It sounds like an Abbott & Costello routine, but this is no joke: two men with the same name are deacons, a father and son, but soon the son will become a Father.

Florida Catholic sorts it out:

The Nixon family of Blessed Sacrament Parish here already had two Michaels, father and son. Now both of them are deacons and both go by Deacon Michael Nixon. But instead of dwelling on confusion caused by the same names and titles, the Nixons celebrate their unique and phenomenal family distinction with humor – and a lot of prayer.

Michael Patrick Nixon, 56, the father, was ordained a permanent deacon June 20 at St. Paul Parish in Pensacola. Bishop John Ricard, SSJ, ordained 17 men, including Nixon, during a special Mass of ordination. They were all ordained as permanent deacons, meaning they will not go on to be ordained to the priesthood.

Michael John Nixon, 26, the son, was ordained April 25 by Auxiliary Bishop Felipe Estevez of the Archdiocese of Miami at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, along with two others. They were ordained as transitional deacons for their last year in seminary, meaning they will eventually be ordained as priests, in spring 2010.

The entire Nixon family, which includes six children and nine grandchildren, attended the June 20 ordination Mass at St. Paul. Deacon Michael John Nixon got to assist in his father’s ordination.

“I had the best seat in the house,” the son said the next day, which happened to be Father’s Day. “It was awesome, a really beautiful experience. It was a real, grace-filled moment – and I was very proud. It was a great day for the Church.”

He pointed out that the weekend was special not only because of Father’s Day and the ordination, but also because the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 19 and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 20, ordination day. The family celebrated with a Holy Hour on June 19, and reflected on the significance of each of the days and how they all came together for such an important event in the family’s lives.

Deacon Michael Patrick Nixon said that being called to the diaconate was a great honor and blessing for him.

“When the bishop laid his hands on me and said the prayers of consecration, it was one of the greatest moments of my life,” he said. “Through God’s grace, I pray that I have the abilities to perform the different ministries that God has called me to.”

Although both deacons and the whole family were excited about the two ordinations, the one who was truly ecstatic was Jean Nixon, the wife of Michael Patrick and mother of Michael John.

“The (ordination) Mass went amazingly. It was beautiful,” she said June 21 after returning home. “As I was seeing all the candidates coming forward from every position in life, I was reminded of the infinite mercy of God. With those men, my husband, Mike, with his childlike trust in God, was being raised to the ranks of a deacon in the Catholic Church. How amazing God is. … To see my son as a deacon together with my husband, I could only rejoice at the depth of God’s mercy and love.”

Check out the link for the rest. It’s a great story.

Top – Michael Patrick Nixon, Jr. watches as his father, Michael Patrick Nixon, Sr., is ordained a deacon.
Middle – Assisted by his wife, Jean, Deacon Michael Patrick Nixon kisses his deacon’s stole before he puts it on.
Photos by Peggy Dekeyser/Florida Catholic

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