“God is good!”

“All the time!”

Youth from throughout Vermont will be repeating these phrases at Totus Tuus, a weeklong summer program. Like many things, Totus Tuus didn’t happen last year, so it has been almost two years since young Vermonters have been able to enjoy this annual tradition. This summer, Totus Tuus is back in full swing, with 12 parishes hosting the program throughout the state in June, July and August.

Effectively teaching the faith to young people can be challenging. Totus Tuus combines faith and fun to create an experience that families return for year after year. “Totus Tuus” means “Totally Yours,” a phrase describing devotion to Jesus through Mary. During the week, students experience spiritual growth through the Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the rosary. They also learn about the year’s catechetical theme. This year the theme is The Ten Commandments.

At the same time, they sing fun camp songs, play games, eat snacks and have a water fight at the end of the week. Best of all, the program is led by a team of missionaries, typically college students, who love their faith and are excited to share it with young people all summer long. Parish coordinators say they are excited to have Totus Tuus back in action.

“Although last year we felt heartbroken with it being canceled, this year we have the buildup excitement. Our parish really loves Totus Tuus,” said Pam King, the program coordinator at Immaculate Conception Church (St. Mary’s) in St. Albans.

King says in addition to children loving the program, parents like how their children get to see other young people living out their faith, from the other students to the energetic Totus Tuus missionaries.

“Totus Tuus is really a win/win situation for our parish,” King said.

Lisa Grover, parish coordinator at St. Ambrose Church in Bristol, also says they’re looking forward to the return of Totus Tuus and what it brings to their community.

“St. Ambrose in Bristol is elated to once again host the Totus Tuus summer program! This program not only engages and encourages the spiritual lives of our young people, but breathes new life into our parish as a whole,” Grover said. “There’s no sweeter sound than young voices harmonizing during a decade of the rosary or excitedly retelling their favorite lesson from the day.”

There will be some adjustments for this year’s program. Vermont’s Catholic schools have shown that it is possible to safely have in-person instruction. We will follow their example and also adhere closely to the state’s forthcoming guidance for summer programs.

If you want your child to have fun and encounter Jesus this summer, sign up for Totus Tuus at a parish near you.

Go to vermontcatholic.org/totustuus or the diocesan event calendar to find the available programs and contact information for the parish coordinator.

— Michael Hagan is manager of religious education and catechesis for the Diocese of Burlington.

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