Even though this year’s Thanksgiving Mass organised by NET Ministries Ireland at the beginning of this month was the official ending of a year of mission for 46 young missionaries, it had the dual purpose of celebrating 15 years of “restoring hope” through their work with Irish young people.
This year’s cohort of 46 missionaries and 20 staff were joined at Letterkenny Cathedral by Archbishop Eamon Martin, Bishop Alan McGuckian and Bishop Philip Boyce, as well as priests, religious, host homes, benefactors, friends and family. Archbishop Martin praised the young missionaries, he said: “NET demonstrates how the Spirit can call and equip young people for the service of the Gospel.”
Having travelled from 10 nations last summer to begin their year, many of whom are Irish, the missionaries saw some of the fruit of their work in the youth that gathered to celebrate with them.
With five local teams serving in parishes in Castlebar, Booterstown, Meath, Cork, and Letterkenny, along with the Vocations Ireland and Road Teams, who travelled the country meeting youth in schools and parishes, youth they befriended and journeyed with over the year also travelled to Letterkenny for Mass and a celebration afterwards.
Tony Foy, the Executive Director of NET Ireland, paid particular tribute to Bishop Emeritus of Raphoe, Philip Boyce, who was instrumental in bringing NET to Ireland from Canada in the very beginning, saying: “He saw something in NET that was good and that would reach people.”
For NET (National Evangelisation Teams) in Ireland, their main focuses are school retreats, Confirmation programmes, youth groups, and even surfing retreat weekends at their training centre in Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal.