Totus Tuus is a Catholic parish-based summer program for children and youth ages 1st -12th grade that is carried out by teaching teams of four college students who travel from parish to parish over the course of the summer. The mission of Totus Tuus is to inspire in young people a true
longing for holiness, a deep desire for daily conversion and an openness to their vocation. Totus Tuus, a Latin phrase meaning “Totally Yours,” was the motto of Blessed John Paul II. Taken from St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary,” the phrase signifies our desire to give ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ through Mary.
One of the unique things about Totus Tuus is that it is run by a team of energetic and faithful college students who not only teach the faith but also witness to it by their example. Each team is made up of two men and two women, including at least one seminar
ian, who commit their summer to the program and receive a modest stipend. In Maine, the team will be selected by the Program Director and Leadership Committee in consultation with the Vocation Director through an application process over the winter and spring. The team will spend the first three weeks of the summer preparing for their work through intensive training together in Vermont and back in Maine. During the following weeks of the summer, the team travels together to five local parish communities, staying with host families, organizing activities, and teaching and praying with children and high school youth 15 hours a day, 6 days a week. The experience is transformative for them and is transforming to the parishes they serve.
Each day of the week-long Totus Tuus program is packed full of excitement. The Totus Tuus team works with 1-8th grades in the mornings and high school students in the evenings, taking a short break for prayer and dinner. Participants are divided up by age and explore the Catholic Faith in an age-appropriate setting, including praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet; Eucharistic Adoration, and catechesis. The 5 pillars of Totus Tuus are: 1) The Eucharist; 2) Marian devotion; 3) Catechetical Instruction; 4) Vocational Discernment and 5) Fun. The Totus Tuus Team adheres to the requirements of the Diocesan Virtus training program and works closely with the local pastor and with the Vocation Director.
Totus Tuus and Maine
Totus Tuus is a vocations-themed summer program that has spread to many dioceses throughout the U.S.A. and Canada in recent years, including Chicago, Denver, Burlington, and Green Bay. It originated from the work of Fr. Bernard X. Gorges, when he was a seminarian for the Diocese of Wichita, KS in the late 1980s, and has grown substantially from his initial program for young people. In 2016, 26 dioceses offered Totus Tuus in their parishes, training dozens of teams and ministering to thousands of children.
In the spring of 2017, Bishop Deeley granted permission for the Diocese of Portland Office of Vocations to bring Totus Tuus to Maine. Because of the demanding nature of the program, particularly in the first years, Fr. Seamus Griesbach, the Director of Vocations, appointed a volunteer lay Program Director, Denise Boutin, and brought together a leadership committee to help coordinate efforts.