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Totus Tuus program for children, teens expands to 23 parishes this summer

Young adult missionaries teach the faith to children, teens through formation, fun

Totus Tuus, a summer program for first- through 12th-graders, will return to parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis in June and July.

A program of the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry, Totus Tuus is dedicated to sharing the Gospel and forming disciples. The weeklong program is taught by young adult missionaries and centers around five pillars: the Eucharist, Marian devotion, catechesis, vocational discernment — and fun.

First- through sixth-graders participate in a day program, and seventh- through 12th-graders are invited to an evening program. Missionaries travel from parish to parish and stay with host families while presenting the program each week.

This year, 23 parishes will host Totus Tuus, up from 21 last year. The program, which was founded in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, has been hosted in the Archdiocese of St. Louis since 2017.

Jordyn Heisserer and Maria Heithaus, parishioners at Sacred Heart in Florissant and freshmen at Maryville University, will be first-time missionaries this summer. Both volunteered during the Totus Tuus day program and attended the teen program at Sacred Heart last summer and felt a call to return as missionaries.

Heithaus was impressed by the transformation she witnessed in the children throughout the week, including increased reverence at Mass and enthusiasm about the faith, she said. “Seeing the excitement they get when they figure something out is definitely something I’m excited for,” she said. “It’s seeing that light in their brain just go, ‘Oh, that’s why this is important. That’s why I need to do this.’”

As she prepared to enter college herself, she was also inspired by the witness of the college-aged missionaries. “We listened to the missionaries and saw the way they live their lives as college students, after high school, and how they kept God in their lives even in hard times,” she said. “In college, it can be really hard.”

The personal witness of the missionaries also made an impact on Heisserer.

“I really liked how every night, a missionary would share their testimony,” she said. “…A lot of the messages were, don’t be afraid of showing your faith and teaching people about the Word. That definitely stuck with me.”

When she was in high school, she was often worried she would be judged for openly sharing her faith, Heisserer added. “But after hearing those testimonies, I was like, no, I shouldn’t be afraid.”

Totus Tuus is Latin for “Totally Yours,” St. John Paul II’s motto, taken from St. Louis de Monfort’s “True Devotion to Mary.” Each summer, the program focuses on a set of mysteries of the Rosary and another catechetical topic: This year, it will be the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary and the Apostles’ Creed.

The Office of Youth Ministry is seeking more college-age young adults to serve as Totus Tuus missionaries this summer. For more information and to apply, visit stlyouth.org/youth-events/totus-tuus-missionary.

Totus Tuus 2024

To participate, please contact the individual parish for cost and registration information.

June 2-8:

Holy Infant, Ballwin

St. Patrick, Wentzville

June 9-15:

Queen of All Saints, Oakville

Sacred Heart, Florissant

St. Michael the Archangel, Shrewsbury (Holy Cross Academy parishes)

June 16-22:

St. Charles Borromeo, St. Charles

Ascension, Chesterfield

Assumption, Mattese

Immaculate Conception, Union

June 23-29:

St. Gabriel the Archangel, St. Louis

St. Theodore, Flint Hill

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Oakville

July 7-13:

Ste. Genevieve, Ste. Genevieve

Our Lady of Lourdes, Washington

Immaculate Conception, Dardenne Prairie

July 14-20:

Good Shepherd, Hillsboro/Our Lady, Festus/Sacred Heart, Crystal City

St. Gerard Majella, Kirkwood

All Saints, St. Peters

July 21-27:

St. Monica, Creve Coeur

Sacred Heart, Valley Park

St. Anselm, Creve Coeur

St. Joseph, Imperial

St. Cecilia, St. Louis

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