The Star-Herald

Catholic youth program to return to County

PORTLAND, Maine — After a successful debut summer, which saw over 400 teens and children participate, the Diocese of Portland’s youth program “Totus Tuus” will expand to 12 locations throughout Maine this year, including a return to the Parish of the Precious Blood in Caribou.

“Totus Tuus,” taken from the episcopal motto of Pope Saint John Paul II, means “totally yours.” The mission of the weeklong program is to inspire a longing for holiness in young people from grades 1-12. The Diocese’s Office of Vocations organizes the program. Diocesan seminarians Matthew Valles and Erin Donlon, as well as six college students, will lead each session.

The Parish of the Precious Blood, which encompasses Caribou, Presque Isle and surrounding communities, will join 11 other parishes statewide in offering “Totus Tuus.” Registration to participate will begin on Feb. 15.

“If I wanted my child who is in college to really experience the faith and grow in the faith, I would have a hard time thinking of a better experience than this,” said Fr. Seamus Griesbach, director of the Office of Vocations. “Last year’s team realized that in helping young people to deepen their relationship with God, their own faith lives grew as a result.”

“Totus Tuus” features daily Mass, prayer such as the rosary and the Angelus, classroom teaching, lunch, music, games and more. Originally developed in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, the program has proven to be successful in explaining the teachings of the Catholic Church to young people in both rural and urban settings. Participation in the program has exceeded 200,000 people in the U.S.

“It’s great to see the young people get excited about their faith and ask good questions,” said Liam Gallagher, a diocesan seminarian who led the “Totus Tuus” team in Maine last summer.

“They show a real desire to want to grow closer to God and learn more about their faith. It’s awe-inspiring. It’s incredible. That’s why we’re doing it. That’s what it’s all about. It’s the new evangelization at work.”

To stay up to date on the latest “Totus Tuus” news in Maine, visit www.facebook.com/totustuusmaine.

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