What is Totus Tuus?
The Totus Tuus program aims to inspire young people to long for holiness, develop a deep desire for conversion and personally renew their faith with a stronger prayer life. Through evangelization and catechesis, Totus Tuus seeks to foster openness to the sacrifices and blessings of the various Christian vocations.
The program began in 1987 as a vacation bible school program in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas. In 2007, Totus Tuus of Chicago launched its pilot program with two teams serving 10 parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Joliet. The program continues to expand, now serving over 24 parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The Eucharist is an integral part of Totus Tuus schedule. Prayer provides the structure, but the celebration of the holy sacrifice of the Mass is the “source and summit” of the daily schedule.
Totus Tuus catechists and counselors (missionaries) lead young people of the program to Jesus for a week, however, Mary will lead them to Jesus for a lifetime. Meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, we come to see how Mary always leads us to her Son.
Totus Tuus instructs young people on the basic tenets of the Catholic faith to cultivate both a firm intellectual grounding and a solid relationship with Jesus. All of our teachings aim to help young people grow in their faith and friendship with Jesus Christ.
Totus Tuus strives to foster Christian vocations by encouraging young people to begin discerning God’s call in their lives. College-aged teachers sign a “covenant” in which they promise to be open to and actively discern God’s will for them. It’s through this, they can help others do the same.
Totus Tuus demonstrates that one can be a faithful Catholic and still have fun. Morning “pump up,” silly skits and songs, recess and water fights at each parish infuse the element of fun into the program.
Both the grade school, and junior high and high school programs are led by college students and seminarians from Chicago and across the United States. They are trained to carry out the program’s mission to teach and inspire the children participating in the program.
Much of the success of Totus Tuus is due to our missionaries, whose zeal for Christ and His Church encourage young people to lives of radical holiness. In fact, the missionaries of Totus Tuus often discover their own vocation as they too are inspired to live a life of deeper devotion. Historically, approximately 12 percent of Totus Tuus team members pursue formation in the priesthood or religious life.
For more information, please visit our missionaries page.
Grade School Program:
- Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for students entering grades 1-6
- Children participate in four classes each day, attend daily Mass, learn the parts and liturgical songs of Mass, and participate in games, skits, songs, recess and prayer.
Junior High and High School Program
- Sunday – Thursday from 6:30 p.m. – 8:15/8:45 p.m. for middle school and high school students entering grades 7 – 12. See Parish Information for more details.
- Students participate in instruction, small group discussions, quiet meditation, prayer and fellowship.
Totus Tuus uses sacred scripture and the catechism of the Catholic Church to instill the faith of the Church in the hearts and minds of young people. The program follows a six-year cycle to give young people the opportunity to be a part of Totus Tuus year after year. Please see below for the most recent cycle.
Each year, there is a focus on Marian devotion as well. Every day of the week the youth learn of another mystery and pray a decade of the rosary after recess as an entire group. By the end of the week, youth will have prayed an entire rosary and deepened their understanding of Christ’s life through reflecting on the mysteries of the rosary. Details on the cycle are below.
Year One (2024): The Apostles Creed
Year Two (2025): The Sacraments
Year Three (2026): The 10 Commandments
Year Four (2027): The Virtues
Year Five (2028): Prayer and Our Father
Year Six (2029): The Mystery of Salvation
To parallel this six-year cycle, Totus Tuus follows a four-year cycle dedicated to the mysteries of the Rosary:
The Joyful Mysteries
The Luminous Mysteries
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Glorious Mysteries