MOSAIC Spring 2014 - Page 17

Visit to watch an interview with Deacons Todd and Garry. Father Bill walk off alone “with his fancy book with the ribbons” to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Gary was watching his uncle from the front steps of the house when suddenly the thought came to him: “Gary, if you want to get to heaven one day, you should be a priest.” From that moment on, “the idea kind of stuck with me. This is what I probably would do.” A second calling came around the same time, while praying a favorite prayer before bedtime, “Lord, help me to know your will, but if I ever forget to ask, do it anyway!” Suddenly, another thought: someday he would be attending seminary. Although Gary resisted the idea as a teenager— doubting his public speaking abilities, for example—the calling never left him. Brotherly Competition Father Bill presents newly baptized Todd and Gary to the congregation of Most Holy Trinity Parish in Fowler, Michigan, January 1988. shoveling manure, milking cows, and driving tractors. Yet, Father Bill made an even greater impression upon young Gary with the spiritual “work” of praying his breviary, the Liturgy of the Hours every diocesan priest is required to pray daily. “I can still see Uncle Bill take an old bucket and sit in front of the pole barn with his breviary. We all knew what he was doing—and all of us kids knew to give him room for his prayers,” Gary says. “Here was a priest providing a great example of the priestly life lived out,” Todd concurs, who laughs when he recalls that “there wasn’t much quiet time for Father Bill with ten kids running around!” Joyful Exemplars For Todd, the third great influence on his priestly discernment was the witness of Fr. Ray Radamacher, pastor of Most Holy Trinity when the twins were growing up. Altar boy Todd would watch Father Ray celebrate Mass even though Father had a terminal illness that gave him great pain—and still he was “so full of joy and happiness.” Todd recalls one Mass when Father Ray slowly bent over the altar to recite the Eucharistic prayer. “You could tell he was in pain. Then I looked to my right and a woman was also watching. She was weeping and I knew why. “Here was a man who was dying. Yet, he was doing what God was calling him to do,” says Todd. “Here are my parents, running the farm, having ten kids that takes one hundred percent of their time—and also being so loving, so happy. “We had before us these great examples of living out their priestly and married vocations well.” Suddenly a Thought People often ask the brothers, “When did you first receive the call?” For Gary, it was as an eight-year-old while watching Another defining moment on Todd and Gary’s pilgrimage toward the priesthood came, again, from parents Agnes and Brian. They took each son aside separately around their freshman year in high school (as they did with each of their children) and quietly asked, “Have you ever thought about being a priest as an option in life?” The answer for both brothers was “yes,” but, surprisingly, neither brother knew the other was considering the priesthood. From then on, Gary says he had a “new context” from which to derive support for pursuing the call, from his twin brother Todd; and, he says with a laugh, “from the healthy competition between us.” For instance, as a high schooler Gary recalls knowing he should be praying a daily rosary, but “wasn’t ready yet.” Then he noticed Todd praying the rosary before bedtime and thought, “Son of a gun, I really have to do it now!” But both brothers acknowledge the real support comes from encouragement not competition. “Once we got to seminary,” Gary says, “just helping each other stay faithful, going to daily Mass and praying the breviary, has been a great blessing” during the normal ups-and-downs of seminary life. Help from the Blessed Mother Another blessing of support has come from the Blessed Mother, the brothers believe. “To turn to her and say, ‘How do I continue to say yes?’” has been an important spiritual approach for Todd. He recalls thinking during his Marian consecration ceremony during his first year at Sacred Heart—“Mary, take all these graces I can ruin with pride. Protect them. Protect me!” Gary says his relationship with Mary “really came alive