Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
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Luis Ramos ordained a deacon June 15 in Pasco
by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff
(From the July 5, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)
Bishop William Skylstad ordained Luis Ramos a deacon at St. Patrick Parish, Pasco, the evening of June 15.
Deacon Luis and Maria Ramos have been married for 32 years.
Deacon Ramos was born Sept. 19, 1949, in Michocan, Mexico
“My father frequently traveled to the United States as a bracerio, a temporary farm laborer,” Deacon Ramos said, “and I first began to know him by the age of six. When my father returned, he decided not to travel anymore to the United States and we had to help out and do labor work along with some of my brothers and sisters. These were very difficult times, taking care of cows and sowing the corn fields. We weren’t able to attend school because, in the area that we lived in, there was none and it was essential for us to work.”
About age 9, with his parents, nine brothers and one sister, Luis moved to the Mexican State of Colima. “We continued to work, and as we grew older the need for us to work grew as well,” he recalls. “The only difference between Michoacan and Colima was that we now had the opportunity to go to school, and that is how I learned to read and write.”
When he was about age 13, Luis was bitten on one foot by a rattlesnake, and he almost died. In order to obtain adequate medical care he was taken to Guadalajara, Jalisco, where the infection he had contracted from the snake bite was treated. “With careful measures taken, as well as being out of the tough labor work environment,” he said, “I slowly but surely began to recover, as well as continued my education.”
By age 18, Luis completed his elementary education, and about this time he met his future wife, Maria Elena Marquez. “I decided to pursue an education and continued to go to school for about another two years. I also worked as a messenger in a warehouse and then as a wholesaler.”
In 1974, Luis decided to go to the U.S. following his sister, Maria Elena, who had moved there the previous year. He began to work as a laborer in Idaho, in the onion fields, in Washington picking pears and apples, and in the vineyards of California.
“But,” he recalls, “I couldn’t make enough money to even support myself. Quickly I realized that it wasn’t easy to make money, and I remembered my childhood and wished that I could go back to those times.”
Luis Ramos and Maria (Marquez) Ramos, were married Feb. 1, 1975, in Los Angeles, Calif. With their first child, Daisy – now married, and living in Las Vegas, Nev. – the couple moved to Pasco in 1979 and began participating in parish life. Luis began work in a meat packing plant, and his wife worked in a potato plant. “We also joined the parish’s Liturgy Committee,” he said, “where we learned what that really means.” The couple had four more daughters: Adriana, Noemi, Griselda, and Alejandra.
In 2001, he was among those invited to enter the Diocese of Spokane’s Deacon Formation Program. “In 2006, many members of the program were ordained,” Deacon Luis said, “but I continued to study and participate in all the events that everyone else participated in. I knew I had to make a decision and thought seriously about it. I found a spiritual director to help me with this; I didn’t have one before and found that this may have been what I was missing, to be certain of my choice. I now understand that with his help, and the help of many others who supported me, that I made the decision with much conviction and completed my program to become a deacon.”
Two days before Deacon Ramos was ordained, however, his father passed away in Mexico. “Although the day seemed gloomy,” he says, “I still felt inclined to complete my celebration and be ordained.… I didn’t have enough time to make it to Mexico and pay my respects and be back on time. Although it was one of the hardest choices I’ve had to make, I decided to stay and understood that it was the best decision. My father had always encouraged me when he learned of my participation in this program and asked me to complete the program, no matter what. This was his last request of me before he passed away.
“So now, at age 57, with my older daughters married and with eight grandchildren, I was ordained a deacon.”
Deacon Luis Ramos attributes his decision to become a deacon to his experience of coming to understand the greatness of the Scriptures and how important it is to proclaim the Word of God to others. Also contributing to his decision was a growing awareness of the importance of the Eucharist and a desire to teach others how to practice their religion.
He looks forward to helping Pasco’s St. Patrick Parish with various charitable activities.
Bishop Skylstad and Deacon Abraham Valdovines applaud as Luis Ramos stands before the community during the ordination Mass.
Deacon Ramos elevates the chalice.
Deacon Ramos, newly ordained, sits beside Bishop Skylstad.