For more than 30 years, NET Ministries has ministered to 1.7 million young Catholics through 30,000+ retreats in 150 dioceses across the United States.
Each year, we send over 150 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 75,000 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:
Anchored In Hope
Why, more than 2,000 years later, is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ still relevant in and applicable to our lives today? Because just as Jesus carried his cross to Calvary and suffered to the point of death, we as young men and women in the world follow in the same sense: we carry crosses throughout our lives and, in some instances, feel as if we endure suffering to the point of giving up on faith entirely, “how can any good come from this?”, we might ask ourselves. This, contrary to what might seem to be the end, is in fact just the beginning. Throughout the Gospel we see how Jesus’ actions during his ministry on earth, including his death, point us toward one virtue in particular: hope. Jesus’ example of excruciating suffering and glorious rising allows us to know for certain that there is more than just a cross to carry, but a resurrection to hope for as well.We have a decision to make in the matter of our lives: do we continue to see our circumstances with scaled eyes, only noticing our struggle and the crosses that weigh us down? Or do we indeed see with eyes of faith and rest assured that the present will come to pass as we hope in the glory of the resurrection?
Life to the Full
What do you want? What in your life do you wait for? This retreat explores the deep and universal desire in our hearts for a life centered on a relationship with God. It also explores the dissatisfaction we experience when we place the things of this world before our relationship with Him.
In the world today, there are many outside influences that can affect the lives of young people. Most of what we see in the media presents a false reality – truth and happiness are distorted. This theme takes a look at how the world influences the way we live our lives, and how God presents us with a new, life-giving reality.
This theme explores the beauty and richness of the Catholic Church. As we are all members of the Body of Christ, it is important for youth to understand the uniqueness of that identity. This theme is intended to further young people’s relationship with God and make Him a daily part of their lives.
You Will Receive Power (For Confirmation Retreats)
We already received the Holy Spirit at baptism, what’s the big deal? Why do we need more? This talk explores the sacrament of Confirmation by exploring its relationship to the powerful experience of Pentecost. The youth will also be invited to explore the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how they equip us for daily life. Main topics include: looking at the experience of the apostles in scripture, Pentecost in your life, and living a life empowered by the Holy Spirit (including the seven gifts of the Spirit).
Strength and Beauty
This retreat focuses on our unique call as God’s sons and daughters. Since young men and women have different struggles and needs, a portion of this retreat is divided, tailoring specific talks for each gender. In this age where society has blurred the line of our identities, this is a great way for the youth to understand the significance of their unique calling.
We also have weekend retreats available. Inquire about these with our scheduling department.
Minnesota Based Retreats
Confirmation Weekend Retreat: Click Here for more information
DOXA event for your parish: 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.
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!