Many thanks to Robert Colquhoun for sending us this account of his work with young people in Canada.
Greetings from Canada! It's now March and how time has flown! I am working for a missionary organisation called NET (National Evangelization Teams) that organises retreats for young people to encourage them to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church. It's a privilege to be meeting young people almost every day and challenging and encouraging them.
I'm the team leader for team 2. This is a retreat team that travels the country doing retreats in schools and parishes. At present we are in Toronto for the third time, and are about to head to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the Maritime Provinces.
There have been a lot of very memorable moments this year. One of the best was doing a retreat for 70 people in La Salle, near Windsor and Detroit for a whole weekend and many people were deeply inspired to take their faith to greater depths.
We have a prayer time in the afternoon during our retreats and many young people find this very moving. We have retreats to do on almost every weekday. We have focused a lot on doing grade 8 confirmation retreats and on average about 50 students come every day. The retreats normally include a talk, personal testimonies, dramas, music, prayer times, games and skits as well as Reconciliation and Mass.
Evangelization is composed of the proclamation of the Gospel, followed by a response, and then the direct action of God. As the 'Church exists in order to evangelise' (Paul VI) I hope that our team has managed to encourage as many people this year to have a real and living relationship with God.
You do not always see the consequences of your work with being in schools for one day, but many young people have been really inspired and some of the accounts from our team are on the website.
We have stayed in some great parishes, such as Merciful Redeemer in Mississauga and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Sault Ste Marie. A number of the parishes we have been to have had Perpetual Adoration and thriving communities. During the year I have mostly been staying with families in host homes across the country. This has been a great experience to share faith with many different people and I've been very thankful for the immense kindness shown our way. I've stayed with about 30 families so far.
I am working as a volunteer for the whole of this year. NET is mainly dependant on donations to keep the organisation running. Each team member is required to raise C$6000 for the year. At present I have raised around C$2000 and I am still trying to reach the target this year. I would be extremely grateful for some generosity! Almsgiving is a great pillar of Lent. It is possible to donate direct on the NET website: www.netcanada.ca/ and please don't forget to mention my name.