Tuesday, March 5, 2013

NET Ministries 2013

The words to 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman comes to mind right now. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul, Worship His holy name. Sing like never before, O my soul, I'll worship Your holy name..."

"Why?" you may ask yourself. Well, I just spent the last few days taking care of 12 young missionaries. These missionaries are from NET MINISTRIES. I was on NET myself. NET Ministries challenges young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church. Every August, 120 young Catholics aged 18-28 leave behind their jobs, school, family, and friends to devote NINE MONTHS to serving with the National Evangelization teams.

Divided into 11 teams, they travel across the U.S. for nine months to share the Gospel with young people and their families. Since 1981, NET teams have led over 25,000 retreats and ministered to more than 1.6 million young Catholics.

So big whoop, right? I mean, so big deal. They were here. I was an alumnus and was able to spend time with them...but actually it was a little more than just that. 

You know, NET actually helped me to become who I am today. Before NET I was a shy introverted and very insecure 17 year old. When I went "on the road" I was pushed outside of my comfort zone. I began to do God's will...and his will was for me to grow beyond my comfort zone and to love when I wanted to quite loving. Pretty basic, right? Wrong!!

When you travel around in a team with about 11 other people, you have to understand, they all have different likes, dislikes, different buttons, different points of view..sometimes and most of the time it conflicts with your views...suffice it to say, there is a reason why everyone on NET is trained on how to reconcile in charity. 

Life on the road has its challenges, but it also has its great moments. This last weekend, Team 6 came to Valdosta to do a retreat for 90 confirmation students from about 6 different parishes/missions. As you can tell, it was A LOT of fun. But it wasn't all just fun and games. The team did a phenomenal job of presenting the  Gospel message and incorporating everyday experiences and personal testimonies to speak of the goodness of God and our own goodness.

The men and women were split up later on in the day to speak specifically of our identities as sons and daughters of God. There were funny skits and moving dramas that drove those points home. In addition, there was a time of prayer to give the young people a chance to integrate all they have heard and have an encounter with Jesus.

It was a great day this last Saturday. A very sad moment....They left Sunday to Savannah. I coordinated breakfast with the Bishop Tuesday morning before they were to leave (today that is). And I decided to take my day of rest and go meet them for breakfast and a final goodbye. They left an hour later than expected...sorry guys! I send my apologies to your next contact person :/  We took pictures and sang fun songs and hugged like 1,000 times before they piled into the van. I truly loved this team (not that I didn't love Team 2 from last year! lol) There are great men and women on this team and I pray they finish strong. They ministered to me. Showed me that brotherly love that I once knew when I was on the road. They were an example of Christian charity and filled with desire for holiness. I was reminded of my own commitments from the past and my commitments as a priest...wow....nothing like Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so will man sharpen his fellow man" to enkindle in you the fire of HIS love...

So yes, I had a great time with this team. And as they left just a couple hours ago, I can't help but feel the Spirit of the Lord fill me up. I can't help but want to sing out to the Lord in my desire to grow in holiness. I want to bless the Lord for all the many good things he has sent me these last few days...

1 comment:

  1. Father, I think you would like "The Way of the Ascetics" and the "Philokalia." They are both available in PDF and other formats on a variety of websites.


Please be charitable.