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New deacon strengthened by his family, friends, saints

Seminarian calls diaconate ordination ‘most humbling’

Published: June 8, 2018   
Bob Ocken
Jon Miskin, a member of Christ the King Church in Little Rock, kneels before Bishop Anthony B. Taylor as the bishop prays the prayer of ordination during Miskin’s May 23 diaconate ordination.

Prostrating himself on the floor of his home parish, Christ the King Church in Little Rock, Jon Miskin could feel the saints surrounding him.

“It is the most humbling experience where you see the entire congregation, you see Christ in the Eucharist in the tabernacle,” the 25-year-old said. “You can just feel the weight and intensity of everyone’s prayers and it is for the intention for me. I am lying on the ground, humbled that so many people are here to love and support me and reach out to God and say ‘Make this man worthy.’ Then listening to the prayers and the intercession of the saints calling them out by name, you can almost feel the saints walk into the church and surround me and surround the people. You can’t help but feel God is here and he is here for me.”

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor ordained Miskin a transitional deacon May 23 and gave the homily, noting that his name Jonathan means “gift of God.”

“First of all, your very existence is a gift of God,” the bishop said. “As is growing up in a wonderful, faith-filled family with great parents and great brothers and sisters, and growing up in a great parish with inspiring priests like Msgr. (Francis I.) Malone. Plus all the many God-given talents you have, good health, deep faith, the educational opportunities you have received.  You are a gift of God and you have received many gifts from God, much to be thankful for.”

“I am lying on the ground, humbled that so many people are here to love and support me and reach out to God and say ‘Make this man worthy.’” Deacon Jon Miskin

Miskin, one of 10 Christ the King parishioners who have been ordained diocesan priests in recent years or are currently in the seminary, graduated from Catholic High School in 2011. Into his last semester of high school, he still wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. He knew he wanted a career, wife and children, but he always had this thought about discerning the priesthood. Then he got a letter from Msgr. Malone encouraging him to discern this calling.

“I shut the letter and said No,” he said. “I put the letter next to my bed and tried to forget about it. No matter how I tried I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I read it again … Finally I let God speak to my heart and he said ‘Do you trust me?’ It was hard for me to answer yes, but when I finally said ‘Yes, I trust you,’ then he said, ‘I want you in the seminary.’ ”

Nearing his high school graduation, he was accepted as a diocesan seminarian and entered Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas.

The diaconate ordination includes the promises of celibacy, a life of prayer and obedience to the bishop. As deacon, he can now proclaim the Gospel and preach during Mass, administer baptism, distribute Communion and preside over funeral services and act as an official witness at weddings.

Miskin said he is looking forwarding to preaching during Mass.

“Since I was in college seminary, I would read the readings of the day in preparation for Mass and you think ‘What would I say?’ he said. “It is an amazing moment to stand before the people of God and witness to your faith and the faith of the Church.”

The diaconate ordination Mass was watched by his parents, Anne and Mike Miskin, who now live outside Chicago, and his five siblings.

“It is such a humbling experience that my son would devote himself to the Church,” Miskin’s father said after the Mass.

During the reception after Mass, guests could sign up to agree to pray for the new deacon at least one day over the next 12 months.

Miskin will minister at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in North Little Rock (Marche) for his summer assignment. In the fall he will return to St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana and is scheduled to be ordained a priest in May 2019 at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock.

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