The Star-Herald

Youth can still register for summer faith program

PORTLAND, Maine — Hundreds of Maine Catholic teens and children have registered for “Totus Tuus,” a weeklong program expanding to 10 locations throughout the state this summer.

In Aroostook County, the sessions will take place at St. John Vianney Parish in Fort Kent from June 23-28, and at Parish of the Precious Blood in Caribou from July 14-19.

“Totus Tuus” (“Totally Yours”) is taken from the episcopal motto of Pope Saint John Paul II. The mission of the program is to inspire in young people in grades 1 through 12 a true longing for holiness.

The program is organized by the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Vocations, and each session will be led by diocesan seminarians and college students. “Totus Tuus” features daily Mass, prayer such as the rosary and the Angelus, classroom teaching, lunch, music, games and more.

Last year more than 400 Maine young people participated.

The program, originally developed in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, has proven to be successful in explaining the teachings of the Catholic Church to young people in both rural and urban settings.

“Wichita is a rural diocese not unlike our own in many ways,” said Fr. Seamus Griesbach, vocations director for the Diocese of Portland. “Whereas programs sometimes tend to come out of larger metropolitan archdioceses, this program is really well-suited to smaller parishes in the sense that it’s really an attempt to help provide resources to parishes to do a summer program that they otherwise might not be able to do. It was really well received last year.”

Organizers said it is amazing to see young people get excited about their faith.

“They show a real desire to want to grow closer to God and learn more about their faith,” said Liam Gallagher, a diocesan seminarian who led the “Totus Tuus” team in Maine last summer. “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.”

One 15-year-old participant at the end of last summer’s program said, “It will help me keep on the straight and narrow to, I guess, find the weeds in the hayfield, uproot them, and then plant a good seed in their place.”

To register or for more information, visit  

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