Diocese introduces new summer catechetical program
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
July 13, 2006
A summer catechetical program that hopes to draw young people closer to God
will be offered for the first time in the Diocese of Sioux City later this
Titled Totus Tuus, which is Latin for Totally Yours, the program is intended
for youth of all ages - kindergarten through twelfth grade. Totally Yours was
the motto of the late Pope John Paul II.
According to Jessica La Fleur, diocesan director of youth and young adult
ministries, Totus Tuus is setup similar to traditional Vacation Bible School
formats but it's heavier in the educational component.
She pointed out that Totus Tuus was created in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas
and several dioceses throughout the country are now using it.
St. Joseph Parish in Sioux City will be the first parish in the diocese to
host Totus Tuus July 31 to Aug. 4. Students from all parishes in this area are
invited to attend. The program will also be presented a week later, Aug. 7-11,
at Immaculate Conception Church in Cherokee for students in parishes of the
"There are five points of focus to this program: the Eucharist, Marian
devotion, catechetical instruction, vocational discernment and fun," noted
Totus Tuus brings together college students and seminarians to form a
four-person team that go out to parishes to spread the Good News of the Lord.
"They have been trained very intensely on how to teach the teachings of
the church," she said. "They were taught how to share their faith -
the Christian witness."
Since the facilitators of the program are provided, La Fleur mentioned that
it is offers "a great amount of convenience for parishes who don't have
resources or enough volunteers that are comfortable teaching the faith. It is
very low-maintenance on the parish." They provide housing for the team,
meals for the team, space for the program and the manpower for registration.
Along with the five areas of focus, there are five marks of Totus Tuus that
help the youth live the faith. These include proclamation of the Gospel - to
arouse the faith, apologetics - examination of the reason for our belief,
Christian witness - an experience of Christian living, celebration of the
sacraments and active witness of the missionary nature of the Catholic Church.
"They want to offer a balanced program that provides a strong
foundation," she said. "I think it is a good program. It appears to be
Grade school students, kindergarten through sixth grade, attend the weeklong
program Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
"They will do large-group activities and then they will break out into
age groups for catechetical sessions centered on classroom learning
activities," said La Fleur.
Middle and high school students attend Sunday through Thursday, 7:30 to 9:30
p.m. The director of youth ministry explained that the sessions for the
teenagers parallel the themes that are presented to the grade school children at
the day sessions.
The Totus Tuus program also features a family get-together. On the Wednesday
evenings during the weeklong program there is a potluck for the entire family.
"It is designed for parents to have an opportunity to share in what
their kids have been doing. It's really an opportunity for the whole community
to get together," noted La Fleur.
While this program will be offered in just two locations this year, she noted
that plans are to expand it next year.
"I have already had parishes call to sign up for next year," she
said. "We have a lot of interest in the program already."
This fall the diocese may offer an informational meeting about this summer
Persons interested in signing up their children for Totus Tuus should
register at the local parish. Contact Mary Kay Daniels at (712) 258-4962 and
Gayla Busch at (712) 225-4466.
Cost of the program is $20. If persons are interested in applying for a
scholarship, they should contact La Fleur at (712) 233-7561.