Walking with jesus

Missionary Discipleship Institute for Seventh Graders



The Missionary Discipleship Institute (MDI) is a year-long 3-part faith and outreach experience which provides a framework for students to encounter God in their lives and the lives of their neighbors on the margins and gain awareness of injustices that they face; reflect on how the Church is responding in love and the disturbance this creates in our own sense of discipleship; and discern, develop, and carry out a response rooted in God's mission.

This program was developed in partnership with Missions Office and Office for Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Seattle, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, and the Poverty Education Center at Seattle University.

The MDI is being actively used in the Archdiocese of Seattle and piloted in the Archdiocese of Chicago.


Want to know more about how we can adapt missionary discipleship in a pandemic?

Read about our pilot year in Maryknoll magazine. For more information, contact our national Teacher Catechist Outreach Team at teachers@maryknoll.us.


The program includes three basic learning phases, divided into units. Each unit contains three to five lessons, with suggested extensions to teach to standards.

Basis of the MDI - Archdiocese of Seattle

Basis of the MDI - Archdiocese of Chicago

2022-2023 Calendar for Archdiocese of Seattle

2022-2023 Calendar for Archdiocese of Chicago


Unit One: Encountering Jesus

Who is my neighbor? With whom does Jesus walk?

Seattle Unit One

Chicago Unit One

Virtual Learning Unit One


During this foundational phase, students recognize the presence of God’s love in their lives, and that Jesus is active in their lives today. They research the life and actions of Jesus through Gospel stories, as well as the lives of people living on the margins today and how issues of injustice affect them, locally and globally. As a class, students discern a single topic to address as a community of missionary disciples. This unit includes an immersion experience.

Link to Immersion Lesson Plans here.


Unit Two: Who is showing love to my neighbor? How does Jesus show love?

Seattle Unit Two

Chicago Unit Two

Virtual Learning Unit Two


Students reflect on Jesus’ actions in the world. They also assess local and global case studies of various Catholic organizations and communities in loving relationships of missionary discipleship with people living on the margins with tools from Redemptoris Missio and other Church teachings. Students continue the research on the issue that the class chose in Phase One. They discern possible actions for their missionary service response.


Unit Three: How am I called to love my neighbor? How is Jesus inviting us to act?

Seattle Unit Three

Chicago Unit Three

Virtual Learning Unit Three


In this final phase, students invite a deeper relationship with Jesus through discernment into action to carry out their plans for the missionary discipleship response. Students reflect on the experience and share information with others in school and the larger community.


2021 Seattle MDI Week Lessons Here

2021 Chicago MDI Week Lessons Here

Chicago - Suggested Capstone Day Timeline and Agenda.

Additional optional grief lesson here


View the entire Seattle curriculum as one document here.

View the entire Chicago curriculum as one document here.


Teachers in the Archdiocese of Seattle:


What They Taught Us Reflections

As a tool for ongoing reflection, Maryknoll offers a free online companion guide for the Orbis book What They Taught Us: How Maryknoll Missioners Were Evangelized by the Poor.

Resources on Issues Facing People on the Margins

The MDI asks students to research five topic areas related to the life and health of people around the world, and select one to which they feel called to respond. Resources provided around these topic areas include:

Rubric for Missionary Discipleship

This rubric can be used by both students and teachers to assess missionary discipleship activity. It is also the basis for how students plan their response.

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Other Resources: