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.

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

2019-2020 Calendar for Archdiocese of Seattle

2019-2020 Calendar for Archdiocese of Chicago

Unit One: Encountering Jesus

Who is my neighbor? With whom does Jesus walk?

Seattle Unit One

Chicago Unit One


Students identify the presence of God in their lives, discern where they are called to share God’s love as missionary disciples, and learn and share with peers about the realities faced by people at the peripheries. This includes a local immersion encounter where they enter into relationship with people at the peripheries of their community.

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


Students discern a mission cause to respond to as a class, learn principles of missionary discipleship, reflect on and assess ways in which the Church responds (locally and globally) to this cause as witnesses to Jesus, and plan their own missionary response. This rubric is used to help discern a holistic sense of missionary discipleship.

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

Seattle Unit Three

Chicago Unit Three


Students get feedback from peer groups involved in the program and/or community leadership and then refine and implement their missionary action which includes Prayer, Liturgy, & Contemplation; Discernment & Solidarity; Encounter & Relationship; Witness; Proclamation & Dialogue; and Justice, Peace, & Care for Creation. Students reflect on the experience and share information with others in school, with a partner school, and the larger community.

Chicago - Suggested Capstone Day Timeline and Agenda.

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:

  • Reflection activities that invite students to consider more deeply these issues through the lens of their faith and life experience
  • Links to research sites where students can find information on each topic
  • Summaries of the five topic areas with connections to Catholic Social Teaching and links to community responses
  • Case studies of how Maryknoll missioners, Catholic Relief Services, and others are responding to each topic area in love and faith

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.

¡Ahora disponible en español!

Other Resources: