Totus Tuus returns to diocese this summer


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

After a successful first outing last year, Totus Tuus will again be offered to youths in the Diocese of Davenport this summer.

Totus Tuus — Latin for “totally yours” — is a weeklong Catholic youth program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness and eucharistic worship.

Contributed Youths from St. Joseph Parish in Columbus Junction pose for a picture at the conclusion of Totus Tuus last summer.
Youths from St. Joseph Parish in Columbus Junction pose for a picture at the conclusion of Totus Tuus last summer.

The program is offered by the diocesan Office of Vocations as a way to help youths explore vocations in a broad sense. This includes priesthood, consecrated life, lay ministry, marriage and the diaconate.


Totus Tuus has a grade school program during the day and a junior/senior high program in the evening. The program differs from vacation Bible school due to its emphasis on vocation and its use of a non-parish leadership team. Totus Tuus has a special emphasis on Marian devotion and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and reconciliation. This year’s theme will be Prayer and the Our Father with an emphasis on the glorious mysteries of the rosary.

“It’s like a weeklong intensive religious education session,” said Father Thom Hennen, diocesan Director of Vocations. “It’s fun, too,” as activities like singing, skits and a water fight at the conclusion of the week are part of the schedule.

As is customary with the Totus Tuus program, young adults will serve on the leadership team. Jasmin Tone, a member of Newman Catholic Student Center at the University of Iowa-Iowa City, and seminarian Cameron Costello are returning. New teachers this year are Grace Edwards and Sean Mignagary of the Newman Center and seminarian Ben Snyder. The team will receive training in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, which originated the Totus Tuus program.

Fr. Hennen said the four parishes that hosted the program last year had a positive experience and wanted to host again. “I think they enjoyed the (leadership) team and the content of the program.” So far, five parishes in the diocese have offered to host Totus Tuus this summer. They are Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton; St. Joseph Parish in Columbus Junction; St. Mary Parish in West Point (five parish youth ministry); St. Mary in Riverside (cluster parishes) and Ss. John & Paul Parish in Burlington. Participating youths need not belong to the hosting parishes to attend.

Two weeklong slots are still open for additional parishes wishing to participate: July 10-15 and July 31- Aug 5. Parishes interested in hosting Totus Tuus may call (563) 888-4378 or send an email to Hosting parishes are asked for a suggested donation of $500 to bring the program in. Inability to make a donation will not prevent Totus Tuus from being offered at a parish, Fr. Hennen said.

Additional information can be found online at or

Fr. Hennen believes the program can have a strong impact on youths and help fill the summer religious education gap most parishes face. “It’s about the common vocation we all have to holiness. … Hopefully the young people who go through the program will begin to think a bit more about their relationship to God and the church and that, as they get older, they will think about how in particular God is calling them to serve.”

For more information or to sign up for Totus Tuus, call a host parish.

Current schedule

Week 1: Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Clinton
June 13-17, Grades 1-6 during the day, and 7-12 in the evening
Parish Contact: Brenda Bertram

Week 2: St. Mary, West Point (five parish youth ministry)
June 20-24, Grades 1-6 during the day, and 7-12 in the evening
Parish Contact: Michael Linnenbrink

Week 3: St. Joseph, Columbus Junction
June 27-July 1, Grades 1-6 during the day
Parish Contact: Fr. Joseph Sia

Week 4: SS. John & Paul, Burlington
July 18-22, 7-12 in the evening
Parish Contact: Amanda Nichols

Week 5: St. Mary, Riverside (Riverside, Richmond, Wellman cluster)
July 25-29, Grades 1-6 during the day
Parish Contact: Joel Baumgartner

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