TOTUS TUUS – Summer program returns to Diocese

Making a triumphant return to the Diocese of Venice, the successful Totus Tuus summer catechetical Parish program will soon be taking place at a Parish near you.

Eleven missionaries are undergoing final preparations as the first two Parish camps start June 2, 2024. Ultimately there will be eight separate weeks with 12 Parishes serving as hosts through the end of July. More than 1,000 young children and teens will be impacted by this special outreach.

Totus Tuus – which means “totally yours” – teaches children of all ages to put a spotlight on sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness, and Eucharistic worship. The goal of the week is to help the children develop a true and lasting longing for holiness.

The 2022 and 2023 programs garnered rave reviews, with host Parish priests and catechists describing how the children’s love for Christ reached new heights in a single 5-day period more than in an entire season of religious instruction.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane encouraged the pilot program be brought to the Diocese in 2022 and an expansion for 2023 to 11 host Parishes and 12 for 2024. During visits to Totus Tuus camps, Bishop Dewane said he has been impressed by the response each child had to the uplifting program. “In each classroom everyone was so excited and alive about their love of the Lord!”

Totus Tuus aims to inspire young people to develop a deep desire for conversion and personally renew their faith with a stronger prayer life. The program also seeks to foster openness to the sacrifices and blessings of the various Christian vocations in both the young participants and the missionaries.

The week-long camps (9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday) are divided into two segments, with the day camp for students entering grades 1 – 6, and an evening camp for middle school and high school students entering grades 7 – 12.

The younger 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. The older students participate in instruction, small group discussions, quiet meditations, prayer and fellowship.

Most importantly, Totus Tuus works to complement what the children learn from their parents, who are the first and best educators of the faith. This is something Bishop Dewane has stressed since the program had its trial run in the Diocese in 2022.

To ensure success of the program, Totus Tuus missionaries are principally from the Diocese. The missionaries (five men and six women) went through an intensive training session from May 23-31, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice.

This training focused on the spiritual aspect of the Totus Tuus program, including daily prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, and the Mass. Other components of the training covered the fundamentals of teaching young children and youth, as well as the fun aspects of the camp including the songs and dances that everyone will learn. As their training neared its conclusion, they each expressed their enthusiasm to help make a difference in the lives of young Catholics throughout the Diocese.

The 2024 Diocese of Venice Totus Tuus Missionaries are: James Allen, Kansas State University; Anne Moultrie, Ave Maria University; Natalia Abrams, Ave Maria; Gianna Cox, Ave Maria; James Gates, St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary; Juliana Courville, University of Louisiana-Lafayette; Jesse Gomez, St. John Vianney College Seminary; Carson Stecklein, Ave Maria; Sara Prius, Georgia State University; Jesenia Cortes, University of Florida; and Max Sindlar, Ave Maria.

Parishes hosting Totus Tuus this year are: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Parrish, and Our Lady of Grace, Avon Park (June 2-7); Ave Maria, Ave Maria (June 9-14); St. Finbarr, Naples, and St. Paul, Arcadia (June 16-21); Epiphany Cathedral, Venice, and St. Katharine Drexel, Cape Coral (June 23-28); Our Lady Queen of Heaven, LaBelle (July 7-12); Our Lady of Light, Fort Myers, and St. Cecilia, Fort Myers (July 14-19); Our Lady of the Angels, Lakewood Ranch, and St. Peter the Apostle, Naples (July 21-26). To register, please contact the hosting Parish directly. Parish contact information can be found at

Please pray for the success of the Totus Tuus summer program, the campers, and the missionaries.

Camp registration information

Youth are welcome to attend any of the Totus Tuus camps, but registration is requested ahead of time. To register, please contact the hosting Parish directly. Parish contact information can be found at

For general questions about the Diocesan Totus Tuus program, please visit, or contact James Gontis at