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Winter 2013

Challenging young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church

What’s Inside: executive dir. / 5-year plan / serve with net / d-week / spotlight / urbana / fr. fred / retreats / doxa

little acts of courage By Emily LaLoggia, Mission Staff

I’m not sure why my mother ever thought a bowl cut was attractive. I mean, I love my mom, but come on, mom, it’s not really the most appealing hair cut for a little girl.

was, my parents were somehow inspired to allow me to jump from the 13th step all the way to the floor, where my dad was waiting with open arms. Just imagine a flying squirrel, and you’ve got the picture – but don’t forget the fancy bowl cut.

Yet, it was what I rocked. And, at 5 years old, I rocked This courageous endeavor was one of many in my it well. childhood. Somehow though, in the mix of growing Amongst my family members, I was known as “Tough- up and running the maze of secular society, the courie.” I loved adventures, and I loved being the first to age I possessed as a child depleted. try something new. So when the opportunity came to jump down to the floor from the 13th step of the I noticed this most distinctly last year during my year main staircase in my house, I was all in. Maybe it was of service with NET. I began to realize within the first the upcoming ’94 Winter Olympic Games or maybe it two weeks of NET training that fear was controlling was Michael Jordan’s imposing success – whatever it many areas of my life; not in any big ways, but in lots (continued on back page)


NETWORKS Winter 2013

a word from net’s

executive director

Challenging young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church

Dear Friends,

board of

directors PRESIDENT: Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, D.D. FOUNDER/ Executive Director: Mr. Mark Berchem, M.S.W., M.T.S. Treasurer: Mr. Jack Cozzens Mr. Gerald Brennan, CIMA Mr. Gordon DeMarais, M.A.T. Mrs. Jan Gloudeman Mr. Thomas Grundhoefer, J.D. Mr. Daniel Hagen, CFA Mrs. Helen Healy Mrs. Patricia Huber Mrs. Barbara Koch Mr. Edward Kocourek Dr. James Kolar, D.MIN. Mr. Alan Kraling Mr. Patrick Regan Episcopal advisory Board: Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Ph.D., S.T.D. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, D.D. Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, D.D. Bishop Frederick F. Campbell, D.D. Bishop Sam G. Jacobs, D.D. NET is under the ecclesiastical vigilance of the Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. It is governed by a national board of directors, is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and has been audited by Lewis, Kisch and Associates, Ltd.


Recently, an elderly gentleman sent a small monetary gift to support the work of the NET teams. Included with his check was a handwritten note asking me to pray for his wonderful wife. They have been married nearly 60 years. As of late she has been suffering from a number of ailments which require her to stay in a nursing facility while he lives alone in their family home. He explained that most of their small assets have been consumed by the medical expenses they are now incurring. He apologized that they could not give more and wished me a merry and blessed Christmas. I was moved by this man’s generosity. I could tell from his note that he sincerely wanted to do more to help NET reach out to Catholic youth, but he had so little. I thought immediately of Christ’s story about the widow’s mite. You remember the story: Jesus was teaching at the Temple and, with some of his disciples, observed people offering their gifts. Many of the well-to-do folks gave nice-sized gifts while the poor widow gave only a couple of small coins. She gave not out of her surplus, but out of her need. When I read this gentleman’s note, I was humbled by his generosity and paused to reflect: how generous am I being with my time, talents, and treasure? Jesus invites us all to be generous with what He has given us. We all have been given a certain amount of time, and a certain amount of talents, and a certain amount of treasure. We are called by the Lord to hold onto them very loosely and to be attentive to the ways that we can use what we have been given for the building up of His kingdom. As we begin this New Year, I invite all of us to reflect on how we are using what God has given us. We all have a responsibility to help where we are able, whether it’s our local parish, NET Ministries, or other worthy charitable causes. I invite you to think about how you’re using your God-given time, talent, and treasure and to ask our Lord how He would like you to use them. The Church needs us all. Let’s each make the most generous response we can in gratitude for how God has blessed us. I am profoundly grateful for the countless ways so many people support the work of NET through the generous use of their time, their talents, and their treasure. I am humbled and inspired. Blessings on your New Year,

Mark Berchem Founder and Executive Director

five-year strategic plan NET Ministries recently launched an initiative for a five-year strategic plan called “Igniting Faith.” Within this plan we’ve created specific immediate and mid-range goals to drastically increase our outreach to Catholic youth across the country.


A bold new plan by NET MINISTRIES

Increase our direct annual impact with youth by from 60,000 to 90,000 each year


Immediate Goals:

1. Enhance Scheduling Efforts 2. Enhance Development Efforts 3. Expand Number of NET Teams

Mid-Range Goals:

1. Open an Eastern Regional Office 2. Open a Western Regional Office 3. Increase NET’s Strategic Reserves by 50% 4. Increase NET’s Focus on Planned Giving

Learn more about how you can help us reach our goals by visiting


know someone who could serve with net? As the frozen season in Minnesota stretches from February to March and into the spring (when does summer start?), the recruiting office is working at a furious pace looking for next year’s crop of NET team members. While building relationships with potential applicants, we are processing applications, setting up Interview Retreats and getting people set up for their year serving with NET. Many people ask us what we are looking for in potential NET team members. It’s a secret, but we’ll let you in on it: we are looking for 3 main things. 1. Personal Faith: A person who has chosen the faith for themselves, lives it out and can articulate it. 2. Maturity: Someone who is confident, humble, can follow peer leadership and can handle the demands of being “on the road” for 9 months.


2. 3.

3. Relational Skills: A person who is willing to converse with new people, be it teenagers, youth ministers or host families. Our teams are meeting new people every day, and the way we spread the gospel is through relationships with the young people we meet. If you know anyone who has these qualities and is between the ages of 18-28, we’d love to talk to them about NET! Feel free to email us ( or visit our recruiting page ( at any time.


discipleship week 2013

“Be stirred into flame.” - 2 Timothy 1:16 Discipleship Week, or D-Week, is a four-day retreat for Catholic teens ages 13-18. Young people experience the love, mercy and power of God. Many witness that D-Week has awakened or re-energized their relationship with Jesus Christ. Others speak of their faith “set afire” through the Holy Spirit. And still others share how Christ came alive for them in Eucharist, Reconciliation and Adoration. This year, D-Week will be coming to three locations:

duluth, mn June 10-13, 2013 (Mon-Thurs)

twin cities, mn June 17-20, 2013 (Mon-Thurs)

victoria, tx June 24-27, 2013 (Mon-Thurs)

Cost Per Student: $215

Cost Per Student: $200

Cost Per Student: $225

D-Week Site: College of St. Scholastica 1200 Kenwood Ave Duluth, MN 55811

D-Week Site: NET Ministries Retreat Center 110 Crusader Ave West West St. Paul, MN 55118

D-Week Site: The Spiritual Renewal Center 718 Gussie Schmidt Rd Victoria, TX 77905

Register by May 24 to guarantee your spot!

Register by June 1 to guarantee your spot!

Register by June 1 to guarantee your spot!

Register and learn more at

net alumni: d-week needs you! Interested in joining the retreat team? We need your help staffing all three D-Week locations this summer. Please consider helping us out. Learn more at


spotlight on alumnus Dan DeMatte

NET Ministries would like to congratulate alumnus Dan DeMatte (03-04) on the publication of his book, “Holiness Revolution.”

young people into the adventure of their Catholic faith. He starred in A&E’s reality TV show, “God or the Girl,” he defended the Church on Larry King Live and The View, and he has shared his testimony on the Today Show.

“The world is in dire need of change. People are hurting. People are turning to empty promises searching for answers. All along, we have the answer: Jesus. In Holiness Revolution, your eyes will be awakened to the need for change in this world. You will be challenged to live a life of radical discipleship that brings that change. It’s time to stop making excuses and start taking action. Only from God, only from the saints, does true revolution come. Will you join the revolution of holiness?” -

He holds undergraduate degrees in Theology and Philosophy and has nearly completed his Masters Degree in Evangelization from the Pontifical College Josephinum. Dan was kind enough to answer a few questions for us regarding his new book and his experience serving with NET Ministries.

Dan DeMatte is a speaker and evangelist who challenges young men and women of today to live a life of radical holiness – a holiness that produces saints, not mere mediocre Catholics. Dan is married to Amber Marie (DuMont), a NET alumna, and together they have three beautiful children. Dan is a youth minister, national speaker and retreat leader, and program director for a high adventure youth camp (Catholic Youth Summer Camp) aimed at drawing Dan and his family


What was your favorite part about serving with NET Are there plans for more books in the future? I hope. I feel like God has placed so many messages Ministries?

I love the mission of giving everything for the sake of on my heart, and they burn like a raging fire until I get the Kingdom. My every thought, my every action, my them out and share them with the world! every word was dedicated to Christ. It was a year when I can honestly say I lived All for Jesus and All for His Kingdom! It’s hard to do that in the midst of normal life, but For those who are interested, a free copy can be missionary life lends itself well to it!

obtained by visiting

How did NET Ministries impact your faith?

NET Ministries gave me my foundation. Scripture speaks of building your house on a firm foundation so that when the storms come, the house will not fall. Thanks to NET Ministries, I truly believe my faith has been built on a rock-solid foundation and when the storms of life and ministry come, my faith stands firm because of what NET has instilled in me.

What was your inspiration for writing “Holiness Revolution”?

I wrote “Holiness Revolution” because I was inspired by the words of Pope Benedict to the youth of the world at World Youth Day in 2005, but the real inspiration for writing the book has been the burning words of Jesus Christ inside of me that simply needed to be shared with others. When writing, Jeremiah 20:9 was on my heart the whole time: “But if I say, ‘I will not mention His word or speak anymore in His name,’ His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”

What is one thing you want people to take away from your book?

They are called to live all for Jesus and all for His Kingdom. They are called to live for something greater than themselves!


Urbana 2012 Steve Villa, NET Staff

At the invitation of Archbishop Carlson of St. Louis, I had the fortunate pleasure to lead a group of NET alumni to the Urbana Conference, sponsored by InterVarsity, an Evangelical college campus ministry. The conference is a means to engage Christian young adults in the life and mission of the Church. Hundred of exhibitors and many speakers from all over the world were invited to be a part of this conference. NET Ministries had the opportunity to have a booth in the Exhibit Hall and to host the Assisi Lounge, a ministry of hospitality wherein conference participants of any denomination could find an opportunity to pray, rest, reflect, and/or discuss with us.

lukewarm environment. I went off to college, and I got involved with InverVarsity’s campus Bible Studies and Discipleship Groups, and my personal faith came alive!” So many of them were surprised to meet a Catholic who also had a lively personal faith and a testimony of how Jesus has worked in our lives. Many people came just to ask us questions about various aspects of Catholicism. Our team was blessed to have been given copies of Matthew Kelly’s “Rediscovering Catholicism” to hand out free to participants, some of whom even started to read this book at the conference!

A singular blessing in the Assisi Lounge was to have the presence of the Blessed Sacrament with us. While each NET alumnus kept vigil throughout the afternoon, we were joined by Catholics and other Christians in our space. A local diocesan priest was able to come each afternoon and hear confessions. We organized a Sunday afternoon mass at the Shrine of St. Joseph so We had direct contact with as many as 600 participants. that Catholic participants could attend mass without None of the individuals were hostile to the fact that missing any part of the conference. we were the only Catholic exhibitor at this Evangelical conference. Using the Pope’s words as a guide, our group found ourselves to be personally enriched and edified by I was asked to co-present an afternoon seminar called our attendance and participation throughout the “Catholics and Protestants in Missional Partnership.” conference. We began to feel within ourselves the In this presentation, the emphasis was placed on tension caused by the division, and we began to long the aspects of each denomination which are held in more deeply for the unification of the Christian Church. common. As word spread through the conference Together, Christians can stand at this moment in history that there were Catholics present, our traffic at to witness to the country one thing: we are human, the booth and the Lounge increased. Story after created by divine design, and redeemed for an eternal story had a similar theme: “I grew up Catholic in a destiny.


honoring father fred

Fr. Fred was also presented with a spiritual bouquet from friends and alumni of NET, offerMore than 200 people cheered for and congratulated a ing specific intentions very special priest in the NET Center gym on the evening just for him: rosaries, of January 6, 2013. Fr. Fred Gaglia, a long-time friend Adoration hours, fastof NET Ministries, is celebrating his 50th year as an or- ing, mass intentions, dained priest of Jesus Christ. After years of inviting NET and more. teams to conduct retreats in his California parish, Fr. Fred began helping out with NET training each fall and win- During the celebrater, making the trip to Minnesota a regular occurrence tion, the floor was for 22 straight years and counting. open for individuals to express their gratiHe was honored to receive a plaque which read, “Thank tude to Fr. Fred: you for 50 years of faithful service to Jesus Christ and his Church. You are an incredible gift to NET Ministries.” “Fr. Fred made me realize for the first time what it is for a priest to be a Fr. Fred helped instill what has become a yearly men’s spiritual father. I’d never witnessed that before.” session on the theme of “knighthood”, and was surprised - Matthew Cantrell (2010-11, 12-13) and delighted to receive a beautiful sword, presented to him by Dave Rinaldi of NET Ministries staff. Dave said, “Just hearing the love in the way he spoke to me made “A knight’s sword was much more than just a weapon. me know in my heart what it feels like to be loved by God It was something passed down from generation to gen- the Father, in a very small way.” - Chad O’Neil (2012-13) eration. It identified who he was. His sword was often inscribed with scripture verses to remind him what he was “You are a recognizable and treasured part of NET fighting for. This sword is to remind you that 50 years is Ministries. When people think of NET, you are one a great milestone, but you’re not done yet. We need you of the people that they think of.” - Mark Berchem, to continue to stand up and fight. While many men quit Founder and Executive Director their vocation, you are a man dedicated to your spouse. We continue to need your witness.” Congratulations from all of us!


providing an opportunity Ryan Lopez, NET Staff

I was once presented the question, “How would you describe what your ministry does?” My answer is one word: OPPORTUNITY. I wouldn’t even describe my job as selling an opportunity. I believe that I am presenting an opportunity. We have been given a great responsibility to proclaim the gospel at every moment of our lives. Whether you are in ministry or you are working in corporate America, this is your life’s calling! Sure, at times I can sound like a telemarketer or feel like I am sending out spam emails, but if I didn’t do those things then those people may never hear about the opportunity that NET Ministries can provide. In your job and in your daily lives your joy, enthusiasm, passion, and positive attitudes are a result of Christ shining through you. Some may not recognize that it is Christ, but we know that it is and they will walk away a better person because of it.

Mother Teresa says it best, “Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.”

This year I have taken on the new role of Team Scheduling Administrator. I spend a lot of my time sending emails, making phone calls, and collaborating on creative marketing campaigns. To sum it up, I am a Let us challenge ourselves to put our love into action salesperson. in a new and radical way. Let us send out invitations rather than waiting for people to come. Let us not wait But what am I selling? around for opportunities, but create opportunities for I could easily say that I am selling retreats. I could also others to encounter Christ’s love through us. say that I am selling a team. I could even say that I am selling our mission of “Challenging young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church.” All those may be true, but it is more than all those things Learn more about scheduling a NET retreat at your parish or school by visiting combined.


doxa: fully alive We’d like to introduce you to NET’s newest initiative, DOXA, an evening of Eucharistic Adoration and acoustic worship. δόξῃ (translated into English is DOXA, pronounced DOHX-ah), is a Greek word that means “glory.” It is found in 2 Cor 3:17-18:

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.” We all have some kind of “veil” over our hearts which prevents us from seeing ourselves fully and from encountering the Lord more profoundly in our lives. That veil can be anything: from wishful or fragmentary thinking about faith, patterns of pleasurable or addictive behavior, or even doubt and shame. DOXA events are an

opportunity to ask the Lord to remove these “veils” so that we can experience the one thing that is so elusive: the joy of freedom! Through DOXA, we will aim towards that end. There will be a time for singing-as-prayer; we will hear a talk; we will hear testimonies; we will be in the Eucharistic presence of the Lord. In the course of the night, we will have a short time of sacred silence, wherein we might be able to hear the voice of the Lord speaking a word of life and love to us. The Home Team will be leading DOXA events all over the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis during this second semester.

Learn more at


We’d love to hear from you! Tell us about your experience with NET at I saw men and women around my age loving God and it encouraged me to stay strong. What NET Ministries is doing is brilliant. They are encouraging, understanding, energetic, charismatic, and above all, incorporate God into everything that they do. -Youth, Age 17


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The peaceful prayer time we were given was deeply moving and I could feel God’s presence with me. I now pray more often than I did before, not because I feel obligated to, but because I want to. -Youth, Age 15

Most of my youth said they went in with closed minds and came out with open hearts. Truly all had a great experience.

-Youth Minister


Little Acts of Courage... continued from front page

Whether you believe you are a person of courage or of little ways. So, after some prayer and a great sugges- not, we all have fears; and if we are to be in relationtion from a wise priest, I decided to revisit the courage ship with God, who is Perfect Love, then let us listen to of my youth and make one act of courage a day to tri- St. John in his first letter: “There is no fear in love, but umph over these little fears. perfect love casts out fear,” (4:18). But these weren’t going to be just any acts of courage; they had to be little ones – and I mean little! “Like what?”, you ask? Smiling at a stranger, getting out of bed at first sound of my alarm, having a conversation with a store clerk, asking someone for directions – see what I mean by “little?” But, brothers and sisters, these little acts of courage have begun to instill in me the courage I once possessed as a kid. And holy moly, this is transforming my life helping me embrace the woman God has made me to be!


My friends, especially during this Year of Faith with our Church, it is most important that we develop a disposition of courage. So, my challenge for you: Make one act of courage today. Just one; and remember, keep it small. I can promise you this — your life will be transformed!

Read more reflections like this one on our blog:

Winter 2013 Newsletter  
Winter 2013 Newsletter  

NET Ministries Winter 2013 Newsletter