"Faith without work is dead." - James 2:26
By CELYNA M. VASQUEZThe Valley Catholic
RAYMONDVILLE — Hector Ramirez, devoted family man, neighborhood activist and lay minister at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Raymondville, was recently inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, in recognition - and celebration - of his life achievements and significant civic contributions to his community.
In addition, the Corrections Corporation of America [CCA] Willacy County State Jail has awarded Ramirez Volunteer of the Year Award no less than eight times for his efforts in local prison and jail ministries.
Considered by many to be an exceptional person of faith, Ramirez has always been the epitome of the motto, “The clear sign of your faith is not what you say, but what you do”. Ramirez has spent his entire life in Raymondville, and grew up in Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. His work in church ministries dates back to 1971. At the age of 45, (in 1979), Ramirez attended a charismatic movement event held in Edinburg that changed his life forever.
“Up until that point, God was unknown to me; I had just been ‘going through the motions,’” Ramirez said. “From that day forward, the Holy Spirit touched my life, and I knew in my heart who God really was.”
Ramirez, particularly inspired by that event, became deeply, and increasingly involved in the prison and jail ministry, and continues to serve as Leader of the Rosary Group for many local funeral homes, Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, Church Lector, Homebound Minister, and Sacristan.
A charter member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Prayer Group, Ramirez continues his dedication as he has done for the past 33 years. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, and enjoys assembling rosaries that he distributes to the Department of Corrections Units throughout the State of Texas. Because of his continued commitment and enthusiastic devotion, Ramirez is an integral part of various committees at his parish.
Ramirez stated that in doing the work of Christ, “people can know how much I love God and our Blessed Mother. Every morning I make it a point to receive the Holy Eucharist. I place myself in God’s hands and render myself to His Will. That’s how I receive my nourishment for the day,” he concluded.
For the past 57 years, Ramirez has been married to Julia V. Ramirez, and they enjoy their large family of seven daughters, 15 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.
He has instilled a sense of spiritual responsibility and civic duty in his family.
Editor’s note: Celyna M. Vasquez, 11, a parishioner at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Raymondville, is a mobile journalist for the Diocese of Brownsville. Through the Mobile Journalist Project, youths in the diocese will serve their parish and hone their journalism skills as they share the Good News of Jesus. Vasquez chose to feature her grandfather, Hector Ramirez, for her first article. “He inspires me in my own journey with his service to the Church and the community.”
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