Franciscan Mission Service (FMS)

Goal of Program

Inspired by the examples of St. Francis and St. Clare, Franciscan Mission Service shares and receives God's unconditional love across borders through a way of life that centers marginalized voices and focuses on living out the Gospel values of intercultural encounter, radical inclusion, authentic humility and transformative justice. FMS believes in the wisdom of local communities and in the fundamental dignity of every individual. FMS has a year-long, nonprofit servant leadership program based in Washington, DC and an international lay mission program in Latin America and the Caribbean. With a posture of humility, our missioners enter as guests into communities as they support locally-run ministries and cultivate mutual relationships based on compassionate presence and accompaniment. Missioners live together and commit to a life rooted in intentional simplicity, reflection, and faith-based justice.

Type of Placement

OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: A sampling of ministries: pastoral care, educational and emotional support for youth with disabilities, prison ministry, tutoring students, parish ministries, migrant ministry, sustainable agriculture, etc. The ministry placements are based on the needs of the local community and the skills of the missioner. When possible, Franciscans serve as missioners’ local points of contact. As part of a sustainable approach, our missioners are intentionally in supportive roles (not leadership ones) at locally-run ministries, lifting up community leadership.// DC SERVICE CORPS: Members serve directly with marginalized communities through ministries such as: youth outreach, education, or support for people experiencing homelessness. Volunteers can also serve at FMS headquarters providing support in communications, lay mission formation, recruitment, event planning and development. // SHORT-TERM TRIPS: Trips deepen participants’ awareness of social injustices and cross-cultural understanding.

Service Area

OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: Current placements are in Bolivia, Jamaica and the US-Mexico Border.// DC SERVICE: Washington, DC.//SHORT-TERM TRIPS: Washington, DC, 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: Catholic, single or married, 22-65+, U.S./Canadian residents. Application, references, interviews, and medical clearance. // DC: Catholic, single, ages 21 – 35. Application and interview.

Financial Arrangements

OVERSEAS: Benefits: housing; travel to/from site; medical insurance; stipends: monthly, vacation, retreat, re-entry.// DC CORPS: Monthly stipend, insurance, housing, vacation and bus stipend.

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.


OLM: 3-month training: Catholic Social Thought, Franciscan charism, cross-cultural skills, etc. Lang. school abroad. 2-wk Re-Entry Retreat. // DCSC: orientation, weekly leadership training & retreats.

Application Deadline

OLM and DCSC: Priority: March 1; accepted on rolling basis until spots are filled (usually by June)

Start Date


Contact Name:

Elizabeth Hughes


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



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

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