Where We Serve
Over the past 30 years, Franciscan Mission Service’s lay missioners have served in 21 countries, including Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Peru, Siberia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, the United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Currently, FMS places missioners in Bolivia, Jamaica, and the US-Mexico border.
In each location, the missioners’ main ministry is one of service, presence, and companionship. Through this relationship-centered approach, we promote a culture of encounter, which we believe is essential to bridging differences and promoting the common good. Learn more about our placement sites and ministries below.
Ministries and country placements are determined through a process of mutual discernment between FMS staff, country partners and the missioner. The discernment process takes into consideration the missioner’s gifts, interests, language skills, and the needs of the receiving community, among other factors. FMS' person-first approach challenges our missioners to take a place of humility while on mission, as they seek to know and learn from those they serve alongside rather than approach ministry with a mindset that their role is to lead, change, or fix a situation.
FMS missioners serve within a wide range of ministries, including, but not limited to: education, prison ministry, youth ministry, sustainable agriculture, and pastoral ministry. Our current missioners are offering support to boys at an orphanage; tutoring elementary school students with learning differences; coaching sports; helping individual who have severe physical disability with activities of daily living (ADLs); serving as camp counselors at a summer camp for Deaf and hearing children; and offering companionship to aging religious sisters in an infirmary.
If you have a desire to serve alongside people living on the margins and are inspired by the Franciscan values of peace, justice, reconciliation, and care of creation, there’s an opportunity for you!
FMS has been sending missioners to Bolivia for more than 20 years. We have a number of ministry options available in a city of over 1 million people: Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Through a partnership with local Franciscans in Cochabamba, FMS missioners engage in a wide variety of ministries and live at the Franciscan Social Center in the downtown area of Cochabamba. Here are a few examples of ministries, in which current and past missioners have engaged:
FMS serves in partnership with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. The sisters have been present in Kingston, Jamaica since 1857 and have founded several Catholic schools: St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College, Immaculate Conception High School and Prep School, St. Francis Primary and Infant School, Alvernia Prep School and St. Aloysius Primary School. Each school school shares Franciscan spirituality and values with the students.
- Helping lead different reflections and activities through campus ministry
- Remedial support in reading and math
- Tutoring students in a range of different subjects
- Helping teach art, music, theater and/or physical education
- Assisting the guidance counselor with different workshops and small group sessions focused on behavioral management, conflict resolution and peace-building.
- Accompanying the local parish group to minister in city prisons
- Helping to serve food and greet guests at the parish soup kitchen
- Distributing food to people living on the streets
- Visiting children in the local orphanage
- Providing care to children with disabilities
- Helping provide meaningful work, education and enrichment activities to young adults serving at a rural farm
At the invitation of the Franciscan friars of Santa Barbara Province, Franciscan Mission Service (FMS) is expanding its mission sites to include a new site along the southwest border of the United States, ministering in both the United States and Mexico. This new mission site will be in the neighboring border towns of Agua Prieta and Douglas.
Below are potential ministries in which missioners will engage:
- Helping at a community center, particularly with children’s remedial classes
- Assisting at a drug and alcohol rehab center
- Providing support at a shelter for migrant families
- Helping at a cooperative where asylum seekers are trained in a craft
- Visiting and ministering in detention centers and prisons