MOSAIC Spring 2014 - Page 16

Seminarian Formation A Family Tradition Koenigsknecht twins take their place in long line of family and parish priests. Daniel Gallio T here may be a vocation shortage in the Church at large—but not in the Koenigsknecht family of Fowler, Michigan. Sacred Heart seminarians Deacons Todd and Gary Koenigsknecht (pronounced (ken'-igs-nek) are the latest examples of the extraordinary fruitfulness of a single family. The fourth-year theologians and identical twins from the Diocese of Lansing are scheduled to be ordained on June 14 at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in East Lansing. When Most Rev. Earl Boyea, bishop of Lansing, lays hands upon them that day, Todd and Gary will become the fifth and sixth priests from the extended Koenigsknecht family. This priestly hall of fame includes great uncle Fr. William Koenigsknecht (1912-2002); another great uncle, Fr. Julius Hengeshbach (1916-2002); Msgr. Albert Koenigsknecht, MM (1917-1986), second cousin and Maryknoll Missionary; and uncle Fr. Bill Koenigsknecht (b. 1941), a senior priest with the Lansing diocese. All four men earned their undergraduate degrees at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. The twins will be the twenty-first and twentysecond priests who have come from Fowler’s tiny Most Holy Trinity Parish, founded in 1881. St. Mary Parish, just eight miles down the road from Fowler in Westphalia, also is a seedbed of priestly vocations, having fostered twenty-two priests since its founding by pioneer German immigrants in 1838. That is an astounding forty-four priests, including the four priests mentioned above, having been generated by the two small farming communities located just north of Lansing. Gratitude for God’s Sustenance What is the source of the Koenigsknecht family’s vocational fecundity? Both Todd and Gary agree: the faith-filled example of their parents, Brian and Agnes, is foremost. “Growing up on a dairy farm, I was with my parents 24/7. I watched how they loved each other; how they loved God,” Todd recalls. In 14 MOSAIC Fr. Bill Koenigsknecht joi