Dear Fellow Parishioners,
Summer is upon us! In the past our parish has offered Vacation Bible School (VBS) for our children. This tradition ended a couple years ago; and yet, we still receive inquiries about VBS. While we don’t foresee re-starting this program, there are alternatives. Consider the Totus Tuus program sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life.
What is Totus Tuus?
Totus Tuus (Latin for Totally Yours) is a fun and energetic parish-based summer catechetical program for both grade school age children and junior and senior high school youth. College students and seminarians form teams of four in order to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in various parishes throughout the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis. Their youthfulness, energy, and ability to witness to the Faith make these teachers particularly effective with children and young people.
The team serves for a week in each parish by putting on a program Sunday-Thursday from 7:30pm to 9:40pm for high school and junior high youth. The goal is to put youth in contact with the Lord so they can develop a deep personal relationship with Him. To this end, there is a night of Adoration and the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, catechetical instruction on topics important to young people, and a night of fellowship with team members.
Teams also present a grade school program (grades 1-6) that runs Monday-Friday from 9:00am to 2:30pm. Time is spent on catechetical instruction, songs, games, daily Mass, the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, lunch, recess and more! The week ends with a large water fight in celebration for the week. The focus is on imparting an understanding and love of the Eucharist, devotion to Mary, catechetical instruction, vocational discernment, and providing an enjoyable experience.
Totus Tuus joins the Church in her proclamation of the Gospel to arouse faith in youth with “an explanation…for the reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15). Totus Tuus catechists expound upon the reasons for our beliefs and share their personal testimonies with the young people. Throughout the years Totus Tuus has succeeded in reaching out to children and youth in order to help them know and love the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Five Pillars of Totus Tuus include the Eucharist, Marian Devotion, Catechetical Instruction, Vocational Discernment and Fun.
The Five Marks of Totus Tuus include:
Proclamation of the Gospel: To arouse faith
Explanation: Examination of the reasons for our beliefs
Christian Witness: An experience of Christian living
Celebration of the Sacraments: Especially Holy Eucharist and Confession
Active Witness: Participating in the Missionary Spirit of the Catholic Church
The Eucharist has pride of place in the Totus Tuus schedule. Prayer—the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, the Angelus, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament—provide the structure, but the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the “source and summit” of the daily schedule. Totus Tuus catechists will lead young people to Jesus for a week; however, Mary will lead them to Jesus for a lifetime. Therefore, Totus Tuus promotes Marian devotion. Meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, we come to see how Mary always leads us to her Son. Praying with her and to her, we hear her say to us, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).