Although diocesan-level Totus Tuus was canceled due to coronavirus exposure, one parish was able to assemble a team – on very short notice – and still hold the activity-driven youth retreats. (Submitted photo)

It was a morning like so many others in a typical summer at Nativity of Our Lord in Rhinelander. Children were walking onto the playground, saying goodbye to parents and grandparents, then running to join their friends in the playground for a game of Ships and Sailors or kickball with their high school leaders.

Yes, it was just like past summer vacation Bible schools, except this was the summer of 2020.

Welcome to a Totus Tuus week that was not canceled. It was Nativity’s first year returning to the Totus Tuus program, so when the parish’s director of religious education Barbara Eretto and youth director Laura Fenzl got the call from Haugen that a team would not be sent over due to two missionaries’ exposure to coronavirus, they evaluated the risks and the possibilities.

Eretto and Fenzl decided they could proceed using their high school peer leaders and the Totus Tuus curriculum. The parish was fortunate in having a college senior, Jane Kubisiak, who was a second-year Totus Tuus team missionary. She was sent home to quarantine alone in her bedroom until testing was available; after testing negative for the virus, she was able to resume her missionary work.

The plan was for Kubisiak to lead the Totus Tuus team of high school students to run the week at Nativity. Joined by juniors Eliza Currie, Madeline Hetland and Joe Schneider; sophomore Sammy Schneider; freshmen Eva Hetland and Etayne White; sixth-graders Addy Currie and Connor Rappley; and accompanying adult staff and donors, Totus Tuus 2020 was able to bring the glorious mysteries, the Ten Commandments and several saints to life in Rhinelander for children by day and junior high and high school students by night.

“God is good … all the time,” Fenzl said.