I love Lent. No, I’m not being facetious. I really do love Lent.
I LOVE black and white. Concrete parameters. Step by step instructions. Definitive directions. So I LOVE the particulars of Lent. Starting Ash Wednesday every year we enter into a very specific season in the life of the Church. With the “everyone’s doing it” positive peer pressure of our fellow Catholics, it’s “easy” to pick some sort of penance or self denial for these 40 days. I like the challenge.
Esther covered her head with dung and ashes, for it says,
TAKING OFF HER SPLENDID GARMENTS, SHE PUT ON GARMENTS OF DISTRESS AND MOURNING. IN PLACE OF HER PRECIOUS OINTMENTS SHE COVERED HER HEAD WITH DUNG AND ASHES.” Esther 4:13
Dung! Aren’t you glad we don’t get poop rubbed on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday? I’m assuming ashes are probably looking pretty good right about now! As a teenager, Ash Wednesday was a day that I both enjoyed and dreaded: I enjoyed going to Mass but dreaded the public seeing a thick cross of ashes on my forehead.
In 2011, 21-year-old NET alumnus Joe Hall was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Despite the ongoing battle, his faith and trust in God’s plan has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to those who know him. This is his story.
GOD WILL NOT GIVE UP ON YOU, EVEN WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE GIVEN UP ON YOURSELF.”
Before The Seminary
At an early age, Father Paul Heric (NET alumnus 84-85) struggled with dyslexia, a learning disability that became his main discouragement for entering seminary.
Receiving a C was a great success for him. “I wanted to be a priest, but did not want to attend school,” explained Fr. Heric.
After speaking to the vocations director in hopes of entering the seminary, Father Paul was accepted on academic probation with the understanding that it may take 10 years for him to become a priest.
Regardless of his academic inabilities, his identity in Christ and unwavering desire for the priesthood is what anchored him.
We are writing to you from the dairy capital of United States: Wisconsin! We have been keeping ourselves busy in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, giving it our all with doing retreats and a few service projects. It has been a blessing (and convenient) to be able to be in one location for a while. It gives us a chance to really get to know the community. There have been times where we have run into someone outside a recent retreat we did and we were able to say hi! We’ve had quite a unique and incredible time here.
JUST SO, YOUR LIGHT MUST SHINE BEFORE OTHERS, THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD DEEDS AND GLORIFY YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER -Matt 5:16
Hello, everyone! Team 14 is currently serving in Lafayette, Louisiana. Time is flying by as we are underway with the second stretch of our NET year. Christmas break provided us a great chance to recharge and prepare for the road ahead. Reuniting in January gave us all a boost as we rest for ministry and prepared for road life once again.
This is Team 13 coming to you from Plano, Texas. The first semester seemed to fly by, and it’s difficult to think about our team leaving our beloved parish, St. Mark the Evangelist. Even just the three weeks we were away for Christmas felt like a long time! And though we did miss the families in Texas, it was great to see our own families back home.
Happy New Year from Team 12 in Plymouth, Minnesota! We would like to wish you all a very blessed year and share with you some of our New Year’s resolutions.
Martha: “I want to be more intentionally joyful. Also, I want to get to know Mother Mary better, primarily through the rosary.”
Mike: “I have never been one for making New Year’s resolutions.”
Amanda: “I would like to resolve to trust Jesus more and to choose love unconditionally. Also, I need to eat less chocolate!”
Catherine: “To push myself outside of my comfort zone, especially in my ministry.”
Sarah: “My resolution is to seek peace first in prayer. I also want to spend more time outside, even in the frozen wastelands of Minnesnowta!”
Damian: “I wanna go skydiving!”
Corey: “My resolution is focus on living in the moment so that I may enjoy life more by being aware of choosing God’s will every moment. Also to be more open to His will.”
Jimmy: “To work out…To work up…To work on.”
TRULY I TELL YOU, IF YOU HAVE FAITH AS SMALL AS A MUSTARD SEED, YOU CAN SAY TO THIS MOUNTAIN, ‘MOVE FROM HERE TO THERE,’ AND IT WILL MOVE. NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU.” -Matthew 17:20
This verse has never been as powerful to us as it was two weeks ago – standing on top of a majestic mountain covered in snow, watching the sun set over all the ‘14-ers’ (mountains that have an elevation of over 14,000 feet) surrounding us – truly experiencing the glory of the Lord. Who would have thought we’d make it here in our journey with God?
Hello from Team 8 in Chanhassen, MN! We are so excited to be back here after break. We kicked off this semester with an event called XLT which stands for exalt. It was an awesome night of adoration, praise and worship, and an eye opening talk about the Eucharist and its true presence in our daily lives.
Being only 40 minutes away from the NET Center has its perks. At XLTs the entire parish is welcome to join for adoration, and it is beautiful to see people of all ages in adoration – people ages 10-60 raising their hands in praise of our God. Our team is very thankful for the sacrament of the Eucharist. What a gift we as Catholics have that Jesus is willing to humble himself to be present with us on this earth not just 2,000 years ago as a human, but today, right now all over the world in the Eucharist. I say that’s something worth celebrating! #MASS.
Happy 2015 from Team 11! Our team is very excited to see what God has planned for us during this new year. We are so pumped to be back on the road again and getting back into the swing of things. This second semester we have the honor to put on retreats in the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Michigan, and Iowa.
Being back on the road has been very busy. Our scheduled has been very full. We have had retreats nearly every single day.
Howdy y’all! This blog post is coming to you from 60 degrees and sunny weather in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas!
We have been blessed in so many ways already this semester. We are at over 70 retreats (twelve in our fourteen days spent in the Archdiocese so far this semester).
The host families we have encountered have been an incredible witness to us of all the different ways God works in people’s lives.
Team 4 has started this semester off strong with twelve retreats in the amazing Diocese of Kansas City. The Lord has certainly blessed us with retreatants who are on fire with faith, but He hasn’t forgotten to bring us those who doubt His name as well. Throughout our fourteen days here in Kansas, we have met youth from polar opposite ends of the faith spectrum. Team 4 has now served 3,281 retreatants, stayed in over 50 host homes, and eaten the equivalent of 104 pizzas. God hasn’t forgotten about the pizza!
Hello, wonderful Team 5 followers! We started off the second semester at the NET Center with January training which was made up of team reunions (tears and all), talks, team building, more talks, and spiritual recharging for our mission.
We got back to Forest Lake, MN and dove right in that week with high school youth night, Lifeline, junior high youth night, formation classes, retreat prep, and a three-day high school retreat all in one week. Whew! We were running on grace (and caffeine). But you know what? It was worth it – it was an amazing week and a perfect reminder of our mission this year which is to give ourselves so that the Lord can work through us.
After a week at the NET Center for January training, Team 2 hit the road feeling refreshed and ready for the next phase of ministry. Our first stop in Columbus, OH was full of blessings from meeting NET alumni, leading great retreats, getting to stay with Allie’s family, and representing NET at the Christina Allwein fundraiser dinner. There we had the opportunity to share a part of what we do during retreats by performing a drama, sharing the vision of NET, and giving a personal testimony.
“…LET US RUN WITH PERSEVERANCE THE RACE THAT IS SET BEFORE US, LOOKING TO JESUS THE PIONEER AND PERFECTER OF OUR FAITH…” Hebrews 12:1-2
2015 is off to a running start for us here as Team 1! We started the New Year with a bang by jumping right back into ministry. Within 3 weeks of being back on the road, we have have already had one Lifeline, one Gathering, a DOXA event, 8 retreats, and ministered to almost 2,000 young people throughout our ministry. It is a joy to be back together as a team, and as week look forward to what the road has for us this half, 5 months looks like an eternity and a blink of an eye all at the same time. Our days seem to last forever, and yet the days blur together and already a month is gone.