In the hallway by my office is what I’ve dubbed as the “Alumni Wall of Fame,” a display the group photographs from all the different NET years. Every day I pass by this wall of fame and often smile to myself when I see the years that the men all wore blue and the women pink or when the NET logo was in the shape of the United States and had rays reaching from St. Paul to various cities in the country’s outline.
Each year, the current team members enjoy looking at the old photographs from NET years past. They find their friends, parents, and family members amongst the faces on the wall. They comment on anything ranging from the outdated haircuts to the outdated NET shirts. I mean let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the year that NET decided to use rugby-styled blue and white striped sweatshirts as the NET uniform. Read more
Happy Advent to everyone from Team 5 of Forest Lake, MN!
Ministry has been coming along beautifully, and is now at an end for this half of the NET year. We kicked off the month with a Hot Topic night on the Catholic Church’s teachings of homosexuality, and the night was incredibly fruitful. We were able to teach about what it means to truly show love to every human being no matter their sexual identification. This month we also had two amazing retreats for both the junior high group and the teenagers in the Confirmation courses here at St. Peter’s. The Holy Spirit was truly moving in the hearts of those teenagers and the NET team.
As for our team, this month has been full of challenges but also great strength. With that being said, our team has a few stories to share with you about how by us being fed by our Lord, he has been able to use us to feed others. Read more
Team Four greets you from the Diocese of Gary, IN. We are making our way out of the midwest and continuing to spread the word of the Gospel to youth. We have accomplished 44 retreats and have reached roughly 1,500 youth so far. We continue to see God work through teammates, host families, parish employees, and the youth. He reveals Himself to us daily and reminds us constantly of the many reasons we have to be thankful.
With retreats almost daily, we were beginning to truly understand the exhaustion and stress of the “road life” before we were blessed with the chance to spend four days in Faribault, MN for a Thanksgiving break. Our teammate Will and his family were generous enough to open their home to our entire team of twelve for the Thanksgiving break. Read more
Greetings from NET Team 6!
On our way up to Illinois from Virginia, we had the opportunity to stop in Cincinnati, OH and visit with the NET regional team. It was so nice to see some of our other fellow missionaries and talk about road life adventures. Our team was then blessed to be able to stay with Ryenn’s family for a few nights for Thanksgiving. We also chose to celebrate Christmas as a team by having a party. It was nice to get some team bonding time before going home for the holidays.
As the first half of our NET adventure draws to a close, we have been able to look back at all of the people we have been blessed to meet along the way and all the lessons they have taught us. Most of our work focuses on the youth and every member of Team 6 has witnessed great things from working with young people. But once in a while, we find ourselves getting on the topic of faith in random places, such as gas stations and malls. Read more
The past month has been full of blessed retreats, growing as a team and celebrating Thanksgiving and birthdays together.
A highlight of our ministry has been leading overnight and weekend retreats, with one in particular being very powerful. Our team was blessed to be able to spend a week at the John Paul II Center in Baker, Oregon where we took full advantage of the beautiful snow by sledding on our day off as well as leading praise and worship at a youth group at the local church. We were then joined by a group of 80 middle schoolers who had tons of energy for the whole retreat. Throughout the weekend we were able to get to know them in small groups, laugh with them as a large group, and walk with them toward Christ. Read more
Happy December from the Diocese of Victoria, Texas!
It’s difficult for us to fathom that we’ve met over 2,500 individuals who we’ve been honored to share God’s love with already.
On one of our retreats in Texas, the retreatants were all from different parishes and youth groups. It was definitely a quieter group initially, so we were really praying for the Holy Spirit to be present and work in the youth.
One young man in particular, an 18 year old retreatant, was very quiet throughout the majority of the retreat. In the times of small group he didn’t share – that is, until the very last five minutes of the last small group. He looked up to his small group leader and asked a simple but powerful question: “How can I grow closer to God?” Read more
Hi, my brothers and sisters! How great it is to get to share again with you all of the amazing things that my team and I have been able to do and experience. Our hearts our truly blessed every day by the Lord.
For Thanksgiving our team got to spend a few days with Adam’s family. It was so fun to get to hang out there and get spoiled by his great family. While we were there we got to celebrate Jessica’s birthday. We went to the mall and we had her go around to all the stores on a picture scavenger hunt. We made a list of a ton of different places in the mall that we could take pictures with. Little did Jessica know that as the picture scavenger hunt went on everyone on the team slowly started to disappear until it was only her and John Paul left. John Paul gave her the first clue of where to find the hiding place of one of the team members around the mall. As they went around Jess received her gifts and was affirmed on the great person she is. It is so fun getting to honor our team members and show them how much they mean to each of us. We definitely had a great time! Read more
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
Happy Catholic New Year!
By the time we arrived back at the NET Center on December 15 we had given 64 retreats in five different states in six different dioceses, and encountered over 3,500 young people! As the first semester wound down, a common theme in our team’s prayer, both communal and personal, had been humility. And what better time for humility to come up as a theme than during the Advent season?
Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” or “coming.” Google defines Advent as the coming of a person or event. As Catholics (and many of other Christian denominations), we celebrate the Advent season as the four weeks leading up to the Nativity of Jesus. Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. Jesus comes in the most humble form imaginable, a baby born into a poor family in an old stable. Read more
Just before Thanksgiving we completed 39 retreats, ending our work scheduled for November. Little did we know that we would be going Black Friday shopping in the early hours of the morning. So on Thanksgiving evening, we planned the best route for the best sales at the best stores. We knew that this was this best plan, so naturally, we expected long agonizing lines filled with anxious deal-crazed shoppers. With this in mind, we caffeinated ourselves and departed at 3am and to mentally and strategically place ourselves for incredible deals. Read more
I really wonder what the innkeeper was doing to prepare for what he thought was just a huge surge in business. After all, the census was causing so many people to travel back home, and rather than cramming into their parents’ homes or their cousin’s house – he knew they would need a place to stay. I am sure it was a busy time getting the inn ready: making sure the beds were fully stuffed with wool or straw, the rooms were freshly swept, and the food supply stocked from the market. But the question may remain: what did he do to the stable? Did he bring an extra mattress in there? Did make sure there was a separate place for the animals to accommodate some human visitors? Did he try to bring extra jars of water so they were ready in place for weary travelers? Read more
Happy Advent and Christmas greetings!
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Emmanuel – a name, a truth that means “God is with us.” It is easy to slip into thinking that this name of Emmanuel was only used in Jesus’ time, when He was walking the earth. However, Emmanuel, God is with us, is a very present truth that surrounds us every day of our lives.
As missionaries, it is often tempting to focus too much on “the work of The Lord” that we momentarily forget or overlook “the Lord of the work.” This Advent, the team has been striving to focus on the fact that God is entirely present to us at all times, and that we do not have to rely on our own strength because He has an abundant supply of strength and grace for us, if we simply call upon Him. This has been such a beautiful thing to more fully discover through prayer and the sacraments. Read more
Psalm 118:24: “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Hello again from Team 14, reporting from the sunny state of Florida where the sun shines, rain appears from nowhere, the beach is never too far away, palm trees grow in abundance, and our schedule is crazy.
Since we last checked in so many wonderful things have happened. Our team has experienced rowdy retreats and peaceful moments together. We have had great food and plenty of laughter. We even have seen some stubborn souls opening up to God. We have had our ups and we have had our downs.
And we have given thanks for what we have here with us and what was left at home, our families, both at the ones at home and the family we have become. Read more
“Then He took of the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil; He placed it beside abundant waters. He set it like a willow twig, and it sprouted and became a low spreading vine, and its branches turned toward Him, and its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine, and brought forth branches and put forth foliage.” -Ezekiel 17:4-6
Greetings and a happy Advent and Christmas season to all of you from NET Team 1! This verse was read during one of our team prayers the other day, and I believe that these verses embody everything that has happened to us since the last time we spoke, dear reader. Since the last blog, we have had the craziest month of the year yet, and as we write this blog, we are a little over a week away from Christmas break: the first two weeks our team will be apart from each other since we began this journey. Read more
“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God ; for God is Love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God So loved us, we also ought to love one another. ” 1 John 4: 7-11
If you haven’t heard it, you will: the song “Take Me to Church” is storming the radio and rising to the top of the charts. You might think, “Great, a song about going to church; why wouldn’t we want that?”
If you take a closer look at what is really being said, you will realize this song is about quite the opposite.
Here is here is a tale of two NET team members on a spooky autumn, told in a manner that is more dramatic and detailed than required.
Once up on a time, on a cold fall night at around 9 pm, my NET sisters Claire and Haley were doing their nightly workout. Everyone was asleep and the house was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. In the midst of doing wall sits, they heard a soft knock on their door. So Haley cautiously opened the door but there was no one to be seen… They looked at each other, puzzled and slightly nervous. Claire said, “Hello?”but there was no response. Read more
The South has been very kind to us over the past few weeks. We’ve traveled from Louisiana to Alabama, then to Georgia, North Carolina, and now Virginia.
We’ve had the opportunity to meet many people through retreats, host homes, and even gas station stops! During this time, we have strengthened as a team in that we have gotten to know each other a lot better. It really does feel like we are family!