Asked to say something to check the sound levels of his microphone before Mass, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor grinned.
“Rain is a sign of the blessing of the Lord on an event,” he said, referencing the downpour that had marked the entire morning of May 20’s diaconate ordination of Daniel Ramos. “And the Lord is very pleased today.”
No church in Arkansas has been showered with more blessings than Immaculate Heart of Mary Church these days. The 139-year-old parish in North Little Rock (Marche), which had never had a native son ordained a transitional deacon until last year, was again to witness the event conferred in their midst. And as evidenced by the full pews, they weren’t going to let a little rain stop them from seeing it.
Ramos, a native of Mexico, smiled at the sight of dripping parishioners streaming in from under gray gloomy clouds that thundered overhead. It’s the kind of devotion to the faith and parish community, on display here daily, that’s played an indispensible role in leading him to the transitional diaconate.
“This parish is unique, it’s a family,” Ramos said. “It’s probably 95 percent of a Polish community, and they are very close, they are a very faithful community. That is helping me to be closer to that and to realize that people have been supporting me with prayers and making sacrifices to be faithful. And I want to be in service for them.”
In his bilingual homily, Bishop Taylor remarked on Ramos’ selection of readings, specifically Matthew’s gospel account of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. He said he was edified by the selection, as it demonstrated Ramos’ understanding that a life in vocations was not insulated from the temptations of the secular world.
“Like Jesus, Daniel clearly understands that there are serious temptations, serious pitfalls to be faced and overcome in order to exercise public ministry faithfully,” Bishop Taylor said. “Satan tried to trip Jesus up at the beginning of his ministry by proposing shortcuts that would enable him to avoid hardships and still accomplish his mission.
“Daniel, as an ordained minister, you will enjoy a great deal of power and influence,” the bishop went on, his gaze fixed squarely on Ramos. “Never misuse that power for your own personal gratification. Even though he was hungry, Jesus refused to use his power to turn stones into bread because the impulse to do so came from Satan.”
Ramos was vested in his deacon’s stole and dalmatic by parishioner Deacon Martin Siebold, who last year stood on this same spot, and Father Ruben Quinteros, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. A concelebrant and special guest for the Mass included Father Ross Schecterle of Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales Corners, Wis., where Ramos is a student. Father Juan Guido served as master of ceremonies as several rows full of diocesan priests, deacons and seminarians looked on.
Ramos is one of seven transitional deacons newly ordained in the Diocese of Little Rock this year and is on track to be ordained a priest in 2018.
“I’m just feeling excited and most important, I’m happy,” Ramos said of reaching this milestone. “This is something that is good because I’m realizing that it’s my vocation and it’s going to be part of my life serving to the people.”
This summer Ramos will continue his pastoral year at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
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