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Totus Tuus program for children, teens returns this summer to form disciples

Young adult missionaries will bring program for children and teens to 21 parishes

Totus Tuus, a summer program for first- through 12th-graders, will return to parishes around 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. Taught by young adult catechists known as

“missionaries,” the week-long program is centered 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.

The witness of the missionary teachers is an essential part of teaching children and teens about the faith, said Kateri Gutting, who will return this summer as a second-year missionary.

“Ultimately, we’re striving for heaven. Everything is for Jesus,” Gutting said. “And if I can show the kids that what I’m living for is important to me by giving everything, then hopefully it would instill a spark in them that they should live for Jesus and everything He has to offer.”

Catechesis and evangelization go hand-in-hand in the program. And both participants and missionaries are challenged to go all in, said Gutting, a sophomore at Truman State University and parishioner at Little Flower in Richmond Heights.

“You’re with the children for six hours a day and learning what childlike joy and simplicity is,” she said. “None of your lessons have to be complicated — it’s just helping them to realize that they can be a saint.”

With the teens, the missionaries are able to share what it looks like to live a life of faith as a young adult, not far removed from their own high school days, Gutting said. The most rewarding part for her is helping both children and teens realize that “holiness is for them, and they can grow where they are now, and they can find Jesus in what they’re doing now,” she said. “They don’t have to wait until they’re adults. They can be holy now.”

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

This year’s program will include four missionary teams visiting 21 different parishes, including Our Lady of Lourdes in Washington, a first-time hosting parish. For more information on Totus Tuus, visit stlyouth.org or call (314) 792-7650.

Totus Tuus 2023

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

June 5-9

Holy Infant, Ballwin

St. Patrick, Wentzville

June 12-16

Queen of All Saints, Oakville

Our Lady, Festus

Sacred Heart, Florissant

St. Charles Borromeo, St. Charles

June 19-23

Ascension, Chesterfield

St. Joseph, Imperial

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Mehlville

June 26-30

St. Gabriel the Archangel, St. Louis

St. Theodore, Flint Hill

Assumption, Mattese 

July 10-14

Ste. Genevieve, Ste. Genevieve

Immaculate Conception, Dardenne Prairie

Good Shepherd, Hillsboro

July 17-21

St. Gerard Majella, Kirkwood

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

July 24-28

St. Anselm, Creve Coeur

All Saints, St. Peters

Sacred Heart, Valley Park

Our Lady of Lourdes, Washington

Missionaries needed

The Office of Youth Ministry is looking for a few more college-aged women to serve as Totus Tuus missionaries this summer. To apply, visit stlreview.com/3lttt9h.

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