Like a lot of seminarians, Deacon Jon Miskin has Bible verses that have inspired him on the long road to becoming a priest. But it’s the secular saying, “It takes a village,” that more accurately narrates that journey.
“I’m so thankful to everyone,” he said. “I am not here without my parents. I’m not here without my teachers at school. I’m not here without the people of God who I don’t even know that will say a prayer for me every night.
“I would love for people to realize that I’m just so thankful and humbled by the amount of support that I’ve been given. Just, thanks.”
Miskin, the third of six children, said his earliest exposure to unconditional, Christ-like love came in the home, as demonstrated by his parents Mike and Anne. That early influence set the stage for his formative years attending Christ the King Church and School in Little Rock, a parish known for fostering vocations. True to form, Miskin found the environment conducive to bringing his God-given vocation into focus.
“I think any vocation is something that’s given to you by God and he gives it to you as he forms you in the womb. He knits it into your heart,” he said. “This vocation is already embedded in the depths of my heart. Discovering it is discovering how God wants me to love in the world.”
“First in my parents and then in a different way in other priests and especially the priests that I grew up with at Christ the King, it was a different gift of self that I saw.”
Miskin gives particular credit to Christ the King pastor Msgr. Francis Malone for modeling what a joyful vocation looked like.
“Msgr. Malone, in the way in which he gives himself through the Eucharist at Mass, inspired me to that donation of self to God and to his people,” he said.
The crowning touch for Miskin was St. Meinrad Seminary, which effectively put his fire for the priesthood firmly into context through rigorous study, prayer and self-examination.
“The seminary system has this three-part goal,” he said. “It goes, self-knowledge should lead into self-acceptance which ultimately leads into self-gift. That’s what seminary is all about.”
“First, you need to know yourself; before I can be a priest, I have to be Jon and I have to love and know my own gifts and my own weaknesses so that I can go and give it to someone else.”
The experience has been so profound, Miskin said, he feels a sadness in leaving the seminary, even as he looks forward to his May 25 ordination at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock and everything that lies beyond.
“I often hear the question, where would you want your first assignment to be? What do you see your priesthood as?” he said. “I am just excited and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve the people of God in whatever way they’re asking me through the bishop. I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t fall in love with any assignment that he gave me.”
“I want to serve God’s people and that can look like so many different things. I don’t want to limit that vision.”
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