Arranged by Fr. James Panikulam, the National Evangelization Team (NET) facilitated a retreat for Grade 7 and 8 students at Our Lady of the Way School in Stratton last week.
NET Ministries of Canada is a Catholic evangelistic outreach for youth based out of the Archdiocese of Ottawa. The team of 12 young people blend a fun, high-energy experience with a straightforward and personal presentation of the Gospel.
They utilize large and small group presentations, music, games, skits, prayers, personal testimonies, and the sacraments.
“There are two groups working through Canada,” said team leader Elizabeth Valenzuela, noting one was going through the Maritimes and the other in western Canada.
NET Ministries began in 1981 in St. Paul, Mn. After offering retreats in Canada for several years, there soon was a growing demand for retreats across the country.
In 1994, the Archbishop of Ottawa invited James Mikulasik of British Columbia to officially begin Net Ministries in Canada. That fall, the first Canadian NET began ministering to Canadian youth.
“NET team members receive ongoing training and supervision during their year of service,” noted Valenzuela, adding it begins with a five-week intensive training program.
Team members come to a deeper understanding of their faith and learn to effectively communicate that faith to others.
“They receive instruction in prayer and scripture, Catholic teaching, Christian character, and ministry skills,” she said. “This training and expertise helps team members build firm foundations for lives of service to the church.”
“NET is a great gift to the church,” noted Most Rev. Marcel Gervais, Archbishop of Ottawa and president of NET Ministries.
There is an urgent need for young people, well-versed in prayer and scripture, to share their faith with their peers, he stressed.