Rafael Ramos Will Receive His Bachelor’s Degree in Religion Posthumously from Faith Evangelical College and Seminary

Maritza Ramos, centre, widow of officer Rafael Ramos, holds a flag while standing with her two sons, Justin Ramos, left, and Jaden Ramos, following funeral services at Christ Tabernacle Church, in the Glendale section of Queens. (Julio Cortez/Associated Press)
Maritza Ramos, centre, widow of officer Rafael Ramos, holds a flag while standing with her two sons, Justin Ramos, left, and Jaden Ramos, following funeral services at Christ Tabernacle Church, in the Glendale section of Queens. (Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

Rafael Ramos, one of the two police officers who was killed by Ismaayil Brinsley in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, had dreams of graduating from seminary school and becoming a police chaplain.

Posthumously, at least one of those dreams will be coming true.

Representatives of Faith Evangelical College and Seminary announced on Wednesday, December 24 that they will be awarding Ramos with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion.

Ramos was a long-distance student at the college in Tacoma, Washington, and was two courses shy of completing his religion degree when he and fellow NYPD officer Wenjian Liu were fatally shot on December 20. He was expected to graduate with honors.

Reverend Robert Schenck, who is visiting New York on behalf of the school to inform Ramos’ family of the decision, says he hopes the degree will offer Ramos’ family “a sense of completion — of fulfillment.”

“So much has ended prematurely here,” said Schenck, an alumnus of Faith, by phone on Friday. “A life was ended; a marriage was ended; a fatherhood was ended; a career was ended… and of course, he was never able to reach his ultimate professional goal, which was to become a chaplain, and after he retired, to become a full-time pastor.”

A father of two, Ramos was an usher at Glendale’s Christ Tabernacle Church where he had been a member for 14 years. While working on his religion degree, Ramos had also finished a ten-week program that accredited him to be a lay chaplain with the police force. Chaplains offer spiritual and emotional support to members of the police force, especially during traumatic events. According to the Christian Post, Ramos was set to graduate from the ten week program on the very day he died.

College president Michael J. Adams says at first, when he heard the news of Ramos’ death at home, it didn’t sink in that he was learning about the fate of his student: “Initially we had to say, is this our Rafael?”

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SOURCE: Village Voice
Katie Toth

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