“Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us to everyone! Go, do not be afraid, and serve!”

–Pope Francis, World Youth Day 2013


The call to mission is both a privilege and a responsibility rooted in our baptismal vows and nurtured by the Holy Spirit. We look for certain qualities and skills in selecting candidates such as:

1. Lay persons of faith in the Catholic tradition with the capacity and dedication to deepen their relationship with God. Applicants must also express a call to mission and a willingness to incorporate Franciscan values into their mission experience.

2. Individuals must be able to give a minimum of two years of service overseas.

3. Single, married, or divorced — generally between the ages of 22 and 62 (without dependents).

4. Prior cross-cultural experience and/or a second language are valuable, though not absolutely required.

5. A willingness to serve in various ministries according to a person’s interests and expertise. Past missioners have worked in a wide range of ministries such as: healthcare, teaching, pastoral ministry, social work, community development, small Christian community animation, and agriculture. We offer a variety of opportunities for persons with diverse sets of skills.

6. A resident of the United States or Canada.

Application Process

Now accepting applications for Fall 2019!

The application process is one of mutual discernment; while you continue to discern your call to mission and learn more about Franciscan Mission Service and our unique brand of mission in the Franciscan tradition, our staff will continue to discern whether our program fits your God-given gifts and talents and where best to utilize those gifts and talents in the placements we staff.

The goal is not simply to get accepted, but to more fully understand FMS’ mission and model of service, and to challenge you to spend time thinking about your individual motivations and dreams for mission. Information on discernment and some helpful questions can be found here.

The application process consists of 4 phases which are as follows:

Phase 1
Electronic Application.

Interested candidates should first fill out the Electronic Application. After this application has been received and processed, FMS will then contact qualified individuals within 1-2 weeks with instructions on how to proceed to Phase 2. 

Phase 2

Autobiographical Essay and References.

Phase 2 consists of a packet which includes the following items:

  1. Instructions on how to fill out the Autobiographical Essay
  2. Five References: 3 professional, 1 pastoral, and 1 peer/colleague

Our priority Phase 2 deadline is May 30, 2019. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until spots are filled.

Phase 3: Discernment Days
After completing phase 2, eligible candidates will be invited to a discernment retreat at our offices and training center in Washington, DC. Discernment Days include interviews with FMS staff, visits with returned lay missioners, and discussions that provide more information about the program and possible mission placement sites. The interviews are designed to help FMS staff get to know you better and to further explore your interests and motivations for mission. Prior to the discernment weekend, we invite you to spend time in prayer and discernment on your own. Helpful discernment resources can be found here. Discernment Days will be held in June and July depending on the applicant pool. 
Phase 4: Physical and Criminal Record Check
After participating in a discernment weekend, candidates who have been accepted to the program will need to complete the following two forms:

  1. Physical assessment form completed by your physician
  2. A criminal record check

Phase 5: Three-Month Formation Program.

The final phase of discernment for both the potential missioner and FMS is the three-month formation program. During this in depth program, the individual and organization may find that international mission is not a good fit for the potential missioner. This is a rare occurrence, but we ask candidates to be discerning throughout all stages of the process, as the staff of FMS does the same. Our 2019 Formation Program is set to begin in late August 2019. 
At any time during this process, we are happy to connect you with Returned Missioners or missioners in the field.

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