Catholic Herald Staff
Three young adults from the Diocese of Superior will serve as missionaries with NET Ministries for the 2019-20 school year. This is the fifth consecutive year missionaries from the diocese are serving with the organization, which is based in St. Paul.
Founded in 1981, NET Ministries “challenges young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church through Catholic youth retreats, parish and school discipleship and youth ministry resources,” according to their website.
Elly Bjork, River Falls; Austin Anderson, New Richmond; and Killian Berscheit, Rhinelander, have joined with 172 other Catholics, aged 18-28, to serve with the organization’s national evangelization teams.
Bjork, a 2019 high school graduate who grew up “knowing all about NET going to Lifelines” (the monthly youth events held at the NET center in St. Paul), was “overjoyed when I felt God calling me to become a missionary.”
Anderson’s path to NET began with his sister’s missionary year with the group in 2010-2011. After Austin’s high school graduation in 2015, he was playing baseball at a Division 1 junior college in Iowa and “didn’t have a faith life whatsoever.” Pursued by his sister to rediscover his faith, he “got so annoyed with her,” he agreed to look into NET. Anderson spent part of the 2018-19 school year serving and realized “openness leads to holiness.”
He discerned and felt called to serve another year and continue growing in his own faith. Austin will be co-leading a travelling team that includes Bjork. They will start the year giving retreats in Florida, working their way up the East Coast.
Bjork is “looking forward to watching how the Holy Spirit will work through me to reach the youth.”
Berscheit will serve with NET on a regional team serving the Los Angeles area from the city’s south and north into the mountains. He heard about NET in high school and felt the tug to apply after attending a number of retreats.
The 2017 graduate, who started his own greeting card company, applied his senior year but was advised to wait. His callback to re-apply to NET coincided with the invitation to spend his summer this year as a Totus Tuus team member in the Diocese of Superior.
“Working with youth, within the diocese and nationwide” felt like something the homeschool alumni wanted to do.
After spending the day with the three diocesan youth, Fr. Samuel Schneider said he was “super excited” for them and loved spending time together. He is “grateful for the opportunity to support those who choose to give of their lives for a year in mission.”
While Bjork admitted she foresees the more challenging part of her year with NET will be “surrendering basic things of everyday life, like choosing what I eat or where I sleep,” Fr. Schneider told the Catholic Herald he wishes “every young person could do a year with NET.”
Speaking of his encounter that day at the training camp, Fr. Schneider added, “They all were soaking in formation to prepare them for the year of evangelization, and holiness for the rest of their lives.”
NET teams’ journeys will be blogged at netusa.org/blog. Berscheit will be on Team 5; Anderson and Bjork are on Team 7. Team member seek their own funding. Visit netusa.org/donate to support them.