By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jayson Becker, son of Deacon Jim and Rita Becker of Muscatine, was ordained a transitional deacon in December for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Deacon Jim Becker is a retired permanent deacon of the Diocese of Davenport and a member of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine.
It was a “very, very special day” for Deacon Jayson Becker, made even more meaningful by his father’s participation in the Mass at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Kansas City, Mo. During the Mass, Deacon Jim Becker proclaimed the Gospel. Later, he vested his son with the deacon’s dalmatic, after which the two deacons shared an embrace.
Deacon Jim Becker said serving at the Mass was “a mountaintop experience for me as a parent and as a permanent deacon. It was that also for my wife, Rita.”
Deacon Jayson Becker credits his parents, among many people from the Diocese of Davenport, for shaping his faith. “My father would teach adult education (at the Muscatine parish), and I would go along and hook up the projector, run the equipment and try to learn about sacred Scripture. My parents also led RCIA, and this helped me understand my faith even more.”
Priests and religious sisters in the Diocese of Davenport helped him on his journey, he said, along with “all the wonderful families of Ss. Mary & Mathias who encouraged me, prayed for me and helped me in so many ways.”
A large Iowa delegation attended Deacon Jayson Becker’s ordination. Bishop James Johnston, bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., personally welcomed the well-wishers.
One could say that vocations run in the family. Deacon Jayson Becker’s late aunt, Sister Mary Joseph, was a Franciscan who served in the Diocese of Peoria, Ill. Jayson felt her presence strongly after her death in 2009, seemingly calling on him to answer God’s call to priesthood; it was something he had thought about from time to time but hadn’t pursued.
At age 38, he entered seminary, intending to become a priest for the Diocese of Peoria. But something didn’t feel right. He turned to his aunt for intercession during a rosary walk. Not long after, an aunt in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese wrote to Jayson and suggested he check out her diocese. It turned out to be a good fit for him.
Deacon Jayson Becker is finishing up studies at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Connecticut. God-willing, he will be ordained to the priesthood May 19 and begin serving the Missouri diocese as a priest.
Deacon Jim Becker looks forward to his son’s upcoming ordination to the priesthood. “At the end of 34-plus years as a permanent deacon, it is truly wonderful to have a son who is four months away from being a priest. Nothing could be better.”