen White Testa presented Sr. Barbara Fried, SMIC with the Anselm Moons, OFM Award.

R: Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM presented Fr. George Corrigan with the Joe Nangle, OFM Lifelong Mission Award

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We prepare and support lay Catholics for two-year international, one-year domestic and 1-2 week short-term mission service opportunities in solidarity with impoverished and marginalized communities across the globe.

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