St. Mary’s graduates spread faith through Totus Tuus
COLORADO SPRINGS. Searching for a good summer job can be difficult for teens. But two recent St. Mary’s High School graduates found an opportunity that not only provided summer employment but also helped them grow in their faith. Emma Cummings and Andrew Maal spent six weeks this summer teaching Totus Tuus programs in several Colorado parishes.
During the experience, Maal learned what many teachers know to be true — that teaching is one of the best forms of learning.
“It is one thing to learn something but quite another to teach it,” Maal said. “You grow so much more when you teach and I know that I’ve grown in my faith. I’ve also grown in knowledge and wisdom this summer. Knowledge is what you know on paper, what you understand. But I’ve grown in aspects of putting that into practice and that’s wisdom. This summer fueled my faith and the fire and passion I have for it.”
Both Cummings and Maal heard about the need for Totus Tuus teachers through their Campus Ministry class during the last school year. They had each attended Totus Tuus as middle schoolers and thought it would be fun to teach it.
“My experience with Totus Tuus as a middle schooler had a big impact on me,” Cummings said. “The program was very personal as it was centered and focused on us as individuals. I thought it would be really cool if I could have that kind of impact on kids this summer.”
Their team, which included Cummings, Maal, and one other teacher, taught week-long programs in parishes in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Highlands Ranch, just south of Denver. Cummings and Maal said it was gratifying to see the kids and teens grow in their faith.
“Our last night with one group was memorable,” Cummings said. “It was one of our fun nights but we were also talking about vocations and apologetics. These kids have amazing energy and it was a moving experience to see how their faith was important to them.”
Cummings said that her four years at St. Mary’s helped prepare her for teaching Totus Tuus. Organizing small groups and retreats in the Campus Ministry class during her senior year helped her develop the skills she needed to plan lessons and activities with her Totus Tuus teaching team. And through her theology classes she became familiar with the topics discussed during Totus Tuus. Maal, too, felt that his theology classes prepared him for his Totus Tuus job.
“A lot of the questions we were asked during Totus Tuus I had learned the answers to in theology classes, especially during sophomore year when we covered the different saints,” Maal said.
The experience has better equipped Maal to face new challenges, he said, which is helpful as he begins his college career. Cummings said what she will take away from her summer teaching Totus Tuus is how diverse the Catholic faith is.
“This summer we encountered Catholics who were ultra- conservative and those who interpreted things more loosely,” she said. “I learned that you can’t put Catholicism in a box. You need to be open to the people God puts in your life.”
(Amy G. Partain is communications associate for St. Mary’s High School.)