As a 7th grader, I first began helping at my church. I was the religious education director’s assistant. I’d run errands during CCD, made snacks for the kids, and clean out the occasional closet. The reason I got started helping was to complete my 40 hours of community service required for me to graduate high school.
My 8th grade year, I did the same thing with my friend, even though my community service hours were completed. I just enjoyed it.
That next year, freshman year, all the way through my senior year, that same friend and I taught 1st grade CCD. The summer after my junior year was the first summer Totus Tuus was in St. Paul. I had missed my opportunity to attend Totus Tuus in grade school, but I went and helped as a high school helper and I attended the high school night sessions.
That first week Totus Tuus was in St. Paul was my favorite week of the entire summer. The next two summers would be the same routine; the week of Totus Tuus would be my favorite week of the summer.
That brings us to this summer. I’m teaching Totus Tuus all summer long, but I have a confession to make. I almost didn’t teach Totus Tuus this summer.
Last summer, my family, my friends, and my community were hit with a tragedy, and although I had encountered tragedies in my life before, this specific tragedy did what I thought nothing would ever be able to do. It shook my faith. It took it off its firm rock and blew it all around and hid it from me.
I thought as the year went on, my faith would come back. I would feel just as strong as I used to before the accident. I struggled most of the year at school, and when I got an interview for Totus Tuus I told them I was worried because I wasn’t back to the faith I used to have. A very wise friend of mine, who just happens to be one of the big wigs in Totus Tuus, told me that anytime she feels shaky in her faith, she comes back to Totus Tuus in some way and it always helps.
I was scared when I took this opportunity that I wouldn’t have enough to share with the kids and I wouldn’t have a strong enough faith to get the kids excited about theirs. For the past seven weeks though, I have been in an environment that is full of faith filled people, full of prayers, full of God.
During the past seven weeks, I’ve realized that my faith never left; God never leaves. I have grown more in this atmosphere than I have in any other atmosphere. I blame the kids. They take everything as it is. They see the truth in everything, but they trust easily. I have mentioned it before, but I can’t mention it enough. These kids are teaching me so much more than I’m teaching them. They are helping me grow more than I could possibly be helping them grow.