FOWLER, Mich. (AP) — Identical twins Gary and Todd Koenigsknecht have shared many moments together, including working on their parents’ farm, but in August they will embark on a new journey — college.
The 18-year-old twins from Fowler will enter St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., where they will study to become Catholic priests.
“They don’t need to take several years to find themselves,” the Rev. Tim MacDonald, pastor at their home parish, told the Lansing State Journal for a story published Sunday. “They seem to have a clear idea of where they’re going, and they’d like to start doing it tomorrow.”
Gary and Todd are among the top 10 students at Fowler High School and the fourth and fifth of 10 children ranging in age from 7 to 24.
Their parents, Brian and Agnes, ensured they didn’t become distracted by fun and games.
All of the children went to Catholic school through eighth grade, and Mom and Dad got rid of the family’s television set about 15 years ago and encouraged their kids to read instead.
“I can barely remember the TV,” said Todd, who is the older twin by four minutes.
Occasionally they watch DVDs and use computers, but they only use them for games on weekends.
That didn’t bother Todd and Gary. They stayed busy by helping at church in the fourth grade, when they were trained as altar servers.
“They were horrible servers. I almost made them quit,” their mother said. “If one of them messed up, they would just look at each other, and that made it worse.”
Eventually, they began reading from the Bible at church services and decided on a career of priesthood.
They will be among a freshman class of 130 students.
Though Todd was first to express an interest in priesthood, Gary insists he is not just following his brother.
“People don’t become priests because they’re following in their brother’s footsteps,” Gary said. “That wouldn’t make a very good priest at all.”
You can easily imagine the fun they could have in the seminary and the parish like in the old Patty Duke show. In fact if assigned to the same parish they could easily fool the parishioners into believing they have the gift of bilocation.
When I was growing up there were some old twin Jesuit priests in our diocese (San Jose). One taught Latin to our homeschool group (and taught in the classics dept. at the Jesuit high school), but during this time his twin brother was assigned to our parish. I never figured out how to tell them apart, and we heard a number of allusions to how much fun they had in the seminary. It was a beautiful thing for them to celebrate their 50th jubilee together as well. I’m sure Frs. John and Joseph Geary are looking down with joy and a little glee at these future twin priests.
Hi there –
After reading this article I thought I would let you know that Dr. Marcellino’s twin boys will also be going to St. John Vianney this fall – so there will be at least two sets of twins!
We would also love it, if you were able to provide a link to The Crossroads Initiative on your webpage.
There were twins at the Dominican Monastery in Farmington. They used to enjoy confusing workmen who came and didn’t know there were twins!
Fr. Roger Landry’s twin brother Scott began the seminary with him but left after a year and is now married.
I *knew* it! I *knew* it! Fowler couldn’t go too long a stretch without this happening! I know some of these guys’ relatives (Thelens and Schafers), and, forgive me, but seeing a farming community in my homestate of MI send some good men to minor seminary just bursts my buttons.
Of course they won’t be the first twins to go through SJV (apparently they wont be the only ones there in their tenure.
There are twins from the Diocese of Green Bay who are (to my knowledge) both currently at the North American College in Rome, both are graduates of SJV and both spent some time at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago.