Netters are guides and friends in parish

| Susan Klemond | April 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

Sixth-grader Nathan Shirk, left, has been inspired by NET team member Alex Liebsch to the point of writing about him for an assignment at All Saints School in Lakeville. Liebsch is part of a NET team serving at All Saints parish and school. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

When Nathan Shirk’s sixth-grade teach­er at All Saints School in Lakeville recently assigned him to write an essay about an inspirational leader, he chose someone not so much older than he is who’s both “religious and fun.”

In his essay, he wrote about National Evangelization Team member Alex ­Liebsch: “He inspires me because he is so nice and is really holy. . . . I like how he is always making friends, helping us if we are in trouble, and says God will always forgive us.”

Nathan has had the chance to get to know Liebsch this school year as the Netter and the other members of his team have led retreats, prayer groups and generally spent time hanging out and sharing faith with middle and high school students at All Saints parish and school.

“He’s really inspired me to believe and trust that God will always be there for me,” Nathan said.

His mom, Kathy Shirk, said she’s happy but not surprised at his choice because the Netters have been good role models who pay attention to all three of her kids.

“The Netters enjoy listening to what they have to say and [the kids] really appreciate having somebody who’s older than they are be excited to see them and talk to them,” she said.

Her oldest son, Jacob, who is in eighth grade, also has become friends with Netters this year through many activities, including participating in a weekly discipleship training group that Jacob said has helped him feel closer to God.

Jacob’s “been able to see how turning to God in his faith can help guide him through those challenges in the teen years,” Kathy said.

Both Jacob and Nathan also like the fun side of hanging out with older peers — some of whom aren’t long out of high school themselves — including playing foosball and Ultimate Frisbee.

“They’re nice and they’re open to ideas and they’re always willing to talk about our faith, too,” Jacob said. “They look at it through our eyes.”

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Category: NET Ministries