Totus Tuus is a program for Catholic youth in the Archdiocese of Toronto. For three months, teams of post-secondary students work as missionaries to facilitate week-long summer camps at various parishes. The following post is written by Christopher Mimata, one of 24 Totus Tuus missionaries this summer.
As a fruitful and fun parish camp week came to a close at Immaculate Conception Parish in Woodbridge, our team was eager to do it all over again at St. Barnabas Parish in Scarborough. We were warmly welcomed by the vibrant community of parishioners and host families at a barbeque.
The week at St. Barnabas was a blessing and a unique experience. We started each day with the smiling faces of energetic children and dedicated volunteers, who were ready to journey with us to grow closer to God through our Mother Mary. There was never a dull moment.
I was particularly impressed by the children's enthusiasm when we prompted them to respond to one of our activities known as "Totus Tuus Theatre." In a skit called "Lead Us Not into Temptation," the children were very vocal about the struggle of resisting marshmallows.
Every child we met had unique gifts that contributed to the life to the program. During the Masses, they seemed excited to be in the presence of God. They sang with their beautiful voices and were on their best behaviour.
The evening program was led by Fr. Hansoo Park. Our presence served as a platform to support Edge and Life Teen camps at the parish. The theme for this year was "Unfinished," which focused on the idea that everyone is God's work-in-progress and we only attain completion when we reunite with Him in Heaven. We gave witness talks and led small discussion groups, delving deeper into the crucial points discussed. We also planned fun activities like an obstacle course.
The week was very enlightening for me and my team. We received valuable feedback from Fr. Hansoo, who pioneered the Totus Tuus program in the Archdiocese of Toronto a number of years ago. His insights will help us improve how we present the teachings of our Catholic faith to the young people we encounter this summer.
I personally enjoyed each of the encounters I had with the St. Barnabas community and I was honoured by the kindness and hospitality of my host family. They were great witnesses of the virtue of selflessness.
As we enter the program's third week, I pray my team and I will continue to learn how we are called to be Totus Tuus – "totally Yours."