Having a twin sister is indeed a blessing and miracle as it is estimated that one in 250 pregnancies results in twins–naturally. But what a way to give back that blessing is serving or giving themselves to others.
That’s what 15-year-old fraternal twins Frances Lavine and Maxine Louise Rodriguez did. They are serving the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Rodriguez Rizal as Parish Youth Ministry members.
My Pope Philippines chats with the twin sisters about how they started serving the parish and juggle between their school and extracurricular activities.
Frances Lavine recalled that the first time they performed was during the 62nd birthday celebration of the former parish priest, Fr. Rodrigo Eguia in 2019.
“We performed a dance number with the altar servers and the vocation ministry as a substitute for our mother because she couldn’t attend the practice. It was followed by another dance after the mass in October. We were later informed that they were the Parish Youth Ministry (PYM),” says Frances.
As there is a required age to join other ministries and the twin sisters were only 13 years old at that time, they joined the PYM, but what eventually caught their interest in the ministry was the opportunity to belong to a group of young people who dances at the altar.
“Apart from strengthening my faith and being closer to God, I also love dancing and performing in front of people,” shares Frances Lavine.
Maxine Louise shared the same sentiment. “I watched them dance during the Harana Kay Maria, Karakol, and opening of the Vocation month. PYM is the bridge to other ministries. I wanted to strengthen my faith first to be deserving to serve other ministries.”
On having a twin
The twins were born on January 6, 2006, in Quezon City via caesarian section as Maxine Louise was positioned in breech (feet first), while Frances was head-down. But with God’s grace, they were delivered safe, healthy, and sound.
Maxine Louise and Frances Lavine are second and third in a brood of five. Their eldest sister is also a PYM member, their younger brother is an altar server, while only their youngest sister who is still nine-year-old and their father who is working as a laboratory technician in a private company has not joined any parish ministries yet.
“My parents, especially my mother, are very supportive. They let us attend practices for animations, dance productions, and parish’s special events even if we must go home late. They sometimes watch and record a video of our dance performances,” says Maxine Louise, whose mother is also an Usherette and Vocation Ministry member.
The twin sisters grew up in a simple yet beautiful life. “As a twin, I can say that there are many benefits and the most beautiful one was having a best friend and a twin sister at the same time. Also, I don’t see mistaken identities as a challenge. It’s just all right with me,” says Maxine Louise.
“It’s fun having a twin sister because we’re always together. We do everything together. She’s my best friend. I tell her my secrets,” says Frances Lavine.
Life as a student and challenges
Like most twins, they were always classmates. In third grade, they were included in the first batch of Special Science Class (SSC) after passing an exam.
At present, they are in their Grade 10 or fourth-year junior high school, but Frances Lavine plans to take Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) strand in senior high school and take either civil engineering or nursing in college; while Maxine Louise plans to take Accountancy, Business, and Management (ABM) strand and take up BS Accountancy in college.
“We have added three subjects compared to the regular class plus online. The challenge of serving the parish was my schedule. There are many requirements and deadlines to beat. I must always do my best in quizzes, written works, performance, and group tasks. But I believe that I can overcome them by proper time management and trusting in the Lord,” shares Maxine Louise who is an honor student.
“Our life as SSC students wasn’t easy. We have too many activities and projects, but they were all worth it because they made me who I am today. Every single hour of the day is very important so we can finish our schoolwork on time. I wanted to serve the parish, but my school activities are hindering me from doing that. We are still in the process of overcoming that challenge,” says Frances Lavine.
On plans to join other ministries
Apart from studying, the twin sisters loved joining school-based dance competitions. In fact, during their first year in high school, they joined Powerdance where their group became the champion. They also represented their class in a dancesport competition.
As for other parish ministries, the twin sisters wanted to join the Social Communications or Lectors and Commentators’ Ministries in the future.
“Hopefully, when I’m at the right age. I wanted to prepare myself first because once I join a ministry, I wanted to give my full commitment and heart to it,” says Maxine Louise.
“I am fond of seeing cameras and I think it would be fun if I could learn how to use them and apply the learnings that I have gained in serving the parish,” says Frances Lavine.
Advice to young people
In joining parish organizations, Frances advised making sure your main goal is to serve God.
“Serving God can give you a different feeling that other things cannot give you. It can make you realize the importance of life and the things around you. Parish organizations are not just an ‘organization’ but also a family that you can rely on.”
For those people who are hesitant to join, Maxine Louise told them not to worry. “Everyone will treat you as a family even if you are just new. They are so kind. Joining the ministry is life-changing if you’ll really give your heart and commitment to it.”