By Abbey Schuhmann
MACON – Middle school youth from all across the diocese gathered at Lake Forest Ranch in Macon on October 13-14 for the 2018 Diocesan Middle School Fall Retreat. The retreat was led by NET Ministries (National Evangelization Team), a Catholic ministry program out of St. Paul, Minnesota.
NET Ministries was established about 35 years ago with the mission to spread the Gospel message of Jesus Christ through prayer, sacraments, fellowship and service. NET Team #10 led the diocesan retreat along with a middle school retreat at Southaven Sacred Heart School. Each NET Team is made of 8-12 young adults usually ages 18-24 years old. The leaders commit to a year of missionary retreat ministry by traveling around the country hosting retreats for parishes and schools.
The theme of this retreat was “In His Image” and teens had the chance to reflect on what it means to be sons and daughters of Christ. Their identity is found in God as all are made in his image and likeness. The overnight gathering provided the youth with a high-energy, faith-filled program. The youth were able to hear powerful witness talks from members of the NET Team, engaged in several small group discussions, experienced a powerful prayer ministry with the team. Father Augustine Palimattam of Meridian St. Patrick and St. Joseph celebrated Mass with the group Saturday night and the evening ended with a bonfire by the lake. The NET team also performed funny and serious skits throughout the weekend.
The teens had the chance for some fun and fellowship on Sunday afternoon by participating in some friendly competition including games of ping-pong, basketball, and the latest craze – gaga ball. The adult youth leaders had the opportunity to meet one another and discuss the youth ministry programs at their respective parishes.
The next big event for the Office of Youth Ministry is the Diocese of Jackson Catholic Youth Conference (DCYC) set for Feb. 1-2, 2019, in Vicksburg. This year’s theme – faith, hope and love. The keynote speaker is Brian Butler along with worship leaders Greg and Lizzy. For more information regarding DCYC or any other diocesan youth activities contact Abbey Schuhmann, Coordinator for the Office of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Jackson by email at email@example.com.