Answering the Call: Deacon Robinson Olivares’ Story

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Crux, Deacons, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Priest, Priest Life, Priesthood, Priests, Queens, NY

By Jessica Easthope

Deacon Robinson Olivares has explored all life has to offer: he has gone to school, dated, and had a career.

“I became a technical support engineer and I did that for 20 years,” he said. “I worked in healthcare, providing support, entertainment, business.”

But once Deacon Robinson got to the very core, there was nothing left but faith. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, he was in safe mode. Faith was still a big part of his simple life.

“I grew up very much Catholic, prayed the rosary since little, very family-oriented,” he said. “I loved visiting the countryside where I would spend time with all my grandparents.”

But those joyous moments in an idyllic setting didn’t last: a rude awakening was waiting and that was New York City in the 1980s.

“Every other weekend there was a shootout and candles at the corner for people that were killed,” the deacon said. “I remember, at times, that I had to duck out because there was some shooting going on. I remember being in a Chinese takeout place and there were shots right outside. I was scared for my life.”

As he grew up, his neighborhood changed around him, but the feeling that something was missing never did. It took him a long time to process his call. A few times he found love and thought it would be forever, but says that God was opening a new window.

“I was troubled,” he said. “Then eventually this wonderful girl, she said, ‘you know what, why don’t you follow your heart?’ and I eventually, I had to choose the Lord.

It was his career in IT that proved to him he was good with people and that he wanted to do something hands on. Finally, after going on a retreat with his friend, it all clicked.

“That was the best experience for me ever in my life,” Deacon Robinson said. “Because there I encountered the Lord in a beautiful, powerful way in the Eucharist. I was introduced to Jesus as my best friend and I have since had that relationship with Him.”

Now Deacon Robinson says he can see the clear link between technology and his faith.

“I remember coming up with this prayer, I said ‘Lord, may you set up in me a firewall with the fire of your love so that I may remain close to you and outside influences don’t get at me so that I may not walk a different path,’” he said. “So there’s a connection there.”

The connection might have been slow but now nothing can undo this feeling.

“So now instead of a computer doctor,” he said. “I’ll be a doctor of souls.”