PORTLAND — After a successful debut summer, which saw more than 400 teens and children participate, “Totus Tuus” will expand to 12 locations throughout Maine in 2019, according to a news release from Dave Guthro, communications director, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

“Totus Tuus,” taken from the Episcopal motto of Pope Saint John Paul II, means “Totally Yours.” The mission of the weeklong program is to inspire in young people, from grades 1 through 12, a true longing for holiness. The program is organized by the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Vocations and each session will be led by diocesan seminarians Matthew Valles and Erin Donlon, as well as six college students.

At present, eight of the 12 host parishes have been announced for this summer: St. Thérèse of Lisieux Parish in Sanford, St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough, Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Windham, St. Rose of Lima Parish in Jay, Corpus Christi Parish in Waterville, St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Bangor, and the Parish of the Precious Blood in Caribou. The remaining four sites to be announced.

The program is accepting applications from college students who would like to teach on this summer’s team. To apply online, visit www.portlanddiocese.org/vocations/totustuus. The application deadline is Friday, Feb. 1.

“If I wanted my child who is in college to really experience the faith and grow in the faith, I would have a hard time thinking of a better experience than this,” said the Rev. Seamus Griesbach, director of the Office of Vocations, according to the release. “Last year’s team realized that in helping young people to deepen their relationship with God, their own faith lives grew as a result.”

“Totus Tuus” features daily Mass, prayer such as the rosary and the Angelus, classroom teaching, lunch, music, games, and more. The program, originally developed in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, has proven to be successful in explaining the teachings of the Catholic Church to young people in both rural and urban settings. Participation in the program has exceeded 200,000 people in the U.S.

“It’s great to see the young people get excited about their faith and ask good questions,” said Liam Gallagher, a diocesan seminarian who led the “Totus Tuus” team in Maine last summer, according to the release. “They show a real desire to want to grow closer to God and learn more about their faith. It’s awe-inspiring. It’s incredible. That’s why we’re doing it. That’s what it’s all about. It’s the new evangelization at work.”

Registration to participate will begin on Feb. 15. To stay up to date on the latest “Totus Tuus” news in Maine, visit www.facebook.com/totustuusmaine.

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