How a deacon balances being a father, husband, missionary, and mariachi

North Texas Catholic
(May 21, 2024) Local

Deacon Alfonso Ramírez

Deacon Alfonso Ramírez of Immaculate Conception Parish in Denton is a father, husband, missionary, and mariachi. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)


In Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic constitution on the Church, Pope Paul VI once described that a deacons’ hands “are imposed ‘not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service’” (LG 29).

Deacon Alfonso Ramírez of Immaculate Conception Parish in Denton is a great example of this dedication. Through the strength of his faith and immense joy for his work, the deacon of 15 years has devoted himself to sharing the eternal love of God with others.

This devotion began more than 20 years ago, when he saw a deacon at his parish prepare his vestments. At the sight of the beautiful garments, he felt “something inside my being; something that enlightened me; something that invited me to dress like him. It was in that moment that I first felt the call to begin the diaconate process.”

That call only grew in the following eight years as he spiritually prepared and entered the diaconate formation program, finally being ordained to the permanent diaconate in 2009 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Keller.


A mariachi and a deacon

Since the age of four, Dcn. Ramírez has played the violin as a member of a mariachi band.

With a great passion for the art, the deacon is well known for his musicality. In fact, when he was ordained in 2009, Bishop Kevin Vann joked, “From now on, you are no longer going to be just a mariachi.”

However, Dcn. Ramírez has always found that working as a mariachi is more than just a profession — it is a way of living life and worshiping God.

“Many people think that mariachi is nothing more than to be drinking, to be there at parties, but in reality, it is not like that. Mariachi brings people together, to celebrate life, to be filled with joy, and share that happiness with others. This is what I like the most about my vocation. When we are together, we are filled with the joy of God,” he enthused.

He finds the same joy he feels sharing music when he serves his community as a deacon.

“St. James says show me your faith, and I will show His works. For me, that means His joy. … Sharing the love of God through the faith, through love — that is what faith is for me, sharing His joy.”


A deacon’s duty

Dcn. Ramírez serves at least two Masses each Sunday at Immaculate Conception or at parishes in Grapevine and Bedford, churches he visits to help with Spanish Masses every month.

For several years, he routinely worked in prison ministry, visiting inmates every eight days. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, the deacon fixed his attention to medical mission work and aiding the poor in Mexico City. Since then, he has visited the region twice a year, bringing aid in the form of clothes, shoes, and medicine.

Dcn. Ramírez said the dire need for supplies was brought to his attention by local priests of the area. They connected him with two orphanages and a small homeless shelter for children and elderly.

“Through God’s blessing and the community’s generosity, we help them with what we can give,” he said, showing pictures and videos of the countless number of people collecting the baskets of supplies he brings. “Being able to serve God through this ministry is the most beautiful thing I can experience. It brings me a lot of joy — joy and pride that, as a deacon, I am sharing God’s love with others.”


Committed to serve

An impassioned musician by trade, a devoted deacon by calling, and, above all, a loving father and husband.

Dcn. Ramírez married his wife Olga Rosillo 43 years ago at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Pilot Point, and they are very proud parents of four grown children: Roberto Carlos, Karla Anai, Anna Karen, and Luis Alfonso.

“My family has always been the most important thing to me. If I have time for my family, I have time for everyone. That for me is the most important thing,” he stressed.

With so much on his plate, one may wonder how busy the deacon may be, how he manages his time to share his gifts in so many different directions, but no matter how much responsibility one may hold, there is no particular secret for finding time to serve the Lord, Dcn. Ramírez attested. “One only has to be available to do the will of God.”

It is important to get rid of the idea of “feeling busy,” said the deacon. Remove it from your mental dictionary, he suggested.

“I don't put it in my head that I'm going to be busy, that I need to be doing this, this, and that. ... Sometimes, our worries drown us," he explained.

“For example, let’s say I have a commitment, and I have to be on my way somewhere by three o'clock. Suddenly, it’s 2:30 pm, and I am still somewhere else, and I say to myself, 'Oh no, they're waiting for me,' so I’ll drive faster, desperate,” Dcn. Ramírez described. “I have to constantly remind myself of what a priest once told me: in your life, never set limits and never set schedules for yourself. Always put yourself in God's hands, and He will take care of everything else in your life.”


Advice for others

For men considering entering the permanent diaconate, Dcn. Ramírez advises them to pray that they may “fall in love with God.”

To parents seeking help in instilling true love for God in their children, he suggests making a habit of reading to their children and talking to them about God.

“We, as parents, want to give the best to our children, and sometimes we think that looks like giving them access to all the wealth and vanities found in our world,” Dcn. Ramírez admitted. “But we never think that the best thing we can do for our children is to instill in them the love of God — this is the most important thing in our life of faith, that our children grow up with that love in their hearts.”

Deacon Alfonso Ramírez, mariachi, Immaculate Conception Parish, diaconate, Diocese of Fort Worth, trending-english