ALLOUEZ — The foundation of Daniel Garcia’s faith began as a child in Garcia de La Cadena in the state of Zacatecas in Mexico. His mother, Victoria Nunez, made sure he was active in the church.
“I am the only boy in the family (five sisters) and I know for a fact that my mom prayed to God to have a boy,” he said. “Since an early age, my mom sent me to the catechism (class) and persuaded me to always be involved in the church. I remember that I was happy going to learn about God and I was happy helping in different ways. My mom was a key to teach me how to serve other people. My mom used to send my sister and me to bring food to the poor for a few years.”
Garcia, who will serve as a deacon at St. Philip the Apostle Parish, Green Bay, said that service and ministry opportunities in his youth started the call to the diaconate “without understanding it.” In addition to outreach to the poor, he also participated in music ministry and youth ministry at church.
Garcia immigrated to the United States at age 17. His involvement in ministry continued to grow in his new home community.
“I kept going to youth groups, prayer groups and retreats,” he said.“
I also helped in ministries as a catechist, with music, lector, acolyte. When I lived my retreat in Green Bay Curillos de Christiandad (“short courses of Christianity”), it was a strong call to serve others in a deeper way.”
The call to serve led Garcia to enroll in the diaconate formation program.
“I realized that all the prayers of my grandmother, my mom and the church helped me to accept this call from God,” he said. “With the prayers of all, God will make me a greater server to all.”
Garcia explained that his grandmother was a model of faith because of her “devotion to our Virgin Maria, praying the rosary every day for her family.”
Among his ministries as a deacon, Garcia looks forward to helping families in preparation for marriage and baptism.
“Also, I would like to join any ministry that works toward community unity and community Christian development, creating a culture where we can talk and discuss community issues and solutions,” he said.
Garcia and his wife, Maria, have four children: Amanda Cristal, Victor Damian, Jesse Daniel and Eva Delia. He works as a supervisor in the meat industry. Garcia credits Norbertine Fr. Ken De Groot, former pastor at St. Willebrord Parish, Green Bay, for his “welcoming and service” when he arrived in Green Bay.
He also lists Sr. Melanie Maczka among his supporters for “helping tirelessly with the Spanish community and helping me in different ways in my diaconate formation program.”
Garcia met Fr. William Hoffman, pastor at St. Philip the Apostle, where he will serve, in retreat at Curillos de Christiandad.
“(Fr. Hoffman) is my spiritual director and has been a special model for me,” he said.
Deacon Ernesto Gonzales of St. Therese Parish, Appleton, serves as his deacon mentor.
“We have a close relationship due to that we are involved in the same movement, Curillos de Christiandad, and we share and live retreats helping others.”
Garcia said that he accepts the call to be a deacon as a “call from God.”
“Serving the people means a lot to me,” he said. “First, because I am doing what Jesus states himself, ‘I come to serve not to be served,’ following his example,” he said. “Also, what I have found is that serving others brings me joy. At the same time, it is one of the best ways to show Jesus to others, when you care for them, help them, listen to them and journey with them.”