By Nick Marie
The New Evangelization has been proclaimed for our church and is a tremendous opportunity to renew all things Catholic. It is extremely important to engage Catholic youths to take part in this renewal. A great way to reach out to youths and to call them to a vocation in Christ is the Catholic youth program “Totus Tuus.”
First, let’s begin with a brief explanation. Totus Tuus is a Catholic youth program that takes place in the summer. Totus Tuus means “I am all yours,” in reference to Christians surrendering their lives to Mary in love. The program involves a team or teams consisting of two college-age men and two college-age women who go to a parish to teach youths about the faith. A team will stay at a parish for a week to teach on all things Catholic — from the rosary to the Mass to the saints.
Totus Tuus offers well-grounded catechesis and also has its fair share of fun for the kids. It is not the same as Vacation Bible School. It has a strong vocational emphasis that calls youths to discern God’s special calling for them. Totus Tuus is extensive in its review of the Catholic faith for age groups from first through 12th grades. In short, Totus Tuus has something for everyone.
I would like to share my personal experience to give evidence to the great influence Totus Tuus has on Catholic youths and their vocations. Last summer I was involved in Totus Tuus for the Diocese of Wichita, Kan. At first I thought of it as just another notch in my belt of achievements. But I came to realize that it was a truly Christian enterprise. I saw this program make a difference in the lives of the children and the teens who participated. Our team of two college-age men and two college-age women met a young boy who wanted to become a priest. The reason he wanted to be a priest was because he had a strong experience of Jesus in the Mass. At another parish we gave a passionate teaching on the redemptive grace of the sacrament of reconciliation. That night, the line for reconciliation was so long that the priest could not hear all the confessions.
I encountered a very healthy Catholic culture in Wichita that Totus Tuus had helped to build. The Diocese of Wichita has 63 seminarians. This great vocational fruit is thanks to the Catholic culture that Totus Tuus helped to build.
The New Evangelization will be greatly aided by building a Catholic culture within our world. Totus Tuus is such a way to do so. The program takes place across the nation and in the Iowa dioceses of Sioux City and Des Moines. It is also being established in the Archdiocese of Dubuque. The time is now for bringing this amazing program to our Davenport Diocese. If you are interested in bringing Totus Tuus to your parish this summer, or have questions concerning the program, please contact me at (319) 461-6192 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Nick Marie is a seminarian for the Diocese of Davenport. He is working in the diocese this year as part of a pastoral year break from his studies.)