Missionary Disciples Institute

A week-long experience that prepares high school students to be young missionaries who serve their communities and impact the world through the local church.

June 17-22, 2019

About MDI

Marian University is excited to welcome high school students for a youth theological institute called Missionary Disciples Institute (MDI). MDI will be held on June 17-22, 2018 on the campus of Marian University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

  • MDI will accept up to 60 high school students who have an openness and desire to take on leadership roles as young missionaries to serve and impact their communities and world through the local church.
  • Applying for MDI:
    • Students may apply as individuals or as part of a group.
    • All students will be required to be sponsored by his/her Pastor.
    • Students will rank the five tracks and be given their top choice when at all possible.
    • All applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the MDI soon after completing the application.
  • The cost of MDI will be $350 (2018 fee, price may increase for 2019) for each participating student and adult which does not include the $100 deposit upon completing the application form.
  • All students and adults coming for MDI will be housed in the Marian University residence halls.
  • All meals will be provided by Marian University dining services.
  • Please direct any and all questions to mdi@marian.edu or Patrick at (317) 955-6459.

Sacraments and Prayer

The way we pray is the way we believe (lex orandi, lex crendidi). The Missionary Disciples Institute is grounded in the sacraments and bathed in dynamic prayer opportunities, so much so that even our keynote presentations will take place during morning and evening prayer. The knowledge and skills you acquire at MDI will likewise be fueled by prayer, because at MDI we will:

  • Begin and end with daily prayer.
  • Celebrate Mass and have opportunities for confession.
  • Have opportunities to adore the blessed sacrament.
  • Celebrate the rite of penance.
  • Pray at the many religious/devotional sites on the Marian University campus, such as the Mother Mary Shrine and Rosary Walk.


Every day you will:

  • Hear keynotes from national speakers about the Joy of the Gospel, the Franciscan vision for mission, and about each of the tracks
  • Participate in dynamic worship and prayer experiences.
  • Celebrate Mass and have opportunities for confession.
  • Have time to play, relax, and grow in a community of other teens passionate about their faith.
  • Listen to nationally known keynote speakers.
  • Learn from Marian University faculty in one of five tracks.
  • Be mentored by current Marian University students, such as our San Damiano Scholars.

At MDI you will move from just learning about ministry to becoming a missionary disciple ready to minister to your home community.  Here are some highlights of the schedule:

  • learn ministry
  • see ministry
  • do ministry
  • be ministry

Learn Ministry

  • Hear keynotes about the Joy of the Gospel, the ministry of Kerygma (Proclamation), and the ministry of Koinonia (Partnership)
  • Discover the Catholic theological understanding of your track’s focus
  • Discuss the big ideas and burning questions connected to your track
  • Attend a vocations fair

See Ministry

  • Take a pilgrimage to the Franciscan Motherhouse in Oldenburg, IN
  • Hear a keynote about the Franciscan vision of mission
  • Learn about the Franciscan charism through a prayerful tour

Do Ministry

  • Immerse yourself in ministry in Indianapolis:  meet with a local minister who is an expert in the area of focus, explore the focus of the track in reference to the local community and the issues it faces, and use the skills you have developed in service to others
  • Hear keynotes about the ministries of Diakonia (Service) and Leitourgia (Prayer)

Have fun in downtown Indianapolis for dinner and a social

Be Ministry

  • Hear a keynote about the ministry of Didache (Teaching)
  • Develop a “missionary plan” to take what you have learned and the skills you have developed back home to your church or high school
  • Be commissioned as a missionary disciple


Koinonia Track

The Koinonia (partner) Track will explore our communion with God and our union with each other in the body of Christ. Koinonia, a communion of persons gathered by the Holy Spirit, is the central experience of wholeness, unity & Union. This ministry focuses on listening, accepting responsibility to lead and leading people into greater unity with others and God.

Question: What are at least 3 situations that led to your belonging to the church where you are now a member?

Encouragement from MU Mentor:  "Donna Proctor truly partners with you as a student every step of the way while challenging you to see things from a new perspective. She is a wonderful teacher and will surely become a great mentor and friend for you as she has been for me." – Emily Garrett '16

Donna Proctor, A.B.D. came to Marian University in 1992 and has taught a variety of theology courses. Her current interests include Peace and Justice issues through the Catholic Social Teaching lens, Women's issues and the marginalized citizens throughout the world especially those in war torn countries, the American prison system and those struggling with poverty.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why should my child attend MDI?
    At Marian University we pride ourselves on providing an excellent education in a mentoring community, and at the MDI your son/daughter will learn to be a leader through the attentive and caring mentorship of Marian University faculty, staff, and current students. The MDI is a fantastic educational experience as your son/daughter will get college-preparatory type instruction from Marian faculty, and hear talks from nationally known speakers. For additional information, including safety protocol, please view our camp policy.
  • Why should my student attend MDI?
    The focus of the MDI is to prepare students to lead in your church/high school as missionary disciples who have discovered the richness of the Catholic theological tradition by digging into the Joy of the Gospel, Acts of the Apostles, and writings of Ss. Francis and Clare. Students at the MDI will develop real skills, and learn how to apply them in a variety of settings. After the MDI students will be able to help you carry out your own ministry in your church/school. For additional information, including safety protocol, please view our camp policy .
  • What is there for youth/campus ministers?
    We have a leadership track designed just for you by Dr. Art Canales. This track will be a seminar on youth/campus ministry tailored to your needs. Art is considered one of the foremost Catholic adolescent ministry scholars and educators in the United States. Dr. Canales is a contributing editor to joint USCCB and NFCYM document titled The Joy of Adolescent Catechesis: A Letter to Those Who Minister with Catholic Teenagers in the United States. Moreover, Art is on the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Sports and Christianity. He is a third generation Mexican-American. Art is married to his wife Tanya and they have three children: Alex, Anna, and Albert; they live in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Why is the MDI at Marian University?
    Marian University is a great Catholic university in a great American city. The vision of Marian University is to provide an education distinguished in its ability to prepare transformative leaders for service to the world. The MDI builds upon this by preparing high school students to lead in their churches/schools as missionary disciples in order to impact their communities. We will utilize all our resources to make the MDI an outstanding experience: exceptional theology faculty, beautiful campus, rich Franciscan heritage, and proximity to downtown Indianapolis to name only a few.
  • What are the accommodations like?
    All MDI participants will stay on our beautiful campus and be within walking distance to all activities. Guest will stay in our two upperclassmen residence halls—Drew Hall and University Hall. Both are suite-style rooms, with a shared bathroom, have kitchenettes on each floor, and LCD TVs in each lounge. All MDI participants will have access to the MU Wi-Fi network.
  • How do I get to Marian University?

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Marian University does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age or disabilities in the selection of administrative personnel, faculty and staff, and students.
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