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Mission and Service

All Aboard to Tucson: Facing My Fears. Mission Accepted.

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Julia Pinto reflects on how God strengthens her to face her fear of driving so that she can serve migrants at her ministry site. March 13, 2024 Lengthy disclaimer: When you go on mission, especially to do some hot-topic work like humanitarian aid on the US-Mexico border, people often act like…

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The Spirituality of Hello and Goodbye

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps volunteer Jennifer Eburuoh contemplates being fully present even in brief interactions through a concept that she calls “the spirituality of hello and goodbye.” Being halfway through my service year, I would like to share an unexpected grace that I have begun to call the spirituality of hello and goodbye. This…

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Silent Accompaniment

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps volunteer Noah Duclos shares a thoughtful reflection on God’s stillness and silence in a Bible passage and how this inspires his way of accompanying others. This week, I’d like to share a reflection on 1 Kings 19:9-13. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you…

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Embracing Connections

Editor’s Note: As she waits for her time on mission to begin, lay missioner Susan Sarkissian reconnects with friends and family members and cherishes her relationships with her loved ones. When the FMS Formation ended in November 2023, I knew I had a long wait for my Jamaican Visa to be approved. My heart and…

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An Appeal for Prison Ministers Everywhere

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Mari Snyder describes her experience serving in prison ministry and encourages others to perform this corporal act of mercy. I’ll miss climbing up into Norma’s white pickup truck and heading north 7.5 miles, speaking with my friend in my best “slow and halting” Spanish. We can stop shielding our eyes from…

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Holy Ground

Editor’s note: Reflecting on the Scriptural concept of “holy ground,” missioner Joleen Johnson ponders how each person she encounters, created in the image of God, is inviting her to holy ground. Have you ever thought about why God told Moses to take off his sandals when he came over to the burning bush? The story…

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Breaking Down Walls

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Julia Pinto, who serves in the US-Mexico border region, describes an encounter with a woman whom she serves both physically and emotionally at the Migrant Resource Center. We had months of attending to very few people at CRM, the Migrant Resource Center. The number of people I attended to in my…

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DC Transportation Woes: An Unlikely, but Valuable, Lesson of Franciscan Spirituality

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Bohdan O’Shaughnessy has an unlikely experience of ministry of presence while taking public transportation. One of the great aspects of living in DC is the accessibility of public transportation. Last Saturday night, after catching up with a close friend from high school who lives in the nearby NoMa neighborhood,…

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All Great and Precious Things

Editor’s note: Inspired by a quote from John Steinbeck, missioner Julia Pinto reflects on what loneliness is teaching her while serving on mission in the US-Mexico border region. She shows up and greets us in the crowded gathering, office cubicle, family home, jail cell, big city, small town. We often ignore her, distracting ourselves with…

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The Long Walk

Editor’s note: Not all formation comes from a classroom or book.  Missioner-in-formation Ralph Anderson, OFS, shares what he learned on a self-directed day during his 3-month Formation program in Washington, DC. I can hardly  believe that I have been living at Casa San Salvador in Washington DC for six weeks. Time has flown by. I…

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What It Was Like on the Border When Title 8 Sunset Title 42

Editor’s note: When Title 42 was ended in May, missioner Mari Snyder and the organizations where she serves were preparing to support an influx of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border. She shares her reflections on the experience. It’s been just a few months since the May 11th reinstatement of Title 8, with the end of…

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Finding My Center in Nature

Editor’s note: After moving across the country to Washington, DC, missioner-in-formation Kim Wagner shares the ways that nature has kept her grounded in prayer and peace during this season of transition. These past few months have been a season of transition for me. Between saying goodbye to my Jesuit Volunteer Corps intentional community in May,…

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Mystical Body of Christ

Editor’s note: Victor Artaiz, a missioner serving in Bolivia, reflects on the ways he sees the “mystical body of Christ”—that is, the Christian community—alive and committed to service in Cochabamba. In mission, we who have left home and family to accompany others living on the margins in other countries are encouraged and nourished by the…

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A Community of Accompaniment

Editor’s note: A dear partner of FMS and supporter of our missioners in Jamaica, Sister Maureen Clare, passed away in May. In this reflection, missioner Joleen Johnson, who lives in a convent in Kingston with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, reflects on the ministry of presence that the sisters and other convent residents showed toward…

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Memorials on the Migrant Trail

Editor’s note: Each year, an organization called The Migrant Trail in Arizona leads a solidarity walk across the US-Mexico border and through a well-traversed valley, giving walkers a chance to experience the region and bear witness to the place where thousands of people in migration have lost their lives. This year, missioners Mari and Julia…

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Video: Life as a Franciscan Missioner on the US-Mexico Border

Editor’s note: Lay missioner Julia Pinto takes us on a journey through her daily life and ministry as a Franciscan missioner on the US-Mexico border.   Question for reflection:  What part of daily life as a missioner on the US-Mexico border surprises you?  Where do you see God at work in Julia’s ministry?

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Finding Hope in Seemingly Hopeless Situations

Editor’s Note: When someone asks DC Service Corps member Sam Goodyear what she does for a living, she is always a bit unsure how to respond. Here, Sam gives us a full answer with a glimpse at her challenging but rewarding work at the UN Refugee Agency. She shares her experience talking with migrants and…

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Small Acts

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Matthew Hinderberger recalls a small act of service that he witnessed during his ministry at Christ House, and reflects on how our Catholic faith draws us toward others in service.  “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves…

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A Day in the Life at a Franciscan Convent

Editor’s note: When missioner Joleen Johnson found out that she had a day off from her ministry at primary school, she made a plan for how she wanted to spend her time.  But the day unfolded much differently than she expected, with many opportunities for ministry of presence with the residents of the Franciscan convent…

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Happy Easter – Feliz Pascua

Editor’s Note: In the Christian calendar, Easter is not just one day, but a whole season to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  As it comes to a close this Sunday with Pentecost, Missioner Victor Artaiz reflects on how he and his Franciscan community share Easter joy in the 50 days of the season. We Franciscans…

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An Interview with Sister Grace

Editor’s Note: In this video blog, Overseas Lay Missioner Joleen Johnson interviews Sister Grace, a Sister of Allegany in Kingston, Jamaica. Sister Grace shares her story of joining the Franciscan sisters and learning to love and serve the poor and marginalized of our communities. Question for Reflection: How have you developed your lifelong ministry? In…

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Food and Friends and Photography

Editor’s note: Recognizing that we can practice Franciscan values in all aspects of life and work, DC Service Corps volunteer Jarrett Murano practices humility by centering the desires of the client in his graphic design ministry at Food & Friends. At Food & Friends, one of my current projects is to make postcards to reach…

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Kindness

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Erin Frances Reinhart, who ministers with Little Friends for Peace, shares the impact of a peace education workshop for students on kindness. Little Friends for Peace provides in-school and after-school programming for students at many sites, including schools in Riverdale Park, Maryland, Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington, DC. I have…

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The Way the Wildflowers Grow

Editor’s Note: Happy Earth Day! In this poem, Julia Pinto, a missioner on the US-Mexico Border region, reflects on the ever-changing and adaptable nature of desert wildflowers. Through verse, Julia compares herself to these wildflowers, and shares how her experience on mission has forever changed her and her way of life.  Experience has taught me…

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Loneliness and Resilience

Editor’s note: Hogar Nuestra Casa, a home for girls who have experienced sexual abuse, is one of missioner Domonique Thompson’s ministry sites in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Reflecting on accompanying the girls through holidays like Christmas and Father’s Day, she recognizes how this ministry has expanded her understanding of both the impact of trauma and the power…

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Designing My Ministry of Presence

Editor’s note: Through his ministry at Food & Friends, DC Service Corps volunteer Jarrett Murano both designs communications materials and makes food deliveries of medically-tailored groceries to clients who live with life-challenging illnesses.  He views both parts of his ministry as accompaniment. The holiday season is always a great time to reflect. There’s something about…

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Empanadas y Api Ministry

Editor’s note: Sharing food is a significant aspect of Bolivian culture, and it is a moving part of many of missioner Victor Artaiz’s ministries. He shares how, along with a few friends, he found another way to share food with people experiencing hunger in his neighborhood. It was an evening after Mass at San Francisco…

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Humility in Franciscan Mission

Editor’s note: Missioner Mari Snyder reflects on how she is learning humility, a key Franciscan value, through her ministries in the US-Mexico border region. Experiencing humility on mission is an oh-so-very-frequent occurrence. The words minor and lesser and to live on the margins of society are words used within the Franciscan community to describe –…

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Almsgiving on a Stipend

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps member Matthew Hinderberger volunteers at Christ House, a home for men experiencing homelessness with acute medical needs.  Inspired by the call to increased prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent, Matthew reflects on creative ways to give alms, even while living on a stipend or limited income. Jesus answered, “If you want…

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Living Out Franciscan Values on Mission in Bolivia

Editor’s note: Missioner Victor Artaiz was welcomed to the home of a large family in the countryside of Bolivia.  During his stay with them, he witnessed Franciscan values come to life. I am no longer surprised by the levels of Franciscan values I experience on mission here in Bolivia!  Case in point are my experiences…

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Trust

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Erin Frances Reinhart leads peace workshops at organizations throughout the DC area with her ministry site, Little Friends for Peace. While leading a workshop on trust at the Father McKenna Center, Erin Frances was challenged to trust herself, others, and God more deeply. Little Friends for Peace is an…

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Learning from Children

Editor’s note: Julia Pinto, a missioner in the US-Mexico Border region, shares how the children she meets and teaches at CAME, a migrant shelter in Agua Prieta, teach her how to be loving, welcoming, and intentional. “Maestra Julia, what words would you like to learn in Spanish? We can teach you.”  That is my best…

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5 Tips for Talking About Restorative Justice

Editor’s note: Originally published on the Catholic Mobilizing Network blog on January 30, 2023, returned missioner Maeve Gilheney-Gallagher shares five tips on how to talk about restorative justice with those who have never heard of it. My first introduction to restorative justice was accidental.  I was one hour into a 12-hour road trip from my…

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Pressing Questions

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Mari Snyder reflects on the hardships of migration as she follows a trail through the Sonoran Desert on the U.S.-Mexico border. I invite you to look at the following picture and note your very first thought before reading further. Yes, the Sonoran Desert and its mountains are simply stunning; they’re a…

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A Feast Day for Our Wholly Human Families

Editor’s note: Reflecting on the recent Feast of the Holy Family, missioner Mari Snyder shares the mission statement, written during FMS Formation, that grounds her call to serve. Her experiences serving at the Migrant Resource Center this year have only deepened her call to serve “wholly human” families that she meets on the Border. Early…

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Compassionate Companionship

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Matthew Hinderberger reflects on the need for companionship through an experience at his ministry site, Christ House, a home for men experiencing homelessness with acute medical needs. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then…

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And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life

Editor’s Note: Missioner Joleen Johnson shares a reflection on life and death that she wrote and shared for the Transitus prayer service, which celebrates St. Francis’s passing from life to death, and the deeper meaning she found after her grandfather’s passing a few days later. As a Franciscan Mission Service missioner placed in Kingston, Jamaica,…

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Day 12: Joyful Voice

Editor’s note: On this twelfth and final day of our Advent and Christmas blog series “His Light Would Not Go Out,” FMS board member Teresa Redder, OFS, reflects on the courageous persistence needed to be a joyful voice for justice in our world. Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, my husband Jeff and I enjoyed some…

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Day 11: Peace

Editor’s note: On this eleventh day of our Advent and Christmas blog series “His Light Would Not Go Out,” DC Service Corps volunteer Erin Frances Reinhart shares the glimpses of God’s peace that she has seen through her time with FMS and her service with Little Friends for Peace. In the poem “First Coming” by…

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Day 7: Grime

Editor’s note: On this seventh day of our Advent blog series “His Light Would Not Go Out,” current missioner Domonique Thompson reflects on her ministry at a soup kitchen or comedor in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Instead of a transactional experience, she notices that those who come to be served find ways to serve themselves. Men, women…

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Day 6: Heal (or Not to Heal)

Editor’s note: On this sixth day of our Advent blog series “His Light Would Not Go Out,” returned missioner Rhonda Eckerman shares the profound healing she experienced once she left her burdens at the altar with Christ. I came to FMS in August 2020 heartbroken as I had recently lost my mother and my family…

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Day 5: Tarnished

Editor’s note: On this fifth day of our Advent blog series “His Light Would Not Go Out,” current missioner Julia Pinto explores how accepting our flaws, or what makes us tarnished, can lead to a more honest relationship with God. Tarnished? I don’t want to be tarnished! Rather than lackluster, I desire to be beautiful…

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Day 1: His Light Would Not Go Out

Editor’s Note: We begin our Advent 2022 blog series, “His Light would not go out,” with a reflection written by our Associate Director, Rose Hardwick.  Using an image from her mission experience in the Dominican Republic, she reflects on discernment as a process where God lights our way, step by step. Careening down the dark…

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A Radical Faith: What I’ve Learned from St. Clare about being Franciscan

Editor’s Note: Our new class of DC Service Corps volunteers will each be reflecting on a way that they resonate with Franciscan Mission Service’s mission and spirituality. Sam Goodyear shares the radical story of St. Clare of Assisi and reflects on what it truly means to be a Catholic follower of Christ. Since moving to…

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When You Say YES to God

Editor’s Note: After two years of mission in the U.S.-Mexico border region, Overseas Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman shares her favorite memories of service and recounts the joys that come with saying “yes” to God.  Two years ago I said yes to Franciscan Mission Service and to a move to the U.S. – Mexico border taking…

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Ears to Listen: My Ministry of Presence

Editor’s note: Our new class of DC Service Corps volunteers will each be reflecting on a way that they resonate with Franciscan Mission Service’s mission and spirituality. Jarrett Murano shares how his ministry of presence is lived out at his ministry site, Food and Friends, which delivers medically tailored meals and medical nutrition therapy to…

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The Transient Southwest

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Julia Pinto shares glimpses, through poetry and prose, of the ever-changing nature of accompanying migrants on the U.S.-Mexico Border region.   Few people around, fewer things to do and see, Why do attachments here Seem to form so easily?   Neighbors, volunteer friends, confidantes, It all feels in vain. Mucho dolor…

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JOSE, ROAD TRIP, LIGHTS, AND SIRENS

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman reflects on her encounter with suffering and injustice along the U.S.-Mexico Border.  Early one morning at the Migrant Resource Center in Agua Prieta, Mexico, I noticed a young man in the courtyard sitting apart from the group looking very sad and scared. I noticed he had several scratches…

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DAY IN THE LIFE OF DOMONIQUE

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Domonique Thompson shares about a typical Tuesday at her ministry sites in Cochabamba, Bolivia.  I shall choose Tuesday for a day in my life, because it is one of my favorite days. I live at the Franciscan Social Center in the center of the city. It is a space open…

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100 Days in Jamaica

Editor’s Note: Joleen Johnson reflects on her first 100 days as an Overseas Lay Missioner in Jamaica.  I’ve officially been in Jamaica for three months now. In fact, I calculated it, and my 100th day in Jamaica was June 9th, 2022. My time here has felt like it’s just flown by, and I really can’t…

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