At OLG, students learn that Jesus reached out to people on the margins of society and are invite and encouraged to do the same. Thus, the Missionary Discipleship Institute (MDI) is a yearlong faith and outreach process that invites Catholic school students in seventh grade to encounter, recognize, and appreciate the presence of God’s love in their lives and the lives of their neighbors on the margins, grow together in understanding of that love in relationship with Jesus Christ, and discern and respond to the implications of that love as a community of missionary disciples rooted in God’s mission and Jesus’ witness.
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, and it is offered also in partnership with the Office for Catholic Schools and Office of Pastoral Care of the Archdiocese of Seattle and Maryknoll Society’s Mission Education Apostolate.
MDI is a journey of spiritual growth which grounds students through authentic encounter with God, Jesus, and our neighbors, communal discernment, and missionary response within their communities. In the first stage of the process, students recognize the presence of God in their lives through intentional kerygmatic (“kerygma” = the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ ) experiences of individual and communal prayer, reflection and discussion. As individuals and together as a classroom community, students come to appreciate the experiences of love in their lives as gifts from God, who is love, and reflect on how they are invited to experience and share this love more fully as disciples of Jesus. They will learn about their neighbors, particularly those on their margins, and the issues they face.
The second stage of the process seeks to help students grow as a classroom community in their understanding of that love and its implications on their lives. Students are drawn into an encounter with people at the peripheries of their community and explore ways in which the Church responds to them in witness to the love of Jesus. Through these encounters, students recognize that Jesus loves each person and that they are called to respond as missionary disciples to the presence of Christ in situations of suffering. They will also learn how the Church is responding to those on the peripheries around the world today.
Informed by their individual experience, communal discernment, relationship with Jesus, and relationships with those at the peripheries, students together implement a service response in the third stage. Overall, students will spend the year walking with Jesus and practice ownership of living our Catholic faith, showing its relevance in today’s world.
MDI fully aligns with Archdiocesan Religion Standards and -in addition to their Class Service Project supporting Angeline’s Women’s Day Shelter– helps our Seventh Grade students to understand their faith through immersive, interactive and personal experiences. The MDI Framework addresses the following essential questions:
- Who is my neighbor? (Encounter)
- Who is showing love to my neighbor? (Disturbance)
- How am I called to love my neighbor? (Response)
As missionary disciples, our seventh graders focus on the margins of society, just as Jesus did during his life. Through study, engagement, research and service, students become well acquainted and knowledgeable missionary disciples in the following areas:
- Gender Equality
- Care for Creation
- Immigration and the Movement of Peoples
- Economic Justice
Students will also actively and continuously analyze where they are on their faith journey as service learners, missionary disciples and followers of Christ. In addition, they also spend time exploring where church leaders, current missionaries and members of their community are on this journey as well. Using the Rubric for Missionary Discipleship, students, families and teachers alike can evaluate how their own personal mission aligns with God’s mission.
If you would like to learn more about Missionary Discipleship, we invite you to watch the video below, where our OLG Class of 2020 (now alumni) shares with us their MDI journey.
You can also take a look at an article featuring OLG and MDI in Northwest Catholic Magazine from May 2020.