Our Language, Our Song

Catholic Character Theme: Discipleship

Related Virtues:
Faith, Hope, Love, Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude


The language of our story speaks of discipleship. Discipleship is about following Jesus and striving to live his Gospel. It is our life-long response to the call of Jesus that we feel in our hearts, saying “come, follow me.” For most of us, this call begins at baptism, which joins us to Jesus, and makes us members of his body, the Church. Discipleship is therefore about relationships with God and with each other: Through Jesus - God the Son - we have a personal relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. This relationship with the Trinity invites us to build right relationships with family, neighbours, friends, and even strangers. This is the work of the Kingdom that Jesus calls us to do as his disciples. Discipleship is visible wherever we see the Kingdom’s love, justice, friendship and prayer in our Catholic schools. The character of our Catholic school communities tells us about discipleship.


Scripture Quotes:

Jesus Calls the First Disciples
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”  And immediately they left their nets and followed him.  As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets.  Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
Mark 1: 16-20

Make disciples of all nations
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded of you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:18b-20

The Judgment of the Nations
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of this glory.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.  Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?  And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?  And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 
Matt 25: 31-40 

Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?  It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
“You are the light of the world.  A city built on a hill cannot be hid.  No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Matt 5: 13-16

The Call of Levi
Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
Mark 2: 13-14 

The Mission of the 70
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Luke 10:1-10 

Jesus’ Words of Eternal Life
So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy one of God.”
John 6: 67-69 

Live your lives in Him
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Col 2: 6-7

Marks of the True Christian
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Roman 12: 9-13

Jeremiah’s Call and Commission 
Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”  Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”  But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you,  do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.”  Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth.  See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Jer 1: 1-10


Connection to Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations:

The Catholic Character Theme “Discipleship” relates to the following Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations:

1. A Discerning Believer Formed in the Catholic Faith Community who
CGE1d develops attitudes and values founded on Catholic social teaching and acts to promote social responsibility, human solidarity and the common good;
CGE1g understands that one’s purpose or call in life comes from God and strives to discern and live out this call throughout life’s journey;
3. A Reflective and Creative Thinker who
CGE3f examines, evaluates and applies knowledge of interdependent systems (physical, political, ethical, socio-economic and ecological) for the development of a just and compassionate society.
4. A Self-Directed, Responsible, Life Long Learner who
CGE4c takes initiative and demonstrates Christian leadership;
5. A Collaborative Contributor who
CGE5c develops one’s God-given potential and makes a meaningful contribution to society;
CGE5d finds meaning, dignity, fulfillment and vocation in work which contributes to the common good;
CGE5e respects the rights, responsibilities and contributions of self and others;
CGE5g achieves excellence, originality, and integrity in one’s own work and supports these qualities in the work of others;
6. A Caring Family Member who
CGE6a relates to family members in a loving, compassionate and respectful manner;
7. A Responsible Citizen who
CGE7a acts morally and legally as a person formed in Catholic traditions;
CGE7c seeks and grants forgiveness;
CGE7d promotes the sacredness of life;
CGE7e witnesses Catholic social teaching by promoting equality, democracy, and solidarity for a just, peaceful and compassionate society;
CGE7i respects the environment and uses resources wisely;
CGE7j contributes to the common good.


Related Concepts:
  • LOVE


Links to Online Resources:

The Vatican

The official web site of the Vatican contains an impressive collection of materials with a useful internal search engine.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

The official web site of the CCCB contains extensive documentation, including recent media releases and publications, with a wide variety of useful links to other Church and Catholic organizations' web sites.

Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops

The official web site of the OCCB contains extensive resources from the Catholic Bishops of Ontario as well as useful links to other Church and Catholic organizations' web sites. The Conference's jurisdiction over Ontario Catholic schools makes this site particularly relevant.

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Development and Peace is the overseas development arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Materials related to their ongoing development and relief campaigns provide an opportunity for Catholic educators to teach students about compassion to the less fortunate, and to exercise this compassion through fundraising that will help the poor in the developing world live with hope and dignity.

See also D & P’s Just Youth section, with information on:  D & P youth groups, international exposure tours, Think Fast retreats, education and action campaign resources, extensive links to related social justice resources and organizations, at:  http://youth.devp.org/aframes.html  Catholic school involvement in D & P’s education, Fall Action, Share Lent and ongoing relief campaigns are ways of showing our reverence for the dignity of persons most in need of our help. 

Celebrating an Education for Justice and Peace
A letter from the Ontario Bishops to Ontario’s Catholic secondary school students. This letter provides a helpful overview of how we can educate for justice and peace – to answer the call to be disciples of Christ.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a lay Catholic organization whose mission is to live the Gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice and joy.  The Society has been present in Canada since the mid 19th century.  It focuses on service to the poor.  The service that we are most familiar with is Society’s stores and food banks.   In some cases the presence of the Society is within one parish, in other cases stores and outlets are part of the landscape.  If your school has a canned food drive, consider donating the food to your local St. Vincent de Paul organization in your area.  When your lost and found pile turns into a growing heap with no owners in sight, consider donating the clothes to the Society.