17 parishes in the diocese will host youth program ‘Totus Tuus’ this summer

In this 2018 file photo, Brinley Kluepping gazes up as Tom Anderson, a team member for Totus Tuus, explains the various aspects of Jesus' life and ministry depicted in the stained glass windows at St. Louis in Princeton during a church tour. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Totus Tuus is totally back.

Seventeen parishes across the Diocese of Peoria will host the Catholic summer youth program in the coming weeks. Brought to the diocese a decade ago, the program was “online only” last summer as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning.

This year, parish leaders are thrilled to welcome it back in-person and are seeking both registrants and volunteers. In fact, the religious education coordinator at St. Paul Parish in Danville came up with a promotional theme to encourage participation in the Danville Vicariate: “We Need Totus Tuus.”

“The program brings so much energy to the parish, to the kids, and to me personally,” Jennifer Martindill told The Catholic Post. Citing how Totus Tuus involves all age groups through daily Mass, an optional parish-wide potluck, and the need for volunteers, Martindill believes the program is an ideal way to “revive” parishes after 15 months of limited activities because of the pandemic.

Totus Tuus is a Latin phrase that means “totally yours.” It was the motto of St. John Paul II in describing his dedication to Jesus through Mary.


Providing jolts of energy and creativity during the weeklong program are teams comprised of four specially trained college students. This year there are three separate teams, each traveling like missionaries to five or six sites throughout the summer.

Carla Oliver

“The diocese is very lucky to have 12 eager people” ready to lead Totus Tuus, said Carla Oliver, newly hired administrative assistant with the diocesan Office of Vocations, which oversees the summer program locally. (See related story.) Oliver will be involved in the training of the teams during the next two weeks along with Father Chase Hilgenbrinck, diocesan vocation director for recruitment, and a few seminarians.

From 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, Totus Tuus welcomes students entering grades 1 to 6. The day is filled with skits, music, games, teaching, and prayer opportunities, including Mass, the rosary and confession.

The evening program, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., is for students entering seventh grade through high school and includes faith formation, time to socialize, Eucharistic adoration and confession.

“The team is the heart of all this,” said Martindill. “They have so much love for our faith and it just exudes.” Team members speak at parish weekend Masses prior to Totus Tuus week to explain the program and call for last-minute registrations.


The 2021 Totus Tuus schedule is as follows. Some of the parish sites serve the surrounding region.

  • WEEK 1 — June 13-18: St. Jude, Peoria; St. Mary, Pontiac; St. Michael, Streator.
  • WEEK 2 — June 20-25: St. Paul, Danville; St. Vincent de Paul, Peoria; St. Mary, Canton.
  • WEEK 3 — June 27 to July 2: St. Mark, Peoria; Immaculate Conception, Monmouth; Ottawa Catholic Community.
  • WEEK 4 — July 4-9: Our Lady of the Lake, Mahomet; St. Paul, Macomb.
  • WEEK 5 — July 11-17: Blessed Sacrament, Morton; St. Mary, Metamora; St. Anne, East Moline.
  • WEEK 6 — July 25-30: St. Louis, Princeton; LaSalle Catholic Parishes; St. Patrick Church of Merna, Bloomington.

The goal of Totus Tuus is to help young people grow in the understanding of, and strengthen their faith in, Jesus Christ. A special focus this year will be on the Ten Commandments, the Glorious Mysteries of the rosary, and the beatitudes.

The hosting parishes need to find host homes for two female and two male team members. Other volunteers host team members for dinners or bring them lunches.

Participation fee is $25 for participants in grades 1-6 and $15 for grades 7-12, with a $50 maximum per family.

For more information or to register, contact a host parish or visit comeandfollowme.org/totustuus. The website includes a brief promotional video on the program.

The program will follow diocesan COVID-19 safety guidelines.

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