When Ana Dee Tirado first met her future husband, Ramon, she knew there was something quite special about the man. In agreement, when Deacon Ramon’s youngest daughter was a child, she asked her father why he was always so happy after he had helped other people.  His answer to her was that a person can gain so much more from giving and that it makes us feel cheerful when we help others. She also saw something special in her father. Now, she has grown up and has embraced that same philosophy. She is a social worker and recently told her father that she too is happy about serving others. “I know why you were always smiling.” She told him.

I had previously met Deacon Ramon, in passing, during Mass.  I knew he was a nice guy, seemed cheerful and quite courteous. But during a forty-five minute phone interview for the Precious Blood CC website, I realized immediately why this man’s family and apparently many others within the Arlington Diocese, including Father Leo, have embraced Deacon Ramon so warmly.  He is revealing, kind, honest, and driven by his faith. One conversation and it became quite apparent that our Precious Blood Deacon is a man of service to the Catholic Church, the Parish, and people, in entirety of faith and service. We of Precious Blood are blessed to have this Deacon Ramon Tirado among us.

Ramon Tirado was born in Puerto Rico.  He was raised Catholic and at the age of twenty-one, he was drafted in the United States Army.  He served as infantry but found himself in the mess hall with the title chef.  “…and I can’t cook,” Deacon Ramon laughed. “Ana couldn’t believe I was a chef. She says I can’t even boil water.”

Two years later, Deacon Ramon had served his time in service and was discharged. He moved to Washington, D.C. where he met Ana, his love and future wife.  He found employment with Safeway in Arlington, Virginia and remained with the company until retirement at the age of fifty-six.

Ana and Ramon attended a few Catholic Churches in the District but landed a home at the Church of The Nativity.  Ana taught Catechises and she and Deacon Ramon assisted with the Spanish Mass. When the couple first started at the Church, the Spanish population was fifty.  Three years following, the Spanish members had grown to an amazing eight-hundred.

Deacon Ramon was spiritually called to pursue a Diaconate vocation.  However, with four children, a full time job, and his busy church duties, he felt he should wait to pursue the program. After retiring from Safeway, he decided it was time. Unfortunately, the Arlington Diocese did not have an operational Diaconate program. He could have attended the Seminary in the District of Columbia but that would require that, following ordination, he would have to remain in service in Washington D.C. instead of Virginia. Deacon Ramon wanted to serve in Virginia.

He and Ana returned to Puerto Rico.  They still had family there and knew that he could attend a Diaconate Program and possibly, eventually, return to Virginia.  “It was kind of difficult for me because I had been away for so long and things had changed.”  The Deacon shared. “But I went to classes and worked part-time too. Of course the part time was often more like full time.”  Deacon Ramon attended classes for seven years, leading to Diaconate ordination.

Deacon Ramon and Ana returned to the United States and lived in the Arlington area.  The couple decided to look for a new home and a place to settle.  Concurrently, Deacon Ramon was serving the Diocese’s, Spanish needs in Arlington.  However, he was encouraged to go ahead and search, attend different churches that he might like to pursue.

Deacon Ramon explains the events: “Ana came to Culpeper to see a house.  She called me and told me I would love it here. She told me I had to come and see Culpeper. And so I did and we both really liked it. So, we decided to move here. We figured we would have to travel to Arlington for our Church services. One day we were heading to town, passed through downtown Culpeper,...” He laughs, “…and we looked over and there was Precious Blood”. 

Deacon Ramon attended Precious Blood and a parishioner met him.  He shared with her that he was a Deacon.  Father Leo got word and met with him.  After a visit, Father Leo welcomed him and together they worked through the process. Deacon Ramon was at the service of the Arlington Diocese and the Diocese decided that Culpeper was a suitable place for him. 

“I love Precious Blood,” Deacon Ramon shared with me. “I love being of service. I like helping people.”

The deacon did share a challenge; “The language,” He said. “I can get nervous with just the readings in front of the congregation. That's normal. But when I had to do it in English…”  He laughs heartily. “…that can cause real nerves. But my daughter helps me interpret the word translation and that is a great help. I’m trying hard.”

Whether Deacon Ramon has perfect English language skills is a mute point in the Precious Blood parish. One greeting from the man and all hearts are joyful. His excitement to serve the Lord makes language minuscule, in comparison. 

interviewed and written by Chris Aycock.       

Precious Blood Catholic Church
114 East Edmondson Street
Culpeper, Virginia 22701
Rectory Office 540-825-8945
Parish Hall - CCD Office 540-825-1339
Epiphany Catholic School 540-825-9017

Copyright 2009 chris aycock & Precious Blood Catholic Church. All rights reserved. Links and Print Copies used with permission. For reproduction and technical questions contact chrisaycock@aol.com