Totus Tuus, a catechetical summer program for first- through 12th-graders, is expanding to 22 locations in the Archdiocese of St. Louis this year.
A program of the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry, Totus Tuus has elements of a vacation Bible school and a mission. Taught by young adult catechists, known as “missionary teachers,” participants learn what it means to share the Gospel and how to promote the faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness and eucharistic worship.
There are two components: a day program for first- through sixth-graders and an evening program for seventh- through 12th-graders. Missionary teachers travel from parish to parish and stay with host families while presenting the program in June and July.
Younger children learn how to pray, the importance of prayer and the sacraments and how to participate in Mass, including why Catholics make the sign of the cross, genuflect and sing. Middle and high school teens focus on prayer and meditation, small-group discussions, adoration, Mass and reconciliation.
Grace Makowski said seeing young people growing in their faith was what prompted her to return for a second year as a missionary teacher.
“It was such a transformative summer for me, and a lot of that was through the kids and just seeing them and the childlike faith that they have,” she said. “Their excitement to learn about the Catholic faith and God taught me and the other missionaries about trusting God in all of that.”
Totus Tuus is Latin for “Totally Yours,” St. John Paul II’s motto, taken from St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary.” The program has a noted Marian focus, with a different theme every year that ties into Marian devotions, such as the Rosary.
The program was introduced in the Wichita, Kansas, diocese in the 1980s when Father Bernard X. Gorges — then a seminarian — taught a catechetical summer program to elementary grade students. Missionary teachers who lead the program undergo training in Lincoln, Nebraska.
This year’s program will include four missionary teams at 22 locations. For more information on Totus Tuus, call (314) 792-7650 or visit www.stlyouth.org.
>> Totus Tuus
To participate, please contact the individual parish for cost and registration information.
St. Charles Borromeo, St. Charles
Holy Infant, Ballwin
Queen of All Saints, Oakville
Sacred Heart, Florissant
St. Paul, Fenton
St. Patrick, Wentzville
St. Theodore, Flint Hill
June 27-July 1
St. Gabriel, St. Louis
St. Cecilia, St. Louis
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Oakville
Our Lady, Festus
Ste. Genevieve, Ste. Genevieve
St. Joseph, Imperial
Immaculate Conception, Dardenne
All Saints, St. Peters
Sacred Heart, Valley Park
St. Gerard Majella, Kirkwood
Annunciation, Webster Groves (Holy Cross Academy parishes)
St. Anselm, Creve Coeur
Good Shepherd, Hillsboro