For more than 30 years, NET Ministries has ministered to 1.8 million young Catholics through 30,000+ retreats in 150 dioceses across the United States.
Each year, we send over 175 young adults across the country in teams of 8-14 to proclaim the Gospel to Catholic youth. The NET teams will share their love of Christ and the Church with over 90,000 youth from September to May this year. They come from a wide variety of states and countries. Our team members have been trained in the teachings of the Catholic Church and formed as brothers and sisters in Christ, a quality young people consistently notice and to which they are attracted. Our experienced team members take care of most everything, including retreat content, set up, and tear down. Your level of involvement is up to you; we partner with you to ensure a perfect match for your group’s needs.
My life has literally changed since the retreat and I am now trying my best to become more like Christ.Youth, Age 14
I don’t want to call them the future of the Church. They’re the now of the Church. I’m so encouraged by them.Confirmation Teacher
Most of my youth said they went in with closed minds and came out with open hearts. Truly all had a great experience.Youth Minister
THE NET DIFFERENCE
What makes NET Ministries the largest and most successful Catholic youth retreat ministry in the U.S. is the quality training that our 150 NET team members receive.
In mid-August each year, the new young adult team members begin five weeks of personal formation and retreat skills training. Frequent reception of the sacraments is a central part of NET training. They also learn and practice short dramas, presentations, personal testimonies, music, and small discussion groups.
NET team members learn how to effectively pray with retreatants and provide each of them with an opportunity to make a response to God’s invitation to make Him the center of their life and live as His disciple.
At the end of training these young adults are placed onto teams. Each year these NET teams combine to proclaim the Gospel to over 75,000 Catholic youth.
Because they’re close in age to the youth they serve, team members are received by youth in a positive way. Their own youthfulness also allows NET team members to authentically model what it looks like to be a young person who loves Christ and is successfully living as His disciple.
WHAT THE RETREATS INCLUDE
NET Ministries retreats are designed for students in grades 7-12. The NET team will travel to your Catholic parish or school to conduct the retreat.
The mission of the traveling NET teams since 1981 has been to provide momentum for events in the existing youth programs present in the parishes and Catholic schools hosting the team.
NET retreats are designed to present youth with the truth of who they are as God’s children and how true joy and meaning in life are found by accepting Christ’s gift of salvation and living as His disciple.
Every NET retreat includes an extended time for the youth to pray and be prayed with to make a personal response to God’s invitation.
NET retreats include:
- 10-12 trained NET missionaries
- Retreat setup and cleanup
- Retreat talks
- Small group discussions
- Games: general + “Gospel-based”
- Entertaining skits
- Moving dramas
- Live music
- Guided prayer time
- Men’s and women’s sessions*
- Prayer labs*
- Recreational time*
- Follow-up material
*varies based on length of retreat and priest availability
Youth/campus ministry personnel are provided an opportunity to follow-up and build upon the enthusiasm generated by the NET team. NET Ministries furnishes each retreat organizer with suggested material to help facilitate follow-up to NET retreats.
Choose from retreats that last from five hours to the entire weekend. NET conducts junior high, senior high, Confirmation, and mixed-age retreats. We provide a variety of retreat themes, dramatic skits, and lively songs, making every retreat a unique experience.
Retreat themes include:
With Great Power (Confirmation, Holy Spirit)
With great power comes great responsibility! At Confirmation, the grace of Pentecost is unleashed and we receive greater access to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. God can do incredible things with us if we are open to His action. How will your life look different when living in the power of the Holy Spirit? This theme explores the personal experience of young people who open themselves to the action of the Holy Spirit after Confirmation. This talk is suitable for all Confirmation programs.
Anchored in Hope (Suffering, Hope)
There is no cross, big or small, in our life which the Lord does not share with us. When storms rage, boats will rock. When you suffer, what or who is your anchor? This theme explores the power of being anchored in the hope of the resurrection in the midst of suffering.
Fully Alive (True Happiness)
Only God is big enough to fill you. The pursuit of happiness motivates every decision we make. Why is it, then, that we find ourselves unhappy so often? This theme explores our search for true happiness, highlighting the one thing that is big enough to fill our deepest desires – God himself.
In His Image (Identity, Baptism)
Remember who you are. Who are you? A soccer player? A dancer? The funny guy? The nice girl? There is one identity you don’t have to earn and cannot be taken away. This theme explores our inclination to identify ourselves by what we do rather than who we are as God’s sons and daughters. Middle school, Senior high, Confirmation.
One Church (The Catholic Church)
One universal home guaranteed by God. What if there was an institution we could trust when our reasoning fails us? What if there was an institution guaranteed by God himself to withstand every difficulty the world offers? There is. This theme explores the Catholic Church as the universal home for all people.
We owed a debt we couldn’t pay; He paid a debt He didn’t owe. Who has the righteousness to volunteer as tribute? This theme explores who Jesus was and how His sacrifice restores our relationship with God. Middle school, Senior high, Confirmation.
Strength in Numbers (Authentic Friendship, Greatness)
True friends walk together through their weakness. Betrayal, gossip, and scandal: these traits often characterize friendships portrayed in the entertainment industry. What if our friendships, were instead marked by support no matter the circumstances? This theme explores the role of authentic friendships and their ability to empower us to greatness.
Men’s and Women’s Retreat (the following two are combined into one retreat)
True Grit (Authentic Masculinity)
Real men lay their lives down for others. What does it mean to be a man? Strength? Fame? Wealth? Masculinity means sacrifice. Fewer and fewer men are willing to respond to this difficult call. Do you have what it takes? This theme explores authentic masculinity in response to Christ’s example of laying down His life for others.
Dignified (Authentic Femininity)
Say “yes” to God. Say “yes” to love. Mary crushed the serpent’s head and welcomed Jesus into the world by saying “yes” to God’s plan for her life. God has an incredible plan for your life and wants to share himself with others through you. Will you say “yes”? This theme explores authentic femininity through imitating Our Blessed Mother, Mary.
We also have weekend retreats available. Inquire about these with our scheduling department.
The Journey (Advent, Transformation)
When we see that it truly was God who became man, we can be open to the journey he invites us on to become like him. We are each on a journey. Many traveled 2000 years ago to visit a child during this season we call Advent. But what sort of child attracts the attention of the world leaders of the time? This Advent theme explores the intrigue surrounding Jesus’ birth and our journey to become like Him.
The Joy of the Gospel (Christmas, Joy)
You are loved and saved! How can we experience the gift of God’s Joy this season? In Pope Francis’s letter, The Joy of the Gospel, he writes, “Christianity spreads through the joy of disciples who know that they are loved and saved.” This Christmas theme explores how we can experience the Joy of the Gospel by remembering God’s love and saving grace.
Heroic 40 (Lent, Prayer)
Commit to the Heroic 40; Forty days and forty nights of prayer with guaranteed results. Think about the many diet plans that promise great results “in just forty days.” What would the world be like if we took these 40 days of Lent to truly grow closer to God? This Lenten theme explores the way God can transform our life when we seek him consistently in prayer. Middle school, Senior high, Confirmation.
Risen (Easter, Resurrection Power)
“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” 1 Cor 15:14. Jesus rose from the dead so that we can live. Too often our daily faith experience is disconnected from the power of Christ’s resurrection. What difficulty in your life do you need the power of Christ’s resurrection to overcome? This Easter theme demonstrates that Christ’s rising from the dead has a direct impact on the lives of those who follow Him.
Confirmation Weekend Retreat at the NET Center in St. Paul
Click here for more information.
NET has led youth ministry training for more than 2,300 young adults from around the world. The NET team members and other youth worker guests who attend the intense five week NET training are equipped to make a great impact with youth in years to come.
Through training and constant prayer, the team members are brought to a deeper understanding of their faith and given practical skills to effectively communicate that faith to others. In an environment that includes daily Mass, Reconciliation, weekly Benediction, reflection on the lives of the Saints, individual and corporate prayer, and small group discussion, they also learn retreat skills that enable them to minister to thousands of young people.
NET team members receive training in the following areas: loving God and loving others, the content of the Gospel message, leadership and team building skills, and retreat ministry. They follow a busy schedule that includes daily Mass and prayer, opportunities to meet individually with a priest, staff-led sharing groups, and recreation.
Our retreat goals are:
- Help young people understand God’s love for them
- Offer faith of the team members as a witness to the youth that faith in God is a desirable, acceptable, and exciting part of their lives
- Encourage young people to grow in their commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church
Youth ministers and youth ministry leaders find that their youth group, Confirmation students, and faith formation students connect well with the team members because their own youthful experience allows them to be heard and understood by teens.
NET Ministries thoroughly screens and trains every NET team member prior to their work with young people. Specifically, NET follows the recommendations of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” which was created by the National Catholic Conference of Bishops (now USCCB) in June 2002 and June 2005.
Per these recommendations, all of our team members go through a four-part scrutiny to ensure their suitability for work with youth prior to their conducting any ministry with youth.
First, in the initial screening and selection process, NET requires several references for each potential NET team member, references who can testify to the suitability of a prospective team member. Each reference is originally submitted in writing, and then verified by our staff. This is part of the extensive application process which includes two live interviews and a letter from their Pastor stating they are in good standing with the Catholic Church.
Secondly, NET conducts a criminal background check of each prospect, specialized to accommodate the young age of the NET team members. Our criminal background checks are conducted by a private investigation agency called The McDowell Agency, which is also the agency being utilized by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. This background check includes a search on the National Sex Offenders Database.
Third, NET team members are trained and certified in safe environments through the “VIRTUS–Protecting God’s Children” course by the National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc. NET Team members are also required to successfully complete NET’s training process, which is conducted prior to and during their ministry. During this training, the NET team members receive instruction concerning:
- appropriate standards of conduct for those working with youth;
- inappropriate speech, touch, and relationships with youth;
- requirements for creating a safe environment for all retreatants;
- guidelines for ensuring their own personal safety.
Lastly, all team members acknowledge, by their signature, that they have received, understood, and intend to conduct themselves in accordance with NET Ministries’ Personal Conduct Policies.
Once the NET team members are in active ministry with NET, they continue to receive ongoing training and supervision by NET staff members, which includes weekly contact and monthly onsite visits.
Personnel records, including the above mentioned paperwork, are all kept on each individual team member at the NET office. A more comprehensive explanation is available if needed by contacting NET’s Human Resources Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth ministers and DREs find that their Confirmation candidates connect well with the NET team members because their own youthful experience allows them to be heard and understood by the teens. Sometimes, young people respond best to a new voice. NET retreats can provide a dynamic opportunity to hear the Gospel presented in a language that young people can understand. They will see the witness of the team members, who come from all across the country, as they share their Catholic faith.
Catholic School Retreats
NET team members conduct school-day retreats for grades 7-12 which include inspiring talks, personal faith sharing, dramatic skits, small group discussion, lively songs and prayer, making every retreat a unique experience. Catholic school teachers recognize the genius of NET’s peer-to-peer ministry. The NET team members’ own youthful experience allows them to be heard and understood by young people.
Youth Group Retreats
NET provides retreats for grades 7-12 which include inspiring talks, personal faith sharing, skits, small group discussion, lively songs and prayer, making every retreat a unique experience. NET retreats provide an exciting opportunity to go deeper and to supplement the ministry already in place at your parish. Youth ministers recognize the genius of NET’s peer-to-peer ministry. The NET team members’ own youthful experience allows them to be heard and understood by young people.
We’d love to work with you to ensure that our retreat fits the goals and needs of your youth group. Please click on the link below, fill out your information, and someone in our scheduling department will contact you shortly!