LANSING — Retired Col. John Twohig and his wife Deborah have been named honorary chairs of the 2017 Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal. John and Debbie have dedicated their lives in service to God, their family and their country.
The couple met while John was attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. They married in 1974 and spent the next three decades serving their country as a military family while raising their four children. The Twohigs moved to Army bases around the world, but there was always one constant in their life — their faith.
“We were very active in the parishes on the bases where we were stationed,” Debbie said. “No matter where we were in the world, when we attended Mass, we knew we were home.”
From an early age, both John and Debbie understood the importance of supporting the church with their time and financial resources. Their parents were faithful Catholics who quietly supported their local parish in simple, yet powerful ways.
“Debbie’s father was an electrician who worked 50 or 60 hours a week,” John recalled. “After work, he would take me to the Knights of Columbus meeting to paint classrooms at the parish school. His example of service always stood out to me.”
The Twohigs have shared that same spirit of generosity with their children — Wesley, Shannon, Lauren and Brigid — three of whom also have served in the U.S. armed forces. Since their children were young, Debbie and John instilled in them the value of their Catholic faith and the need to serve others.
“We always reminded our children that we do not come first,” Debbie explained. “We have other priorities — our faith, our family, our nation. The Army helped reinforce these values in our family.”
John and Debbie have been members of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lansing for more than eight years. Debbie is an active member of the Legion of Mary, prays for and visits the sick, and teaches religious education to young people in the parish. John serves on the parish fundraising committee, is an adult altar assistant and eucharistic minister, and is a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus.
“St. Francis Parish is such a strong community,” said John. “As we became more involved, we realized how many people rely on the services and ministries provided by the archdiocese. We wanted to help however we could.”
The Twohigs’ desire to serve others in their community led them to participate in the Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal.
“While not all of us can work as missionaries, we can support the life and ministry of the church through the Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal,” Debbie said. “It is an opportunity to serve others in a direct and meaningful way.”
Each year, tens of thousands of people throughout the archdiocese participate in the Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal. Their generous support strengthens our Catholic schools and educational programs, outreach services, formation of clergy and seminarians, and pastoral work in parishes. Donations to the appeal help fund more than 42 different programs, apostolates and ministries, serving more than 180,000 people throughout northeast Kansas.
In recognition of their years of faithful service and support, John and Debbie have been asked to serve as the honorary chairs for the 2017 appeal. The couple is grateful to be part of a strong community of faith in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
“What we have here in the archdiocese is rare,” John says. “From the faith and leadership of Archbishop Naumann to our priests who care so much about those they serve, to the dedicated, hard-working people in our parishes — this is such a vibrant Catholic community.”
The Twohigs encourage everyone to participate in the Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal. “We all have been blessed in so many ways,” Debbie said. “The appeal is one opportunity to share those blessings with others.
“Even if you can only give a little, you will make a big difference in the life of someone in need. And anyone can offer their prayers.”