Franciscan Mission Service (FMS)

Goal of Program

Participants live out Franciscan values by walking in solidarity with people who are economically poor or marginalized in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. Alumni use their life-changing experiences to continue living out the Gospel values and addressing social injustices in their home communities. OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: Missioners serve with local ministries that strive for peace, justice, and hope – and focus presence, accompaniment and relationship. FMS believes in the wisdom of economically poor communities and in the fundamental dignity of every individual. The DC SERVICE CORPS participants will address issues of poverty and injustice through a year of service with local nonprofits in Washington, DC. Volunteers use their gifts and develop their leadership skills to more faithfully serve in the nonprofit sector. SHORT-TERM MISSION AND GLOBAL AWARENESS TRIPS to Washington, DC, Bolivia and Guatemala expose participants to the economic and social realities faced by local communities.

Type of Placement

OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: Our missioners serve alongside local community members in a variety of different ministries: providing pastoral care, assisting at women’s cooperatives, engaging in sustainable agriculture, offering educational and emotional support for those abandoned and abused, helping facilitate sessions for survivors of torture, participating in prison ministry, teaching English classes, tutoring students, assisting with parish ministries, etc. The ministry placements are based on the needs of the local community and the skills of the missioner. Whenever possible, religious Franciscans in mission serve as lay missioners’ local points of contact and support. // DC SERVICE CORPS: Depending on their interests and professional goals, volunteers have the opportunity to work directly with marginalized populations through organizations that meet specific community needs or to work at FMS headquarters providing critical support for overseas and domestic programs. In the community, volunteers may as

Service Area

OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: An overseas Franciscan mission site where we have an established relationship. Current placements are in Bolivia, Guatemala, and Jamaica.// DC SERVICE CORPS: Volunteers live and serve in Washington, DC.// SHORT-TERM MISSION AND GLOBAL AWARENESS TRIPS: Washington, DC, Bolivia, or Guatemala.

Service Length

OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: At least two years; renewable up to six years.// DC SERVICE CORPS: 12 months// SHORT-TERM MISSION AND GLOBAL AWARENESS TRIPS: 7-14 days.

Program Size



OVERSEAS LAY MISSION: Catholic, single or married, usually 22 to 65 years old, college degree or significant life experience, U.S. and Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Applicants will complete an in-depth application with references, interviews, medical and background clearance. // DC SERVICE CORPS: Catholic, single, ages 21 – 35, college degree. Application and interview.// SHORT-TERM MISSION AND GLOBAL AWARENESS TRIPS: Application, references and phone interview. Open to university or college groups.

Financial Arrangements

OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: Benefits covered: extensive training program, language school if necessary, travel to and from mission site, medical and life insurance while overseas, monthly living stipend, vacation stipend, retreat stipend, resettlement allowance.// DC SERVICE CORPS: Monthly stipend, health insurance, housing, vacation time and transportation allowance provided to/from service sites.// SHORT-TERM MISSION AND GLOBAL AWARENESS TRIPS: Costs vary per trip.

Living Arrangements

OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: Vary with each placement. Live simply in intentional community with fellow Franciscan missioners.// DC SERVICE CORPS: Volunteers live in intentional community sharing meals, prayer, and household responsibilities at the FMS hospitality house in Washington, DC. Each volunteer has a private bedroom.// SHORT-TERM MISSION AND GLOBAL AWARENESS TRIPS: Shared rooms.


OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: Three-month Orientation and Formation Program at FMS hospitality house in Washington, DC. Training themes include: mission theology, scripture, Catholic Social Teaching, Franciscan spirituality, cross-cultural skills, social analysis, conflict resolution, and more. As-needed language training follows in host country. Formation will begin in the end of August and run until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The two-week Re-Entry Retreat is held for returning missioners after their time abroad ends.// DC SERVICE CORPS: Group orientation upon arrival with weekly leadership training, professional development, retreats and faith formation throughout the year of service. // SHORT-TERM MISSION AND GLOBAL AWARENESS TRIPS: Pre-trip webinars and preparation resources. On-site workshops and guided reflections during trip.

Application Deadline

OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with a couple of discernment retreats in Washington, DC, each spring for in-person interviews. Priority deadline for Phase 1 applications is January 1. Final deadline for Phase 1 applications is April 1. Training begins at the end of August. DC SERVICE CORPS: Priority deadline for Phase 1 applications is March 1. Applications are accepted on rolling basis until spots are filled. Program begins in mid-August.// SHORT-TERM MISSION AND GLOBAL AWARENESS TRIPS: Depends on current trip offerings.// Applications for all programs are available on FMS website:


Liz Hughes


415 Michigan Avenue NE, Suite 104
Washington, 20017
Phone: 202 832-1762


[email protected]


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Franciscan Mission Service (FMS) is a Roman Catholic independent lay volunteer organization that partners with congregations of Franciscan friars and sisters as well as with Secular Franciscans.

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