NET (National Evangelisation Team) Ministries is made up of young people who give a year of their lives to evangelise other young people. These young people are given six weeks’ intensive training in passing on the faith and engaging with young people in an enthusiastic and fun way. NET visits schools during the academic year and give retreats to students.
During the past six years St Joseph’s Secondary School Stanhope Street have engaged the team for the senior retreats. The students have been so positive and enthused by their experiences that they request NET for the following year’s retreat. Never has there been a negative response from any student and the turnout for the retreat cannot compare with other retreats provided for the students. This is the reason NET has been invited back year after year. Each year the team is comprised of different young people but the enthusiasm about their faith and the joy they exude is always the same. Teachers who sit in on the retreat for supervision purposes are always amazed at the way the students engage with the presenters and they are equally amazed by the vitality, joy and giftedness of the young evangelisers.
At the start of the day the team gets the students up on their feet for a rousing Gospel song and they also get them doing fun activities. The team also does drama pieces showing the students situations where they might compromise their values while also displaying situations where values can be upheld. As the day goes on the students are led deeper to reflect on their own faith experience and are introduced to Jesus as the one to follow. The final hour of the retreat is reflective, quiet and prayerful. It is really amazing to pop into the large assembly of young people during this prayer session and witness all sitting quietly praying or sharing quietly with one of the team who move around to be available for a quiet word or a prayer.
On 7th December the team who came to our school was made up of five young men and four young girls. Two of the lads were just eighteen and one is joining the Waterford seminary in September 2018 while the other, who is American, is entering a seminary in America.
It is heartening to see the depth of faith in these young evangelisers and they certainly have a great rapport with youth. One of the students said to one of the team that she didn’t think being a Catholic was such great fun! It is also encouraging to know that NET has six teams of young people in six dioceses in Ireland who work with the young in schools and parishes in those dioceses. It was Pope Paul VI who said that the young are the best evangelisers of the young and NET certainly prove the truth of his words.