“Reaching Hearts”: Totus Tuus Youth Program in Maine Helping Young People Live the Call of the Gospel

LEWISTON---"I am so grateful and excited to be able to share my faith and love for God with others.”

Madeleine Ellis, a Patten native and student at Saint Anselm College, is a member of one of the two teams of seminarians and college students winding their way through Maine all summer for Totus Tuus, a Catholic youth program for students in first through twelfth grade being hosted at ten Maine parishes this summer (pictures below). The program began in Lewiston and Houlton this week with sessions to follow in Livermore (June 25-30), Fort Kent (June 25-30), Scarborough (July 9-14), Caribou (July 9-14), Brewer (July 23-28), Windham (July 23-28), East Millinocket (July 30-August 4), and Brunswick (July 30-August 4). Registration information may be found here.

“I am so excited to have the opportunity to be a Totus Tuus missionary!” said Madeleine, who is in her second year as a Totus Tuus leader.

The enthusiasm of the team members is palpable, particularly after completing special training in recent weeks that provided them with best practices for teaching the Gospel to young people in age-appropriate ways that will deepen their love for the Church through catechesis, prayer, social time, and the sacraments.

“It is an adventure that I never expected for myself but is an adventure that I am so grateful to God for,” said Hannah Gonneville, an employee with the diocese’s Office of Lifelong Faith Formation who is on special assignment as a Totus Tuus missionary this summer. “Beauty, wonder, and awe are important to me and my spirituality. I cannot wait to unpack the beauty of our Catholic faith and to feel the wonder and awe of how much Jesus loves each of us together.”

“I am super excited to be working as a Totus Tuus missionary this summer in northern Maine!” said Nick Hershbine, a seminarian for the Diocese of Portland who attends Saint John Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts. “Let us pray to receive the graces and blessings Our Lord wills to pour out on all of us as we work, play, and pray together.”

“I am looking forward to encountering souls this summer as a Totus Tuus teacher,” said Joseph Beale, also a seminarian for the diocese who attends St. John Seminary. “By the grace of God, I get to provide catechesis to the Maine Catholic youth and hopefully reaching hearts of the students participating.”

Challenging Maine youth to be open to giving themselves to Jesus through living the Gospel in their daily lives is an exciting prospect for the teams. 

“I am excited to serve as a team member for Totus Tuus because I feel a calling for service, in both my work as a Totus Tuus teacher and my music,” said Cecilia Guerra, a vocal performance major at Roberts Wesleyan University in Rochester, New York.  “My favorite saint is St. Therese the Little Flower because of how she served others and grew closer to God through her ‘Little Way,’ offering little sacrifices to grow closer to God and serve Him in any way she could. She has become a role model for me as I strive to serve God and others, teaching others about God’s love and offering all I do to Him for His glory.”

Sessions for the first through eighth graders generally run from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., with high schoolers will gather from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day.

Regardless of age, it promises to be an unforgettable week of faith formation and fun.

“I am so grateful to God for the opportunity given me to be part of Totus Tuus missionaries,” said Evans Bongwunnyuy, a seminarian at St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Maryland. “When I was inspired on my vocation journey because I wanted to administer to the little ones and serve them, it did not make a lot of sense to me until now that I will be going out on mission to minister to the kids throughout this summer and instill that strong desire for Christ in their lives.”

To learn more about the Totus Tuus program’s philosophy and mission, visit www.portlanddiocese.org/totus-tuus.

Totus Tuus Teams
Totus Tuus Teams
Totus Tuus Teams
Totus Tuus Teams
Totus Tuus Teams
Totus Tuus Teams
Totus Tuus