Seminarian passes away in car accident

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Linda Smith, News Editor

First-year seminarian John “Daniel” Phillips passed away in a car accident on Dec. 18, 2012 near Danville, Ark. He was 19 years old.

Phillips was born and raised in Booneville, Ark. According to his page on the Diocese of Little Rock website, he wanted to be a priest even as a child, as he played “priest” and gave his siblings potato chips to practice receiving Holy Communion.

Photo courtesy Arkansas CatholicJohn “Daniel” Phillips
Photo courtesy Arkansas Catholic
John “Daniel” Phillips

Although he doubted his vocation to the priesthood as a teen, Daniel went to several retreats, including a high- school retreat called Search, where he met John Minkin, a seminarian for the Diocese of Little Rock.

“He simply wanted to get to know other Catholic youths, but more importantly, develop a deeper relationship with Christ,” Miskin said. “He had such an enthusiasm and excitement that really motivated me, as a part of the leadership team, to lead the retreatants to my greatest ability.”

Fellow student at Holy Trinity Seminary Sam Maul remembers Phillips as a “great addition to the house.”

“Daniel was unique in quite a few ways, including his humor, his musicianship and his respect,” Maul said. “He wouldn’t hurt a fly; he would never make a joke at another person’s expense, because he respected and loved all people.”

“If there is one thing to remember about Daniel, it is how he loved,” Miskin said. “It was such a perfect, self-sacrificing love that can only be described as Christlike. He would show this love to you in countless ways, whether it be having a friendly conversation, putting off his homework to teach you a thing or two on the guitar, or being that constant presence in the chapel, someone you know you can turn to if something is wrong.”

“People should remember his love and his faith,” Maul said. “Daniel always showed how much he cared and respected every person because it was rooted in his faith of them being a child of God. He took Christ’s commission of loving thy neighbor very seriously.”

“Although this is a huge loss to his family, his friends, the seminary community and the Church itself, I am able to see great joy,” added Miskin. “There is no doubt in my mind that Daniel is now in heaven. What’s more, I know that he is there praying for me and my vocation.”

Phillips was survived by his parents, John and Catherine Phillips, and several siblings.

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