The Dutch Catholic Student Network
The Dutch Catholic Student Network began around 2010 by several young catholic students who wanted to promote, encourage and facilitate the creation and expansion of student organisations for Catholics in The Netherlands. It continued and developed not as a foundation or organisation in itself but as a simple network of the different groups existing in various student cities across the country. Utrecht, Nijmegen, Enschede and Amsterdam were there at the start but since then other groups have joined in or started up! It's been exciting to see how things grow!
We would like to stimulate catholic students to deepen and develop their faith during their study years. In order to do this we encourage students to participate in catholic groups where a deepening of faith is made possible. We also hope that DCSN will encourage catholic students to set up new groups or begin new initiatives in cities where there is nothing on offer to them. We also hope that existing groups in other cities will be able to help them in this.
“Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in our faith.”
These words were well explained by Pope Benedict XVI in his message for the 26th World Youth Day in 2011:
‘In order to highlight the importance of faith in the lives of believers, I would like to reflect with you on each of the three terms used by Saint Paul in the expression: “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (cf. Col 2:7). We can distinguish three images: “planted” calls to mind a tree and the roots that feed it; “built up” refers to the construction of a house; “firm” indicates growth in physical or moral strength. These images are very eloquent. Before commenting on them, I would like to point out that grammatically all three terms in the original text are in the passive voice. This means that it is Christ himself who takes the initiative to plant, build up and confirm the faithful.’’
Cooperation within the Network
We hope that the website katholiekestudenten.nl is a tool for Catholic students in The Netherlands which will make it easier to know about the different groups that exist and to start up new groups. Any group which considers itself to fit into the above vision is welcome. Representatives from groups participating in the Network get together twice a year to discuss, share ideas and work together on projects to do with DCSN.
Bishop Everard de Jong
DCSN comes under the guidance of Bishop Everard de Jong, assistant bishop for Roermond diocese, and responsable for student ministry within the Catholic Church in The Netherlands. He considers that “young people need to work on their personal relationship with God. You can know a lot about your faith but if you don't take time for your personal relationship with Him then it's not of very great use; young people need to become friends of Jesus.”
Bishop Everard de Jong