St. Cecilia, St. Francis of Assisi and St. John Henry Newman are sharing their stories and coming into homes throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula via YouTube.
The saint skits are part of this year’s digital programming led by Totus Tuus missionaries for the Diocese of Marquette.
Three teams of missionaries typically travel throughout the Upper Peninsula, also called the U.P., for the summer, sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, eucharistic worship and Christian witness to youth.
The Totus Tuus program started in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, in the 1980s and normally involves four-person teams of young adults traveling from parish to parish.
But the COVID-19 pandemic led Father Ben Hasse, vocations director for the Marquette Diocese, to look to God for a new plan.
“The Totus Tuus program has been tremendously fruitful for us as a diocese since 2013. The prospect of having to cancel the program this summer was really discouraging,” he said. “After a lot of prayer and discussion, we decided to take it online. It’s been an adventure, but completely worth the effort.”
Totus Tuus Digital 2020 was created. With saint skits, videos reenacting the mysteries of the rosary, lessons about the Ten Commandments and silly songs, the missionaries have created a virtual learning opportunity for youth not only in the U.P. but even across the country. To date, the program has subscribers in 12 states.
Totus Tuus, a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours,” was the motto of St. John Paul II. The phrase was taken from St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary,” and it signifies the longing and desire to give oneself entirely “to Jesus through Mary.”
Totus Tuus calls upon college students and seminarians from the Diocese of Marquette to carry the mission to children and families.
Zack Mazurek, who just completed his first year at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, served last summer as a Totus Tuus team leader and this summer is serving as the Totus Tuus intern.
“This program is not only beneficial to the students we reach but also is transformative for us as missionaries as we pursue our relationship with Jesus more closely and try to live it out,” Mazurek said. “I have grown in so many ways this summer and realized how important it is to trust the Lord in all things.”
The Totus Tuus YouTube channel is https://bit.ly/3jJQ4sp. Missionaries have developed original video content that is sent out each week to subscribers. These video lessons are geared toward kindergarten through 12th grade, and are used by catechists and parents with their students.
In addition to the pre-recorded videos, Totus Tuus Digital 2020 was offering live events on Zoom July 28-31. These events will offer students the chance to interact directly with the missionaries, to ask the “saints” questions, and to sing the silly songs together.
They are open to anyone, but people must register to receive all the details as well as the Zoom meeting links for that week by going to mtucatholic.org/ttparishzoom.