Totus Tuus ~ “Totally Yours”
Reflecting on the call of Pope Francis to go out and evangelize to all young people, Totus Tuus is a summer Catholic youth program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness, and Eucharistic worship. Our week-long Parish Summer Catechetical Program and Summer Camps assist parents and parishes in the evangelizing and catechizing of their youth by supplementing the work they are already doing.
The methodology, structure, content, and enthusiasm of Totus Tuus is concerned not only with teaching the faith, but also igniting the hearts of the team members and young people. The result has been the formation of young adults who continue to dedicate themselves to the Church’s mission of evangelization.
Mission & Motivation
Totus Tuus, a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours,” was the motto of St. John Paul II, signifying our desire to give ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ through Mary. It also expresses our effort to give our all to every young person we encounter. Through the teams’ example of joy and service, the youth see that these men and women are ON FIRE with the Catholic faith and long for the same thing in their lives.
Totus Tuus calls upon college students and seminarians from our Archdiocese of Chicago to carry this mission to every young person they encounter in the parish program or at camp. Students are hired for their energy, enthusiasm, love for the faith, commitment to spiritual growth, ability to work with a team and a desire to work with youth. Parish catechists are grouped into teams of four, each consisting of two men and two women, and are invited to a different parish every week for seven weeks, where they conduct a week-long “parish mission,” teaching and inspiring the parish’s first through twelfth grade youth.
The Totus Tuus Grade School Program is designed for children entering first through sixth grades in the 2018-19 school year. The Grade School Program runs through from
Totus Tuus endeavors to show the youth that a humble and courageous desire to know God must be based upon a personal relationship with our Lord and a steadfast, disciplined life of prayer combined with the reception of the sacraments.
The Grade School Program is very structured with the high point of each day being Mass, allowing us to center everything we do around Christ present to us the in Eucharist.
The largest portion of each day is spent on catechesis of the youth in a classroom setting. The children are split up into age groups (usually 1st & 2nd, 3rd & 4th, and 5th & 6th) so that instruction and questions can be directed appropriately.
While classes comprise a large part of the day, Totus Tuus is not school and makes sure that the kids have FUN too! Therefore, we have a “pump up” to start each day, snack break in the morning, recess and “cool down” after lunch, and a skit break in the afternoon
Totus Tuus offers instruction in the evening for junior high and high school youth. Junior High youth are those entering the 7th or 8th grades for the 2011-12 school year. High School youth are those entering 9th grade for the 2011-12 school year through those who have just graduated high school. The Jr. High & High School Program meets through from
We have found that vibrant, faithful, college-aged teachers can effectively impact the youth at this age. Two reasons for this have been noticed: the close proximity of age and the ability to establish mentor relationships, i.e., big brother or big sister.
The Totus Tuus Junior High and High School Program comprises of instruction, small group discussions, quiet meditation, prayer, and fellowship. The team teaches in such a way as to offer a dialogue in which each person feels respected in his or her most basic dignity.
Additionally, just like the grade school program, Totus Tuus is also FUN! Most evenings begin with an icebreaker activity or game to set the tone that Catholicism is exciting! It is also a time for the youth to bond and build relationships with the team and one another.
The junior high students will join the senior high students for the evening program; however, when appropriate, grades 7, 8, and 9 will separate from the older high school students to maintain an atmosphere and discussion level that is appropriate for both age groups and topics.