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 on 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, and Guatemala expose participants to the economic and social realities faced by local communities.

Type of Placement

OVERSEAS LAY MISSION PROGRAM: Our missioners serve at locally-run ministries: providing pastoral care, engaging in sustainable agriculture, offering educational and emotional support for those abandoned and abused, helping youth with disabilities, 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, Franciscans serve as missioners’ local points of contact and support. // DC SERVICE CORPS: Volunteers serve directly with marginalized populations 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, Guatemala, 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 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.


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: Priority: Jan. 1; final: May 1. // DCSC: Priority: Mar. 1.

Start Date


Liz Hughes


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


[email protected]


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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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