THE sound of 160 voices singing with jubilation echoed around St Ignatius Church Hall, Toowong on February 16 as Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane commissioned 33 National Evangelisation Teams (NET Ministries) members for 2006.
Now in its 19th year, NET Ministries trains and prepares young adults for the task of visiting parishes and schools across Australia, New Zealand and more recently Uganda to share their stories of “good news” with other young people.
Archbishop Bathersby concelebrated the commissioning Mass with Noosa District parish priest Fr Mark Franklin and Holy Spirit Seminary, Brisbane rector Fr Michael McCarthy.
Nineteen young people from Canada, the United States and New Zealand joined 14 Australians for six weeks of ministry training and spiritual formation in January/February.
In his homily, Archbishop Bathersby addressed the 33 young people, affectionately called “Netters”, who have pledged to dedicate a year of their lives to encourage young people to love Christ.
“The greatest tragedy of our world is that so many people have never heard the good news of Christ – namely that there is a God of love present in our midst, or have heard this good news and forgotten it,” he said.
“God has called each of you Netters to remedy that situation, particularly in the lives of other young people, by going out on mission.
“You have a story to tell. Tell it with faith and courage and God’s Holy Spirit will use it to touch the hearts and minds of others.”
Ryan Nanadiago, an ex-police officer from California who is serving on the Melbourne NET Ministries team, responded to the archbishop’s call.
He said team members had come from around the world to share their faith and to say in one voice, “God, here we are, send us”.
“The baton has been passed and we are honoured to carry on what was started by those who came before us,” he said.
“We are truly on the ride of a lifetime and when the going gets tough, the tough band together.
“Trust in Jesus Christ and rock on with courage and faith.”
NET Australia has five teams, including two new parish teams, one based in Bundaberg and the other in Noosa, spreading the Good News to parishes and schools.
Two teams returned to Victoria this year and the Melbourne archdiocesan team will work with the Melbourne Catholic Youth Ministry office for a third year and a team will return to Hoppers Crossing for a second year.
The national team will travel from Cairns to Perth, sharing stories of faith with more than 11,000 young people.
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