Totus Tuus comes one month after Princeton teens witnessed tragedy

The teens at St. Louis Church in Princeton gather for night prayer as their Totus Tuus session comes to an end July 19. That experience of prayer is an important component of the program, according to seminarian Jack Swoik (standing against the wall). (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

PRINCETON — Totus Tuus couldn’t have come at a better time for members of the youth group at St. Louis Church.

Returning home from the Steubenville Conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, members of the youth group witnessed a fatal car accident on Interstate 80, just outside of South Bend, Indiana. The accident was caused intentionally, according to Caylee Kennedy, director of youth and young adult ministry at the Princeton parish.

The St. Louis group, traveling in two cars, narrowly missed being involved in the collision, but they wasted no time getting involved in prayer.

“One of my teens realized, ‘What if we’re the only Catholics on the scene right now praying?’ I thought, ‘That’s awesome,’” Kennedy told The Catholic Post.

One of the young people in her car was a lifeguard who immediately grabbed a First Aid kit and ran with a friend to be with an injured 10-year-old girl. When Kennedy went to the second car to see if everyone was all right, she found that they had started to pray the rosary.

“It’s tragic, but I’m so incredibly proud of my group of teens,” she said. “It was a tragic situation but they had so much trust and so much faith in that moment.”

While it wasn’t planned, one month to the day after the accident, most of those young people were kneeling in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament as part of the Totus Tuus program at St. Louis.

Kennedy said it was moving to see how far they’ve come and “how they’ve all continued to see God working in their lives and have been praying for that family and that incident.”

For more about the summer program, see “Totus Tuus provides saintly, silly summer for parish youth across the diocese.”

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