The award was created to honor the founder of Franciscan Mission Service and to recognize an individual who exemplifies the organization’s mission and Franciscan values. It is presented during the World Care Annual Benefit and Celebration.

About Anselm Moons

Dutch Franciscan friar Fr. Anselm Moons, OFM, passed away on  Nov. 14, 2016. A native of Holland, he served as a missionary in Pakistan for 25 years and then traveled widely as a member of the General Council of the Franciscan Order in Rome. In 1985, he came to the U.S. at the request of a group of North American Franciscan friars (OFM) to help prepare friars for overseas mission.

But Fr. Moons deeply believed in the role of the laity in the Church, and wished to encourage them in their desire to go on mission. He believed the “laity are the future of the Church.” With the support of the North American Franciscan friars, Fr. Moons started the Lay Mission Formation Program in 1989 to offer lay Catholics the opportunity to serve overseas in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare. The first Franciscan Mission Service class was commissioned and sent into the field in 1990.

Fr. Moons was convinced that the missionary task of the Catholic Church extends not only to impoverished areas of the world but also to places of power, affluence and privilege. For this reason, missioners are called to lifelong mission in North America after their service abroad, by drawing on the knowledge, skills, and faith development that were part of their overseas mission experience as the basis for their commitment to social change in the North American Church and society.


In His Own Words

Fr. Anselm Moon’s articles from the World Care newsletter:

The Challenge of Lay Missioners,” 1990.

Laity Co-Lead with Clergy,” 1991.

Past Awardees

2021: The Father McKenna Center

The 2021 Anselm Moons Award was presented to all the staff members, volunteers, and board members of The Fr. McKenna Center. Founded in 1983 with the mission of “Meeting Needs…Reclaiming Lives,” the Center provides support to men struggling with homelessness and to families experiencing food insecurity in Ward 6. Its ministry is rooted in the Ignatian tradition and continues the legacy of compassionate service begun by Fr. Horace McKenna, S.J. (1899-1982), who became known as Washington’s “priest to the poor.”

In addition to receiving a warm welcome and a warm meal, guests who are struggling with homelessness have the opportunity to work through the “Better Life Pyramid,” developed by Cortez McDaniel, Director of Services. With the support of intensive case management and a community of other men striving to reclaim their lives, guests that successfully work the Better Life Pyramid, complete the Center’s program, and remain independent and stable for at least a year are recognized as a “McKenna Man.”

In 2016, The Fr. McKenna Center and FMS began a special partnership when the Center welcomed its first volunteer, Ali Cyr (née Sentmanat), from the newly-established DC Service Corps program. Since then, the Center has welcomed eight other year-long volunteers (listed in order of service year) including Nayeli Garcia, Matthew Fichter, Michael Broughton, Domonique Thompson, Emily Dold, Erin Brown, and, most recently, Chris Zaragoza and Lauren Barry. Four of these volunteers–Nayeli, Matthew, Michael, and Emily–have gone on to work at the Center, further deepening their experience of servant leadership. In addition, the Center has also consistently hosted missioners in Formation and mission immersion groups for shorter experiences of the ministry of presence.

Looking back on the years of partnership with The Fr. McKenna Center, FMS is filled with joy for the myriad ways in which the lives of FMS volunteers, missioners, and staff have been intertwined with the lives of guests, volunteers, and staff at the Center. From yearly participation in the “Walk4McKenna” to the exciting moments when DC Service Corps applicants are officially invited to serve at the Center, each program year–for both organizations–is marked by meaningful collaboration and service in our DC home.

Congratulations, The Fr. McKenna Center, and thank you for all the ways you minister to and with God’s people!

2020: Beth Riehle

Although the 2020 World Care Benefit and Celebration was cancelled because of the pandemic, we were thrilled to celebrate Beth Riehle, the 2020 recipient of the Anselm Moons Award, at our 2021 World Care Benefit and Celebration! Beth was inspired by the life of Saint Francis at an early age, taking ‘Francis’ as her confirmation name.

Beth was educated by the Oldenburg Franciscan Sisters from first through eighth grade, and later at Marian College. After graduating, she participated in two years of domestic volunteer work and then returned to work at Marian for thirteen years as the Director of in Community Ministries.

Beth was commissioned to El Salvador by Franciscan Mission Service in 2006 where she served for three years as a lay missioner. Upon returning, she was the program director for FMS for one more year. In 2010, Beth bought a one-way ticket to El Paso, Texas, after feeling called to assist the School Sisters of St. Francis with their work along the U.S./Mexico border. It was in El Paso that she became aware of immigrant injustices. Following the corporal works of mercy (Matthew 25: 34-36) is at the heart of her ministry:

  • FEEDING those who are HUNGRY and THIRSTING to understand the reality of the migrant. Beth gives presentations in different parts of the country, and facilitates for the Encuentro Project, an immersion program for people who come to the El Paso/Juarez border.
  • CLOTHING THE NAKED by assisting vulnerable migrants who have been returned to Mexico to await their asylum process.
  • WELCOMING THE STRANGER by working alongside thousands of volunteers, offering hospitality to angels (Hebrews 13:1-2), our migrant brothers and sisters.
  • CARING FOR THE SICK in offering healing/prayer circles, for caregivers/volunteers who put in tireless hours accompanying the migrants.
  • VISITING the IMPRISONED: Accompanying detained migrants through visitation and creating a support group Sisters Advocating in Support and Solidarity (SASS) that assist those detained.
  • BURYING the DEAD: Offering comfort to family members who have lost loved ones along the migrant journey and accompanying families who mourn the loss of country, freedom, and their way of life.

In addition, Beth currently facilitates formation for those preparing to serve internationally in mission, as well as the Re-entry Retreat for Franciscan Mission Service.

2019: Jeff & Teresa Redder, OFS

What does being “side by side in the vineyard” look like for Jeff and Teresa Redder, OFS?  Well, for starters, it looks like a marriage of 43 years.  It looks like raising four children and helping raise six grandchildren.  It looks like having served in the United States Airforce in aircraft maintenance and logistics.

For some, walking side by side in these ways would be enough to fill the hours of the day—and then some.  But Jeff and Teresa are people who long for more. They have a passion for service, community, and prayer that drew them to become professed members of the Secular Franciscan Order 27 years ago, on Jeff’s birthday!  

As members of the Holy Assumption Fraternity in the St. Katharine Drexel Region, Jeff and Teresa have shared the Franciscan spirit through their ministries in diverse settings.  Jeff has taught 8th grade confirmation classes 35 years and serves as fraternity Minister.  Teresa has been a prison minister at the men’s county jail for 21 years and is the fraternity’s Formation Director.  Both are lifelong scouting leaders, serve on their parish’s RCIA team, and visit Jamaica annually for a medical mission in Kingston, where they have met several FMS missioners.

So how did Jeff and Teresa get to know FMS? Through none other than former FMS Executive Director, Fr. Joe Nangle!  After attending Fr. Joe’s breakout session at the Secular Franciscan National Quinquennial Congress in 1997, Jeff and Teresa helped make FMS one of the key apostolates of their fraternity. From praying for FMS to remembering missioner birthdays, and from contributing to missioner support-raising to sponsoring annual event tables for young adults, Jeff and Teresa are an integral part of the life of FMS, and we are thrilled to honor them with this year’s Anselm Moons Award.

Congratulations, and thank you for all the ways you minister to God’s people, including those that minister to other through service with FMS!

2018: Fr. Ignacio 'Iggy' Harding, OFM
Parochial Vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Triangle, VA, lifelong missioner, and former director of the Franciscan Center for Social Concern in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

2017: Sr. Damon Nolan, MFIC, Sr. Jean Morrissey, MFIC, Sr. Chris Cullen, MFIC
Founders and visionaries of the Unidad Academica Campesina-Carmen Pampa (Bolivia)
2016: Fr. Larry Snyder

Fr. Larry Snyder wrote Think and Act Anew: How Poverty in America Affects Us All and What We Can Do About It, which calls for commitment to innovative approaches to combating poverty. His writings are based on his 10 years as the president of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), the national office of more than 160 Catholic Charities agencies that provide help and create hope for more than 9 million people a year. Under Fr. Snyder’s leadership, CCUSA led responses to natural disasters, helped establish the creation of a first-of-its-kind domestic anti-poverty lab, launched a national social innovation initiative, and continued to serve as an advocate for those in poverty before Congress and the White House. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Snyder to the President’s Advisory Council of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

In a previous role as CEO of Catholic Charities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Fr. Snyder founded a full-time lay service organization for young adults. In his new role as Vice President for Mission at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, Fr. Snyder promotes service as a way to recognize the connectedness between all human beings and all of creation.

“I have tried to promote engagement with individuals and communities in need my whole life. It is truly in that human exchange that transformation of individuals and society can take place,” Snyder said. “I believe in the principles of service and engagement and share them with Franciscan Mission Service. Some truly remarkable people have received this award and I am honored to be numbered in their company.”

2015: Fr. John O'Connor, OFM
From 2005 to 2014, Fr. John served as Provincial Minister of the Holy Name Province of Franciscan Friars, continuing its legacy as one of FMS’ greatest partners and benefactors. Because of his deep commitment to mission and lay partnerships, he was a champion of FMS long before joining the board. In a newly-created executive position within the Order of Friars Minor, he works directly with the Minister General to lead the funding of missions and formation of friars in developing countries. The Brooklyn native also serves in pastoral ministry at St. Francis Church in Triangle, Va., and has been a major contributor to youth ministry and Catholic education at a national level. In a previous role as CEO of Catholic Charities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Fr. Snyder founded a full-time lay service organization for young adults. In his new role as Vice President for Mission at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, Fr. Snyder promotes service as a way to recognize the connectedness between all human beings and all of creation. “I have tried to promote engagement with individuals and communities in need my whole life. It is truly in that human exchange that transformation of individuals and society can take place,” Snyder said. “I believe in the principles of service and engagement and share them with Franciscan Mission Service. Some truly remarkable people have received this award and I am honored to be numbered in their company.”
2014: Jack Jezreel

Franciscan Mission Service is pleased to celebrate Jack Jezreel for his more than 30 years of working with parishes and dioceses to form new disciples for peace, justice, and hope by encouraging parishioners to engage in outreach and social change.

Mr. Jezreel is the founder and president of JustFaith Ministries, which creates and supports formation processes intended to inspire commitment to social mission. The program has had extraordinary results and has been recognized nationally as a potent strategy for empowering social ministry. We celebrate the lasting impact Mr. Jezreel and JustFaith have already had on more than 40,000 parishioners across the country, including some of our own lay missioners.

Mr. Jezreel holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy and religion from Furman University and a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Notre Dame. Before directing his attention to formative education, he spent six years in a Catholic Worker community, providing basic and emergency services to homeless men and women in Colorado. From there he moved to a parish in Louisville, Kentucky, where he developed JustFaith. He still lives in Louisville, is married to Maggie, and they have three adult daughters.

It is because of his unwavering dedication to transforming the North American Church through lay formation that encourages social mission that we honor Mr. Jezreel.

2013: Sr. Pat Farrell, OFS

Franciscan Mission Service is pleased to celebrate Sr. Pat Farrell for her humble and prayerful leadership and her courageous commitment to Gospel living.

Sr. Pat is the past-president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents 80 percent of women religious in the U.S. The LCWR assists their members in furthering the mission of Christ by fostering dialogue and collaboration among congregations, and by initiating and strengthening relationships with groups concerned with the needs of society.

As a Sister of St. Francis of Dubuque, Sr. Pat currently serves as a vice president in the congregation’s leadership. While her early ministries included teaching in high schools and parishes in the U.S., she felt called to serve in Latin America as a missioner.

In 1980, Sr. Pat began her service in Chile during Augusto Pinochet’s violent dictatorship. After spending about five years at a parish, she served in the capital as part of the nonviolent resistance movement. In 1986 Sr. Pat went to El Salvador, where a bloody civil war was raging that threatened the lives of even Catholic religious and lay missioners. She worked in a refugee camp and tried to help resettle residents in the city of Suchitoto by communicating with the military leaders and guerrillas. She also worked as a peacemaker and bridge-builder between Salvadorans divided into factions of the rebel movement.

It is because of this unwavering commitment of service to the poor, advocacy for the marginalized, and faithful living of the Gospel that we honor Sr. Pat.

2012: Ambassador Thomas P. Melady & Dr. Margaret Melady
Ambassador Thomas P. Melady and his wife Dr. Margaret Badum Melady have worked to build bridges of peace and reconciliation between cultures, races and governments for more than 50 years. We recognize in particular their ambassadorial service to Burundi, Uganda and the Holy See. Their experience in international relations has allowed them to make important contributions to American diplomacy, public and ecclesial affairs, and education.

In the 1950s and ’60s, Ambassador Melady noticed that Africa was on the brink of change and independence. He enthusiastically sought ways to become active in African affairs, first with the Africa Service Institute. Sponsored by the Catholic Interracial Council of New York, ASI strengthened the relationship between U.S. and Africa and supplemented weak American outreach to developing countries. Through ASI, the Meladys assisted African diplomats and officials living in the New York area, in addition to helping African students find housing and part-time jobs during in an era of strong American racial tensions.

Today, Ambassador Melady serves as Senior Diplomat in Residence at The Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC. Dr. Margaret Melady is president of Melady Associates, a firm specializing in public affairs and educational consulting. Together they recently authored “Ten African Heroes: The Sweep of Independence in Black Africa” (Orbis, 2011), in which they discuss their experiences in Africa from 1961 to 1967.

Update: Ambassador Melady passed away on Jan. 6, 2014 at the age of 86. Our prayers are with Dr. Melady and their family. 

2010: Sr. Barbara Fried, SMIC
Sr. Barbara Fried, SMIC, joined the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in 1965, after serving with them for two years as a lay volunteer nurse in Taiwan. She returned to Taiwan again in 1976 for four years before being called to serve in the U.S. in provincial administration. In 1989 she was invited by Fr. Anselm Moons, OFM, to join the founding team of FMS. Sr. Barbara served as an integral member of the FMS staff for 17 years, aiding in programming, spiritual direction, and the overall growth of the organization. She retired from full-time ministry in 2008, but still is in regular contact with the FMS missioners and staff.

2009: Russel Testa and Megeen White Testa
Husband and wife Russell, founder of Franciscan Action Network, and Megeen White Testa, returned missioner and former co-director, have been supporters of FMS for many years. Megeen was in FMS’ first lay mission class, serving in Zimbabwe and Zambia from 1990-93. She was the Associate Director of US Catholic Mission Association for several years, before serving as FMS Co-Director from 2001-2008. She is currently a member of the FMS Board of Directors. Russell is the founding Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network (FAN), a U.S. based Franciscan institutional effort to lend an effective voice to advocacy efforts for inclusive social transformation; he currently serves as an ex officio member of the organization’s Board of Directors. He is also director of the Office for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of the Holy Name Province of the Order of Friars Minor. Megeen and Russ presently live in Wheaton, Maryland with their dog, Clare.

2008: Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU
Sr. Dianna Ortiz is a U.S. citizen who was held and tortured by Guatemalan security forces and an American working with them. Prior to her abduction in November 1989, she had been working as an Ursuline nun in Guatemala and teaching young children in a rural area of that country. Sr. Dianna is a staff member of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA, a founder and former coordinator of the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Committee (TASSC), and a founder and former co-chair of Coalition Missing, an advocacy group of U.S. citizens who survived political violence in Guatemala. She has done significant advocacy around human rights and preventing torture.

2007: Marie Dennis
Marie Dennis is the director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. She is a laywoman and mother of six adult children, and has worked for Maryknoll since 1989. Her areas of focus in the office are Africa and the global economy, particularly debt. She has written a number of books, including St. Francis and the Foolishness of God and Oscar Romero: Reflections on His Life and Writings. She is the co-president of Pax Christi International and serves as an Ambassador of Peace for Pax Christi USA. Marie is a member of the Assisi Community in Washington, D.C. and is a contributing editor for Sojourners magazine.

2006: Fr. Joseph Nangle, OFM
Fr. Joseph Nangle, OFM served twelve years as the Co-Director of Franciscan Mission Service. He spent fifteen years as a missioner in Bolivia and Peru and is currently engaged in ministry to the Hispanic community of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Arlington, Virginia. Fr. Joe is also a member of the Assisi Community in Washington, DC, an intentional Catholic community of lay and religious men and women dedicated to a simple life-style and social change.

2005: Sr. Dorothy Stang
Marguerite Hohm accepted, for her sister, Sr. Dorothy Stang, a nun murdered in Brazil for advocating for the rights of poor farmers.

In 1948, at age 17, Dorothy Stang joined the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She showed a passion for mission, and in 1966 was sent to the sisters’ province in Brazil. She ministered primarily to the rural poor, and gradually became an advocate for their rights, denouncing the wealthy landowners, ranchers, and illegal loggers who were destroying their livelihood. For this she was subjected to harassment and received numerous death threats. On February 12, 2005, Sr. Dorothy was shot and killed by two men hired by local landowners. When confronted by the killers, she had opened her Bible and begun to read from the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” After numerous trials, four men are now serving prison terms for the crime.