Totus Tuus: God, friends, and fun Print
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Aug. 09, 2018 -- 12:00 AM


Totus Tuus Girls
Lucy Blau, left, and Elizabeth Storke participate in a Bible verse activity at a recent session of Totus Tuus at Divine Mercy Parish in Sauk City. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

SAUK CITY -- "The kids are awesome," said Totus Tuus team member Jack Morris, adding, "It's really nice to see them grow throughout the course of one short week" and he is blessed to feel he "played a small part in their formation" which is "very rewarding".

For the fifth summer in a row, the Diocese of Madison presented the Totus Tuus program for youth.

Totus Tuus is dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness, and Eucharistic worship.

Two teams of four college-aged leaders each travelled to a different parish, over a six-week period, to lead programs for grade school-aged and junior high-aged children.

Each week is filled with Bible lessons, daily Mass, and prayers, along with songs, skits, and snacks.

Getting started

On Wednesday, at a recent session at Divine Mercy Parish in Sauk City, the day began as the kids all gathered together for pump-up songs and skits.

The fact the songs and skits dealt with a wormie named Hermie and over exuberant zoo animals is normal, expected, and encouraged.

They also got to wear the next string on their hands in a sequence signifying the next Mystery of the Rosary they were going to learn that day.

This year, the kids learned about the Luminous Mysteries.

Each grade level then broke off into groups with one of the team members for their first class session of the day.

In a manner catered to each age group, the kids learned about the third Luminous Mystery -- the Proclamation of the Kingdom.

Some groups reflected on the Gospel reading of Christ telling his followers that the "Kingdom of God is at hand."

The team members added that "nothing dirty is in heaven" and sin is dirty.

"You can't go to heaven with a dirty heart and a dirty soul" one of the team members said to their group.

The topic was presented in a manner to encourage the students to seek God's love and mercy versus being afraid of asking for forgiveness.

Following the first class was snack time, along with going over some of the music the students would sing at Mass later in the day.

Daily Mass is part of the Totus Tuus program.

Closer to Christ

Ten-year-old Alyssa Stapelmann from Mazomanie called Totus Tuus "really fun".

"It's just a great way to make friends, learn about Christ and his life, just get closer to him," she said.

Following another class session, the kids prepared for Mass.

Some of the participants were Mass servers and others were a part of the choir.

Divine Mercy Parochial Administrator Fr. Miguel Galvez celebrated the Mass, attended mostly by those in Totus Tuus and some of their family members.

Diocesan seminarian Mark Wagner, who is part of the Totus Tuus team this summer, served as the reader.

On being part of the program, this year, Wagner said, "It's great to see the faith grow in them . . . It's crazy how much they know by the end of the week, [they] still remember things they learned on Monday."

Following Mass was lunch and recess.

Both of these were times for the kids and team members to have fun together and get to know each other.

"You can make a lot of new friends," said seven-year-old Victoria, "it's fun."

The day closed out with more skits and class time, along with praying together the next Mystery of the day, and taping paper beads on the wall, showing the prayer journey.

Team members grow

The goal of Totus Tuus is not just for the kids to grow in faith, but the team members as well.

"I've become a lot more disciplined in my daily prayer habits," said Morris.

Team members pray the Divine Office, Rosary, and Divine Mercy Chaplet daily.

Another area of growth for the team members, especially Wagner, has been in his acting skills in performing the skits the kids love, including Totus Tuus Theater, an over-dramatized selection of skits in which the team members may have to make "fools" of themselves.

"Now, I'm able to make a fool out of myself for Christ," said Wagner.

For more information on Totus Tuus in the Diocese of Madison, go to


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