Totus Tuus summer program brings faith, fun to parishes

By Charles Albert
The Sooner Catholic

Catholics in Oklahoma may have heard the term “vacation bible school,” but are not familiar with the term “Totus Tuus,” which is Latin for “totally yours.”

“Totally yours” was a motto of Saint John Paul II. He instituted other programs for youth such as World Youth Day and understood the importance of educating the young. The Totus Tuus program is administered by the Diocese of Tulsa and sends four college-age students to work and live with individual parishes for one week, working with students in grades 1-12.

Each year, the program emphasizes the Mysteries of the Rosaries and different areas of the Bible. The agenda for 2018 includes the Creed and Luminous Mysteries.

Saint Mark the Evangelist in Norman will be hosting the program June 23-June 29. Tom March, the new coordinator of youth ministry, is anticipating a busy summer.

“The highlight of our summer is the visit of Totus Tuus. We will have about 35-40 high school students and about 65 younger students.”

Enid’s two parishes, Saint Francis and Saint Gregory the Great, combine the parishes’ summer program under the direction of Miriam Day, director of religious education at Saint Francis.

Like most programs, the 110 students are divided into two groups: grades 1-6 during the day, and grades 7-12 during the evening. The program in Enid is very popular and is in its third year.  There is no charge for the program as the parishes absorb the costs.
Carmen Santos-Heinen is the director of religious education at Saint Charles Borromeo in Oklahoma City.

After a few years without Totus Tuus, the program returned last year.

“Totus Tuus is all that students have been talking about,” she said. “There is so much excitement the young people bring to the program.”

She is anticipating 90-100 students enrolled in the program during the week of June 9-16.

Also during the week of June 9-16, Totus Tuus will be sending a team to Saint John the Baptist to Edmond where Tim Fernandez, director of youth ministry, is anticipating 150 grade school and 75 high school students.

“The Totus Tuus program engages the students in core Catholicism teaching, makes the faith fun and exciting, and gets everyone excited about their faith,” he said.

Totus Tuus also will be visiting other parishes in the diocese this summer.

Charles Albert is a freelance writer for the Sooner Catholic.

To learn more, visit the parish website or visit