On January 14 & 15, Christ the King parish in Pueblo hosted 120 middle and high school students from fourteen different parishes to participate in retreats offered by the enthusiastic and faith-filled NET Missionaries. Based out of St. Paul Minnesota, NET Ministries has been sending forth missionaries to parishes to host retreats for over 40 years. These specially trained young adult missionaries lead the teens through a wide range of activities to foster an encounter with Jesus. They utilize personal interaction, skits, games, large group presentations, small group discussions, all culminating in an adoration and confession offered by local priests. At the conclusion of the retreat, teens are encouraged to continue growing with Jesus by focusing on four areas - prayer, sacraments, community, and service.
Teens from parishes in Pueblo mingled with teens from Rocky Ford, La Junta and those who traveled from as far as Lamar and Holly! A beautiful sense of friendship and unity could be felt. Youth Ministers from a variety of Parishes also lent their hands in service to help make the retreat a success. The adults also enjoyed the opportunity to connect with each other and with Jesus at this retreat.
"...teens are encouraged to continue growing with Jesus..."
Bishop Berg was able to address the teens gathered on the first day, encouraging them to stay close to Jesus and highlighting the gift of the sacrament of Confession. Fr Carl Wertin promoted vocational discernment on the second day, encouraging teens to continue to discover God’s plan of love for their lives.
Discussions that youth ministers had with their teens after the retreat showed that the experience bore fruit in their lives! Teens were encouraged by the gathering of fellow Catholic youth and the authentic witness of credible young adult missionaries. Many mentioned how much they enjoyed the quiet time with the Lord at adoration and being able to participate in the sacrament of confession. Some teens talked about what they can do in their parish to keep the spirit alive.
"...continue to discover God’s plan of love for their lives..."
Additionally, the retreatants were invited to discern the possibility of becoming a trained NET Missionary themselves once they graduate from high school. A handful of teens from different parishes are discerning this calling! NET Ministries has successfully equipped many young adults to discern the vocations of the priesthood and religious life, as well as vocations to married/single life and serving the church as youth ministers and catechetical leaders. Christ the King parishioner Anika Escalera is currently serving as a NET Missionary. She has found it to be a time of healing, powerful encounters with Christ and with others, and learning a new dependence on God. For more information about NET ministries, see the website https://netusa.org.
For more information: