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TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Bernardo and Paula Agustin, David and Maria Arias, Jose Fidel and Asuncion Canovas, Ricardo and Teresa Garcia. MIDDLE ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Jose and Connie Gomez, Vicente and Minvilu Gonzalez, Robert and Lorena Gonzalez. BOTTOM ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Roberto and Maria Eva Hernandez, Ulises and Marcela Miranda, Juan and Maria Ramirez, Francisco and Margarita Sanchez.

Eleven men – Bernardo Agustin, David Arias, Jose Canovas, Ricardo Garcia, Jose Gomez, Robert Gonzalez, Vicente Gonzalez, Roberto Hernandez, Ulises Miranda, Juan Ramirez and Francisco Sanchez – will be ordained as permanent deacons on Aug. 27 at St. James the Less, Perris. (Two men will also be ordained to the transitional diaconate at the same Mass; click here to read more about these two seminarians.) Below, read about the eleven men that will soon become permanent deacons as they share about themselves and what drew them to the Permanent Diaconate.

Name: Bernardo & Paula Agustin
Home Parish: St. Junipero Serra, Phelan
Occupation: Truck Driver
Ministries of Interest: Coordinator of Spanish choir, Restorative Justice ministry
What inspired you to become a deacon? Wanting to help, accompany, give compassion to the vulnerable and the needy.

Name: David & Maria Arias
Home Parish: Sacred Heart, Rancho Cucamonga
Occupation: Caregiver for those with special needs
Ministries of Interest: AGAPE (a ministry for parents of children with a disability)
What inspired you to become a deacon? The love of service, to be able to be a bridge between the Church and the need of others; zeal for souls. But especially, my children with special needs have shown me to look at others with compassion and have shown me that when you give of yourself you find the blessing of looking into the face of Christ in the face of the widow and our neighbor.

Name: Jose Fidel & Asuncion Canovas
Home Parish: The Holy Name of Jesus, Redlands
Occupation: Carpenter
Ministries of Interest: New Evangelization, lector
What inspired you to become a deacon? Visiting the sick and bringing them Holy Communion. Doing this service, I felt called to the diaconate.

Name: Ricardo & Teresa Garcia
Home Parish: Sacred Heart, Palm Desert
Occupation: Cleaning houses and offices
Ministries of Interest: RCIA, lector, catechesis for parents of children in Sacrament prep programs, marriage annulments
What inspired you to become a deacon? In my parish, there were instances in which we were left without the celebration of the Mass, because the elderly priest could not come and there was nobody to come and replace him. And so God asked me: Would you be willing to do something about this? And I simply answered: well, if you think I could help as a deacon, you are going to have to help me, because I don’t know anything, Lord.

Name: Jose & Connie Gomez
Home Parish: St. James the Less, Perris
Occupation: Post Office mail carrier
Ministries of Interest: Respect Life, RCIA, lector, sacristan, Knights of Columbus
What inspired you to become a deacon? Several years ago upon meditating on chapter 21 of St. John’s Gospel, I felt that Jesus was speaking to my heart and asking me if I loved him. This journey has been my response to His question. And now with His help, I look forward to feeding His sheep with the Gospel of Life that we proclaim by our witness in His Holy Church.

Name: Robert & Lorena Gonzalez
Home Parish: St. Mary, Fontana
Occupation: Sales
Ministries of Interest: Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, lector, youth confirmation catechist, Adult Confirmation assistant, Minister of the Eucharist to the sick and the homebound, Knight of Columbus.
What inspired you to become a deacon? I felt a call on my heart from God to serve Him and His church. One question I would always ask is, “Why me? What do I have to offer?” but God has always opened doors for me and created opportunities for me to serve his Church. I have come to understand that I am enough and all I have to do is say YES!

Name: Vicente & Minvilu Gonzalez
Home Parish: St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Beaumont/Banning
Occupation: Retired
Ministries of Interest: Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Mass coordinators, Confirmation catechist, Master of Ceremonies for the Bishops Office, infant Baptism catechesis, hospitality ministry
What inspired you to become a deacon? My inspiration to become a deacon started about 10 years ago when Bishop Gerald Barnes encouraged members of our parish to attend faith formation courses, which my wife and I did. During my second year of CMFP (Continuing Ministry Formation Program), several people noticed all the ministries I was working with and suggested that I become a deacon. At the same time, I began having dreams and visions of Jesus walking with me together with a group of people somewhere in the hills of Israel. I distinctly recall him reaching his hand out to me with a smile on his face, as we climbed up a hill together. I realize now that in those dreams and visions, Jesus was calling me to follow him to work in his ministry of Salvation. Coupled with these dreams and visions was a promise I made to Christ after I was diagnosed with cancer in 1994 at the age of 33 and going through radiation therapy, chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. As I was laying in bed in the isolation room one night I prayed and said, “Lord, if you will allow me to live on to be with my wife and children so that I can take care of them and watch them grow into adulthood (I had a 3 year old girl and a 1 year old boy), I promise to serve you the rest of my life, and I offer up my family in service to you as well.” So here I am, 28 years later.

Name: Roberto & Maria Eva Hernandez
Home Parish: Sacred Heart, Rancho Cucamonga
Occupation: Claims Quality/Senior Audit Representative
Ministries of Interest: Men’s ministry, lector
What inspired you to become a deacon? The ‘yes’ to the diaconate vocation of love and service, for love of God has called me to be a servant to all, my confidence is in God to fulfill his mission.

Name: Ulises & Marcela Miranda
Home Parish: Holy Innocents, Victorville
Occupation: Sales Manager
Ministries of Interest: Youth ministry, adult ministry, marriage ministry, missionary, Misiones Tijuana volunteer, Eucharistic ministry, Representative of the High Desert Vicariate for the Office of Marriage & Family Life Ministry of the Diocese of San Bernardino
What inspired you to become a deacon? I am inspired by the love I feel at the service of the Lord and my brothers in need, my love for God and my community, seeing the need for committed servants, and listening to God’s call to my heart to serve Him as a consecrated deacon at his service.

Name: Juan & Maria Ramirez
Home Parish: St. George, Ontario
Occupation: Mechanic
Ministries of Interest: RCIA, homeless outreach, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, lector
What inspired you to become a deacon? When cancer invaded our lives and everything was lost. Then God healed my wife and my children recovered their mother and I my wife. This invited me to want to walk under the precept of God, and recognize God’s love. Because you can’t love someone you don’t know just like you can’t serve someone you don’t love.

Name: Francisco & Margarita Sanchez
Home Parish: Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mecca
Occupation: Social worker
Ministries of Interest: Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Catechism, Jóvenes Para Cristo, lector
What inspired you to become a deacon? To serve my neighbor with love and joy and to share the Light of Christ in a world where darkness abounds. Being an active participant in the construction of the Kingdom of God on earth, in a society full of hope, justice, peace and charity.