Being a Catholic can be tough. It can be tougher when you want to do it right. But it can be the toughest when you’re not sure how to go about it. You’ve grown up Catholic, went to mass on Sundays, maybe went to Catholic school, but now you’re in university or in the workforce. The game has kind of changed up a bit. You are now no longer relying on your parents or other family members to keep you accountable to your faith. The ball is in your court. And also this is the point in a lot of other young Catholics lives where they are facing a fork in the road: do they keep up with their faith or not.
This is where NET Ministries comes in. Every year, dozens of young people come to serve a year for the Lord. Through working on a team with other young people, they learn how to minister to young people, while they are personally being formed in their own faith. Some teams will work on a local team, helping lead youth in schools and parishes closer to Christ. Or teams will be doing retreat ministry and going to schools and putting on high energy retreats for students.
But the other side of NET is the personal growth NET members (or Netters as they are better known) receive during their time with NET. Here are just three ways NET Ministries helps young people make their faith their own.
Making it your Own: 3 ways NET can help you live out your Catholic Faith
1. Prayer – On NET, prayer is essential. Because of the work Netters do, prayer is needed to get the job done. Prayer is done both personally and as a team. Everyday Netters spend up to an hour in personal prayer, listening and talking and being filled with Jesus to complete the jobs they have to do in the day. Also six times a week, Netters pray together in Team Prayer. This is for them to come together as a group to give thanks to God and all the work that He has done for the team. This could include reciting the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, or singing praise and worship songs. All are great ways for the team to say thanks to Jesus. Now when it comes to prayer in our own personal lives, a lot of us may have misconstrued ideas of prayer actually is. Is it reading the Bible for an hour everyday? Or doing a Rosary in the evening? Maybe saying a quick Our Father, Hail Mary before walking out the door? And the answer is: ALL OF THEM! All of these are good ways to pray. When it comes to prayer, the point is to talk to Jesus at some point (or at multiple points) in the day. Prayer is just having a conversation with Him. But it’s important to make it consistent and make it practical. If you are totally new to prayer its best to start small. Maybe read a chapter of the Bible (a good place to start is with the Gospels), then ask Jesus to help you with the things you are most worried about during the day. And give thanks for all the good things you have in your life (and pretty soon you’ll find that you’ve got a lot of good happening in your life). If you can do this (or your own version of it) for a week, see if there are any differences in your life.
2. Fellowship – NET Teams live and work together 24/7. It’s not like a regular job where you come into an office, work for eight hours and then go home to your own home. Nor is it like a group of friends where you have fun times all the time. There is a good balance of work and play that happens on a NET Team. Team members have different roles to play on the team and they all work and contribute to living together. Whether it be cooking, cleaning or getting groceries, everyone pitches in. Now while team members help each other with the household, they also help each other spiritually. It’s not uncommon to hear Netters say “how was your prayer today,” or “what has Jesus been speaking to you recently?” This is to help each other know what is going on in their lives and how Jesus has been speaking to them. Now fellowship is something that we either have , or none you don’t. If you look at the Catholic Church from the beginning, community was essential. Also when Jesus was on Earth, he had a group of people he lived, worked and prayed with as he was doing His earthly ministry. The some goes for us. We need people to help us in our faith. Whether it be one, two or a dozen people, it’s good to have someone who we can talk to about our spiritual life.
3. Action – They speak louder than words. It’s one thing to say “I am a faithful Catholic,” than it is to actually live it out. And being on a NET team gives you so many opportunities to put your faith in action. The work that NET Teams do allows Netters to show that they are faithful to the Church. Whether it be a school retreat or running youth group, students get to show how their faith means to them. Also being on NET gives many opportunities to grow in their faith. From helping out the team when you don’t really feel like it, or learning more about Catholicism, the personal growth in being a Netter is endless.
Now these are just three ways that someone can learn how to live out their faith. And these are the key ways that NET helps people do that. Now you don’t have to go on NET to develop these habits, but if you want to spend a year learning first hand how to do this, then NET Ministries has the chance for you to do so. Everyone who does NET says “it was the toughest year of my life, but my most rewarding year ever.” Will this be yours?