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NET Ministries has arrived in Archdiocese of Cincinnati

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Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr cuts a ribbon at a July 14 ceremonial opening of the NET Ministries regional office located in downtown Cincinnati while archdiocesan staff look on. The archbishop also read a prayer and blessed the new office. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr cuts a ribbon at a July 14 ceremonial opening of the NET Ministries regional office located in downtown Cincinnati while archdiocesan staff look on. The archbishop also read a prayer and blessed the new office. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

By John Stegeman
The Catholic Telegraph 

NET Ministries opened the organization’s first regional office in Cincinnati July 1.

The youth evangelization organization, which announced it would be opening a regional office here late last year, has been working in this archdiocese for years, hosting more than 50 retreats in 2013. With the opening of the regional office, they will be able to reach even more young adults.

The arrival of NET Ministries coincides with an increased push by the Office of New Evangelization to reach out.

“They’re filling two big holes that we kind of assumed are happening, or haven’t recognized,” said Sean Ater, director of the Office of New Evangelization for the archdiocese. “The first is, if it is true that the New Evangelization is about Catholics that need to be evangelized, which it is, evangelization happens with an encounter with Christ that calls people to conversion. We’ve been assuming that that happens and we jump right into catechesis… We just assume they’ve had an encounter with Christ. The reason we have all these Catholics who need that conversion is that we haven’t offered them that.”

Ater is NET Ministries main contact person at the archdiocese. He added that NET Ministries strong suit is in creating a relationship with the Lord, not just teaching youth in new ways.

“Our sacramental theology tells us that you have to be properly disposed to the sacraments in order for that grace to be effective in our life,” Ater said. “We’re not helping people to be properly disposed. We think if we just give them the Eucharist that they’re going to have a relationship with Christ. We just say, ‘Understand what this is and get there on Sunday and receive the Eucharist and you’ll have Christ.’ If that were the case, and it were magic like that, wouldn’t we be just dropping the Eucharist in people’s drinks or throwing it out the window? If it were just receiving, it would be really easy.”

Ryan Lopez, regional coordinator of the Cincinnati office, said the goal is to pass on the gift of faith.

“Faith is the foundation of everything that we’re going to do,” Lopez said. “It’s going to be the biggest challenge when we go out there into the world. The importance of NET and ministry is just having a good foundation of Christ to set the tone of our values, morals, desires and goals. It does have to start at home, and the more we can foster that the more we can cultivate that and the better the chances are for their children to do great things.”

Though NET Ministry serves primarily high school students, its missionaries are generally of college age.

NET Ministries has an affiliated collegiate ministry as well. Called St. Paul’s Outreach (SPO), the organization sets up shop with a campus on with a household where they can host events. They also do one-on-one counseling. SPO is not present in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The nearest SPO is at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Ryan Lopez and his wife, Catherine Lopez, will comprise the staff of the Cincinnati office. NET Ministries’ regional office is located in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Central Offices building at 100 E. 8th Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202. They are located on the seventh floor near the Office of New Evangelization.

Posted July 23, 2014. 

This story also appears in the August 2014 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

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