Skip to comments.These twins are doubly blessed - Identical brothers from Erie to become priests today
Posted on 06/28/2006 12:53:36 PM PDT by NYer
Identical twins James and Joseph Campbell's first names came from the same Catholic priest.
Asked at age 5 what they wanted to be, they simultaneously answered: "priest."
They used to play at the profession, using a Sears Roebuck Mass kit that Catholic families kept at home for emergencies. The Campbell boys served Communion wafers they'd fashioned from bread.
Their parents never had to force them to go to daily Mass at 6:30 a.m.
"It wasn't an obligation for us, but rather something we saw as cool," Joseph Campbell said.
So it's no surprise that the 26-year-old Erie twins are being ordained priests tonight, together, at St. Peter Cathedral.
"It's the work of God," Dolores Campbell, their mother, said.
She and her husband, John Campbell, named their 12th and 13th children for Monsignor James Joseph Gannon. The late priest was the family's pastor at St. Andrew Catholic Church, just two blocks from the home where James, who is older by 15 minutes, and Joseph grew up.
Priests were always part of their lives.
James Campbell remembers not only the men who "offered the sacraments that we valued so much," but also the priests who showed their human side when sitting in his parents' living room.
Erie twins James Campbell, left, and Joseph Campbell will be ordained priests tonight by Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman. (JANET B. CAMPBELL/Erie Times-News)
(Excerpt) Read more at goerie.com ...
The Rev. Michael Kesicki, rector of St. Mark, said the Campbell twins come from a "very solid, committed Catholic family."
The twins also know about the importance of hard work, kindness, courtesy and commitment, Kesicki said.
"They've got a lot of good inner strength," he said.
As boys, Joseph Campbell, left, and James Campbell, right, assisted the priest they were named for, Monsignor James Joseph Gannon. The 26-year-old Erie twins will be ordained priests tonight.
From St. Mark, James Campbell went on to St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, while Joseph Campbell left for North American College in Rome. That decision was made by Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman, who decides which major seminaries men go to and where they serve after that. James Campbell said the twins embraced the decision to separate them as God's will. He said some people ask him why his brother got to go to Rome while he had to stay in Pennsylvania. "What they failed to recognize," James Campbell said, "is Jesus is present in both places." The brothers will learn this afternoon where they will serve as parochial vicars, the priests who assist pastors. Trautman will make the official announcement tonight, and the new priests will go to their assignments next week.
Let's hope these priests set a good example in Trautperson's diocese.
Beautiful story, God bless that family. Wonder if EWTN's Fr. Bob Levis of Gannon University had a role in their vocations.
I really do think that good-size families are one big factor in vocations. If you just have, say, one son, some parents wouldn't encourage him to be a priest because they want grandkids to carry on the name.
I don't have the research, but I'd bet you a beeswax candle that a disproportionate number of priests in the past came from families with 3+ kids.
Not all, of course. There are wonderful priests who were "only" children. But it's a factor.
I hope they are treated better than Fr. Trigilio. I wonder how things are in Latrobe these days?
My pastor comes from a family of 7 - 6 boys and 1 girl.
(CNS) - May 10, 2006 - Deacons James and Joseph Campbell -- twin brothers and the youngest in a family of 13 children -- credit their family life for their priestly vocations.
"My parents gave us an unwavering witness of selfless, self-sacrificing love and fidelity," said Deacon Joseph. "They inspired us to be holy by the witness of their lives and through their instruction in the faith."
The 26-year-old twins will be ordained to the priesthood June 23 at St. Peter Cathedral in Erie along with their classmate, Deacon Marc Solomon.
John and Dolores Campbell, the twins' parents, don't consider the way they reared their 13 children to be anything out of the ordinary.
"We raised our children the way we were brought up," said John Campbell, who was born in Scotland. That included attending Mass each morning and saying the rosary together each evening.
"Once the children got involved in sports, sometimes they would have to finish their rosary on the way to practice," Dolores Campbell said in an interview with Faith magazine, a publication of the Erie Diocese. "But we'd start it out together. I think that has really blessed our marriage and family life."
The entire family lived together under one roof for the first 11 years of the twins' lives.
"We had seven kids sleeping in one room at one time," Deacon James recalled. "Let's just say we didn't get much sleep during those years." But the close-knit clan wouldn't have had it any other way.
"Christmas was bedlam, absolute bedlam!" the Campbell patriarch said. "But it was so memorable. The children's friends all wanted to come and be with us on Christmas Eve because the atmosphere was so much fun."
It was an atmosphere in which guests were a regular part of the dinnertime routine, in which a grandfather was lovingly cared for during the last 10 years of his life and in which a young, single mom unrelated to the family found the help she needed raising her child until she managed to get through high school.
"When you're cooking for so many, what's an extra person?" Dolores Campbell asked.
It was also the kind of home in which the children understood and embraced their responsibilities from a young age. For 25 years the Campbell family had a paper route to cover the cost of the children's Catholic high school tuition, with the papers delivered before daily Mass.
"My older brothers and sisters often took me to confession and Mass with them, which played a huge part in my formation," said Deacon Joseph. "The quality time with them was priceless. They shared their lives with us and allowed us to share our experiences with them."
Deacons James and Joseph remember becoming aware of their calling to the priesthood at an early age. While they dispute the exact year-- one thinks they were 4 years old, one says they were 5 -- it was while participating in the annual novena at St. Ann Parish in Erie that a Redemptorist priest asked the boys what they wanted to be when they grew up.
Without ever having discussed it before, the spontaneous and simultaneous answer from both twins was "a priest."
"Ever since that moment, I've always had it in mind that God was calling me to the priesthood," said Deacon Joseph.
Even though an ocean has separated the Campbell twins for the last four years -- with Deacon James completing his degree at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa., and Deacon Joseph wrapping up his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome -- their comments and reflections in separate interviews were quite similar.
"What occupies my thoughts and feelings, my prayer, as I approach holy orders, is the immensity of the task to which I have been called and the great need for priests in our world today," said Deacon James.
Said Deacon Joseph: "There are a lot of big challenges in the world today, and the priest is called to lead the charge against a number of those challenges." He turned to sports to draw an analogy.
"I suppose the feeling is like that of an athlete preparing for a big game when he knows his team has to play against some notable adversary. You've just got to put on your game face and step out on the field."
Joining the Campbell twins on the "field" of priesthood this year is another man who is a twin, Deacon Daniel Hendrickson, 35, of San Francisco, who will be ordained a Jesuit priest and whose identical twin also is a Jesuit.
The ordination class of 2006 also includes men from a variety of professions -- at least three doctors and four attorneys, a U.S. Foreign Service officer, a real estate developer, teachers, a reporter, a parole officer, a casino worker, retired military officers, and government and corporate officials.
Family relationships influenced some. Deacon David Axtmann, 61, of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D., has a son who is already a priest. Deacon Joseph Pins, of the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, found himself called to the priesthood when he attended his father's ordination to the diaconate.
He's got a good attitude.
LOL. That inclusive language is funny :)
God Bless the Campbell family and the work they do for the church. May these two fine young priests have long careers serving others in the name of Jesus.
Oh but a double bump for the good young Fathers Campbell !!!
I wasn't the originator of that name, but I love it nonetheless. :-) Say hi to your mom for me, and God bless you all!
"A good tree bears good fruit.' (From yesterday's Gospel --these parents are outstanding in the way they brought up their 13 children.
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These twins are doubly blessed - Identical brothers from Erie to become priests today