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ministry of presence

The Graces of Change

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Emily Dold discusses the impact of change through the experiences of Casa changes as well as her role within the Father McKenna Center shifting.  Have you ever felt as though a homily was meant just for you? Or, more likely, that God wanted you to hear the homily’s contents? The Easter…

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The Ministry of a Programs Associate

Editor’s Note: DCSC Volunteer and Programs Associate Fatima Godfrey reflects on her role within the FMS office, finding the mission of accompaniment abundantly. Working at the FMS office as the Programs Associate provides me the opportunity to serve as the first point of contact for those inquiring with FMS. This means I get the privilege…

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Dishes Washed with Love

Editor’s note: FMS Development Associate, Madeline McKissick introduces her call to the ministry of presence. Entering into this new chapter, she depicts how her ministry looks different than some of her peers. She welcomes the reader to reflect on the teachings of Mother Teresa by doing little things with great love. At Franciscan Mission Service,…

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In the Midst of God’s Grace

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps volunteer, Nadia Barnett reflects on God’s grace that is often revealed through the present moment. I live my life in the midst of God’s grace. We all do. It’s not always apparent, but it is always present. This time of service has taught me many lessons about God, my faith,…

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Bigger than the Internet

Editor’s Note: Tim Shelgren, Missioner in Jamaica, describes the relationships he has built on mission and how he has learned to communicate love to others without using words or technology. Lately, I have been listening to Richard Rohr’s podcast series, Another Name for Everything, that he is offering in conjunction with his new book, Universal…

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Love Around A Table

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps member, Nayeli Garcia reflects on how the simple act of sitting down at the dinner table has shaped her family’s relationships. This Advent season is a time for us to celebrate the coming of Jesus, but it is also a time to celebrate, with family, all of the good we’ve…

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Love Blooms Through a Stranger

Editor’s Note: In preparation for her mission in Guatemala, Missioner Becky Kreidler reflects on the generosity of a stranger she encountered while serving at the Father McKenna Center. Each week during Formation, I served at the Father McKenna Center, a social service agency supporting men struggling with homelessness and families dealing with food insecurity. One…

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The Power of Intentional Listening

Editor’s Note: Current missioner in formation, Hannah Hagarty reflects on a life-changing conversation she had while serving at Christ House in Washington, DC and the beauty that can unfold when we truly listen to our neighbors. As a missioner in training, we are given the opportunity to go out into the community and practice what…

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A Blessed Ending

Editor’s Note: Missioner Cindy Mizes reflects on the beauty of life as she led an art project for the patients at Consie Walters Cancer Care hospice in Kingston, Jamaica. On one of my recent visits to Consie Walters Cancer Care hospice, I gathered the patients in a circle on the veranda to begin the day’s…

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Walk Good

Editors Note: Missioner Cindy Mizes shares beautiful memories created alongside Mr. M, a gentleman at Consie Walters Cancer Care Hospice in Kingston, Jamaica. Consie Walters Cancer Care Hospice is a place where impoverished men and women with terminal cancer are lovingly cared for. This summer, I had the privilege of ministering there. On my first…

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Learning Humility and ‘The Sacrament of the Present Moment’

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo reflects on her ability to be present to those she serves in Cochabamba, Bolivia and the graces God has given her to do so. “If you have come here to help me… you are wasting your time. But, if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine,…

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Shuffling the Cards: On Spades and Disinterested Love

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer PJ Herrera shares a reflection on his ministry work at So Others Might Eat (SOME).                One of the things I’ve learned the most about through my year of service with FMS is the importance of relational ministry. When starting my year here, I wasn’t quite sure what to make…

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Seeing Clearly: Happy Presence Day

Editor’s note: As part of FMS’ Lenten blog series, Programs Associate Rose Urankar shares an unexpected experience practicing ministry of presence. Ah, a day off!  One of the best things about transitioning into the working world after 18 years of Catholic education is celebrating federal holidays with a vacation day.  This President’s Day, I was…

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Being There

Editor’s note: Former DC Service Corps volunteer Chase Medelberg shares what he learned about the ministry of presence while serving at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School last year. What a year it was at FMS. I still remember walking up the mountain of steps in front of Casa San Salvador and being greeted by…

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Give the Gift of Presence on World Alzheimer’s Day and Every Day

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna Klonowski reflects on her personal connections to people with Alzheimer’s on World Alzheimer’s Day. In 2010, I was on the brink of newfound freedom, sitting in the backseat of a Driver’s Ed car waiting for my turn to cruise (or rather, slowly and nervously jolt) down Main Street. My friend was…

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On the Road with Hermana Carmen

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna Klonowski recounts her first meeting with a ministry site supervisor and what she learned from Hermana Carmen about living the Franciscan charism. During my search for ministry opportunities, I heard about a place called Hogar San José, a nursing home only a 15-minute walk from my house in Cochabamba. The first…

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Welcome Executive Director Elizabeth Hughes

Executive Director Liz Hughes has been with FMS just over a month, but she can trace her path to her current position all the way back through her many job experiences. She described her development in terms of a J.D. Salinger quote: “All we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of…

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Were You There: “To Be With You is Sacred”

Editor’s note: Reflecting on the passing of a loved one, Interim Executive Director Meghan Meros shares how she came to a deeper appreciation that being present with another person is a sacred opportunity to encounter, share, and give love. Once, I was with someone when they died, but I did not have the privilege of…

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Were You There: Finding Peace

Editor’s Note: Guest blogger and nurse Emily Colonna reflects on a patient she accompanied at Christiana Hospital, where she was challenged to find God’s presence and strength even in the face of tragedy.   I am a nurse at a local hospital in the intensive care unit. I graduated last spring from Neumann University, a…

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Were You There: “Rompiendo Barreras”

Editor’s Note: A Junior at St. Mary’s University and a finalist for the San Damiano Award, Valeria García reflects on how she came to a deeper understanding of what it means to “be present” and witness to the lives and sufferings of those around her. Barreras: they were always present. I grew up knowing that…

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Were You There: Comfort From a Stranger

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna Klonowski reflects on a past service trip she attended in college, where a small gesture of comfort from one of the women there reminded her that service begins in the little deeds of kindness we do for each other. In college, I had the opportunity to participate in an Alternative Break…

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Were You There: Presence at Camp

Editor’s note: missioner Maggie Van Roekel shares how a conversation and friendship with a young camper challenged her to find time to be present even amidst the busyness of her work. For the past three summers, I worked as a summer camp counselor at a camp for individuals of all ages who have special needs.…

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Were You There: Ministry of Presence in the Little Things

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps member Ali Sentmanat reflects on an encounter with a man at the Father McKenna Center which changed her perspective and approach to “being there” for other people. The Father McKenna Center has a large gathering area for meetings that is often called “the chapel.” As I was walked through it…

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Were You There?

Lent is a time for reflections and questions. What will we offer up during Lent? How can we change our daily habits to grow in our relationship with God and each other? How can we serve and walk in the footsteps of Christ right now in our own lives? “Were You There?” is a beautiful…

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Be Not Afraid: Strength in the Aftermath

Editor’s Note: Missioner Cindy Mizes reflects on the Nepalese earthquake in 2015 and how she was able to move past her fear for her own security in order to serve and assist in the relief efforts. When I read the headlines on April 25, 2015, describing the major earthquake that struck Nepal, fear immediately welled…

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Happy Day

Editor’s note: Missioner-in-training Cindy Mizes reflects on her service at the Jeanne Jugan Residence, where she has formed relationships with the residents. Every Wednesday morning, I take a 30 minute walk from Casa San Salvador through the Catholic University of America campus to the Jeanne Jugan Residence, a long-term care facility for the elderly with limited…

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Presence in the Everyday

Editor’s note: Missioner-in-training Maggie Van Roekel has an encounter that gives her a new perspective on the practice of ministry of presence in daily life. During the first few weeks of formation, we’ve talked a lot about ministry of presence. FMS really embraces not only serving, but also opening our ears and our hearts to…

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Just Smile

Editor’s Note: Missioner-in-training Misty Menis-Kyler reflects on a thought-provoking encounter with a man experiencing homelessness as she served food and drink to those in need in Washington DC. Last week, in addition to our regular formation classes, I  had an amazing opportunity to go out into the streets of DC and give food and drink…

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Dancing Through the Doorway

Editor’s Note: Missioner Allison Dethlefs shares how she’s been able to start forming relationships through teaching Zumba classes to girls who are survivors of sexual abuse. Upon arriving in Cochabamba, Bolivia, over seven months ago, I had no idea what kind of ministry I was going to get involved in. By a stroke of luck, during my six…

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Letting Go: The Power of Just Being There

Editor’s Note: Returned missioner Claire McGarry reflects on letting go of the desire to “fix” problems and instead using that energy to focus on the importance of accompanying others and presenting them with hope.  “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galations 6:2 As long as I…

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Comfort and Joy: Exactly Where I Needed to Be

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, Communications Associate Maria Beben shares some of her experiences from her time volunteering at a nursing home in Washington, DC.  My year as a communications associate with Franciscan Mission Service (FMS) includes a weekly volunteer component of direct service. As someone who experiences anxiety…

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Comfort and Joy: Looking out for the Other

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, missioner Patrick Montine speaks to the power of companionship and shares how his time working in a food kitchen in Jamaica has led to a deeper realization of the importance of relationships. I spend some of my time each week helping out at the…

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Comfort and Joy: By Hand

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, Secular Franciscan Susan Burke shares how a reassuring presence can bring the greatest of comfort. The first time I met Richard at the door of his hospital room, it went like this: “Hi, I’m Susan, one of the chaplains, and I stopped by to see…

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Comfort and Joy: Following Mary’s Example

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, Nonprofit Servant Leadership Program Coordinator Mercedes Matthews shares how the example of Mary’s unwavering love and faith leads us closer to Christ. Upon hearing the theme of comfort and joy, my mind, perhaps like yours, quickly began humming “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Or more…

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Comfort and Joy: Witnessing Hope during Suffering

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, Mark LaBelle, a seminarian and friend of FMS, shares how an experience during hospital ministry deeply affected him and allowed him the opportunity to be a witness to hope. “You are one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.” Sure, we had only been acquainted…

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Cultivating Compassion

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Brandon Newland shares how he acted as a bridge-builder between two ministries where he serves in Savanna-La-Mar, Jamaica Even though there was no Bible study over the summer, I still wanted to stay involved with the students as well as keep them connected to the church. I invited the children to…

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The Power of Presence

Editor’s Note: Missioner Amanda Ceraldi reflects on an experience of ministry of presence during her time at Valley of the Angels orphanage in Guatemala. St. Francis got a lot of things right. He understood the reason for radical poverty and simplicity and lived it out. He understood that stepping out of your comfort zone is…

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Through the Eye of the Needle, Part 2: I Am Not A Saint

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Annemarie Barrett continues the special five-part series, “Through the Eye of the Needle:  Unpacking White Privilege in the Journey Towards Racial Reconciliation” on how her time in mission in Latin America is shaping her understanding of racism and privilege.  One part of my reality as a white person that I took for…

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Learning from Children with Special Needs

The last couple of of weeks I have had the amazing opportunity to work in a classroom with some student teachers from Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH). They came to work with children with special needs. They needed assistance for their student teaching, and I have some experience teaching, so I agreed to help. I worked…

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Learning to be present

“Just be with some people.” Those were Elaine’s words of wisdom to me last week at Calvary Women’s Services. She oversees my work as part of the LEAP program there, and those five words reminded me of my purpose for that afternoon. Ministry of presence is something I am still trying to grasp—even though I’ve…

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Making the Comfortable Uncomfortable

In July, 2009 I attended a social justice immersion summer camp with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The week long camp challenged high school students from different parts of Maryland to learn about the injustices that were affecting Baltimore City and how we could be advocates for justice and change. During the week we visited many…

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Bridge-Building in Bolivia

Lay missioner Hady Mendez answers one of the questions mostly frequently asked of a missioner: “What do you do in Bolivia?”  I build bridges. No, not the kind people walk on or cars drive across. I build other types of bridges. Another way to describe what I do is “bring people together”. It’s not actually…

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Learning to Be in Bolivia

Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trip participant Jennifer Peresie reflects on her experience of going with Franciscan Mission Service to Bolivia in May 2014.  When I signed up for this trip, I think I had illusions – no delusions! – of changing the world. That is a lofty goal for anyone, but certainly in a…

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Mission Monday: A Third Year of Service for Annemarie and Jeff!

Today’s post features an exciting update about two current missioners in Cochabamba! Great news: second-year missioners Annemarie Barrett and Jeff Sved have each decided to stay in Bolivia for a third year of mission! When our lay missioners are commissioned, they agree to a minimum of two years of service, but they can renew their…

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Franciscan Friday: The Necessity of Presence

To highlight the service component of the Nonprofit Leadership Program (positions are currently available), Franciscan Fridays are currently featuring reflections from program associates about their experiences with weekly direct service.  Enjoy other entries in this series: “Service through Faith: The Ultimate Act of Hope” by communications associate Michael Carlson “A Lesson in Perspective” by development associate…

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Mission Monday: “You’re Going to Have to Wait”

In today’s post, missioner Annemarie Barret reflects on the privilege of time and how waiting on others, on events, and life in general has personally affected her and informed her toward deeper ministry of presence. “You are going to have to wait.” I remember Hermano Ignacio’s warning when he visited during our formation in Washington,…

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Mission Monday: “How Life Prepared Me for Mission”

In today’s post, current missioner Hady Mendez reflects on how the relationships she developed and enjoyed before mission prepared her for her ministry of presence as a Franciscan lay missioner. When I was living in New York, I used to often go to a salon in Jersey City. Mary owned the salon. Lucy did my…

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Poor and Free: “Invest in God’s Dream”

Franciscan Mission Service presents:  “Poor and Free: A Spiritual Yes to Less” every Friday in Lent Series contributions:  Shane Claiborne: Part I, Part II, and Part III Gigi Gruenke: “Invest in God’s Dream” Jack Jezreel: “The Simple Math of Voluntary Simplicity” Amy Echeverria: “Saying ‘Yes’ to Love” Sr. Marie Lucey (OSF): “Faith Keeps Hope Alive” Marie Dennis: “Beyond Detachment” Fr. Martin…

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The Light of One: Franciscan Friendship

Continuing our daily Advent reflection series on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Franciscan Missioner Mary Mortenson writes about how a friendship provided her an inspiring model for the ministry of presence she will provide in Bolivia. I have a dear friend, named Briana, whom I met my first year at UW-Eau Claire. Almost immediately,…

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“This, my friends, is Ministry of Presence”

ME: I’m going to be Audrey Hepburn for Halloween. You know who she is, right? MAC: Nah, never heard of her. ME: Let me show you a picture. You’ll probably recognize her. SHOW HIM PIC. MAC: Nah, I don’t know who that is. Hady serving coffee to the men at Fr. McKenna Center I had…

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