St Alphonsus Catholic Church of Langdon has welcomed a new priest to the parish. Father Michael Hickin is looking forward to serving the Cavalier County Catholic parishes.
“I’m following a much-beloved pastor, which is great but that also comes with its pressures. Fr. Phil spoke so highly of the other area ministers and how well they worked together [and I’m] happy to continue that tradition,” Fr. Hickin said.
Fr. Hickin was ordained a Catholic priest in 1997. He explained that from his earliest days, God had always been an appealing mystery to him. Hickin grew up in a happy, faith-filled family, and while in college, he became passionate about his faith. After graduating, he set out on an odyssey - backpacking around Europe andexploring the roots of Christianity especially in the monastic tradition. Upon his return to the United States, he joined the U.S. Army for three years and then entered a monastery in France.
“Guess I’m a guy who doesn’t mind strong contrast. I moved to Rome to study theology, which is where, strangely enough, my paths crossed with the Bishop of Fargo. He sent me for further studies in Washington, D.C.,” Hickin said.
He shared that this was only the outer shell of the Call. In its essence, the Call has been a steadily intensifying friendship with Jesus for him. Fr. Hickin shared that he answered the Call because he encountered His love.
“It was so big it was worth my whole life. The adventure just never lets up,” Fr. Hickin shared.
The past six years he has lived in Bottineau. Before that he was in Rome, Italy; Harvey; Columbus, Ohio and Fargo. Getting to know the people in Bottineau, Fr. Hickin served three different school districts making it hard to be a loyal fan. He looks forward to his time in the Langdon area as he likes that he will be serving families all in the same school district and also be part of the energy around St. Alphonsus Catholic School.
“Ever since word broke that I was moving to Langdon, every single person I’ve spoken with has said glowing things about this community. Wherever that goodness comes from, Thank You! I feel blessed and hope to become part of that ‘magic’.”
On the day-to-day, Fr. Hickin wants to bring a listening ear, faithfulness to the Gospel, and a willingness to work together to embrace the future with joy. He explained that given the volatile nature of American life right now, he hopes to bring some wisdom brought up from the deep wells of our tradition. Fr. Hickin knows that there are no ready-made answers, but it is a choice time for people to ask larger questions about God and what it means to be on the right side of history and the gift rural life offers to the soul of our nation.
“COVID-19 makes transition all the more difficult. Even if you’re not into shaking hands, say “Hey!”. I want to settle in and get to know folks, parishioners or not. Smiles are free and safe. Let’s share,” Fr. Hickin said.
Fr. Hickin is fond of the outdoors and eager to explore the Pembina Gorge. He enjoys various forms of folk art and refinishing small furniture which is why he would also like to set up a little workshop. His fondness for the outdoors has him also hoping that, in time, he would like to do some landscaping— as “rocks and flowers are another contrast close to my heart”.