Posted by: resparish | February 25, 2009

Deacon Allen Navarro….

[The following article on Resurrection seminarian, Allen Navarro, is reprinted from the January, 2009, edition of The Serran Dove, the newsletter of the Serra Club of San Jose.]

It has been quite a journey for newly ordained Deacon Allen Navarro. Born in the Philippines in 1974, Allen was brought up in a traditional Catholic home. He attended Catholic schools and enjoyed spending time in church as an altar server for four years. In high school the priests and seminarians presented vocation programs to the students. Allen was inspired by them but at the time had no inclinations that his destiny would be the priesthood. His dream was to become a career soldier and pilot. The priests continued to influence him through example and in 1990, at age sixteen, Allen entered the seminary and joined the Somascan Fathers in the Philippines.

The Somascan Order is an Italian order….founded by St. Jerome Emilliani. Allen received Simple Vows in 1996. They are the vows of Chastity, Obedience and Poverty, which are to be renewed every three years. Allen graduated in 1998 earning a degree in philosophy. He was assigned to and worked at an orphanage from 1998 to 2000. It was a very difficult life for him. After 5 years in Simple Vows, it is expected that one should be prepared to take Perpetual Vows. In 2000 word came to him tht it was time for him to go to the Major House and study theology. At this time Allen had been discerning for ten years, but he was still unprepared to make a permanent commitment to the Order. He applied for and was granted a temporary leave. He felt the need to pause and be honest with himself and find some mental and physical rest. He was not ready to give up on his dreams of career and family. Allen spent a lot of time in prayer and actively seeking an answer . He looked at joining the military but still felt the strong pull of the religious life.

One month later, Allen called his mother to let her know that he was okay. She told him that she had received a call from Fr. Dan Urcia, the current pastor of St. Elizabeth in Milpitas, who had originally introduced him to the Somascan Order. Fr. dan had left the Philippines and become a diocesan priest in America. He invited Alen to San Jose to meet Fr. Mark Catalana, the current Vocation Director. Fr. Mark tried to talk Allen into changing his plans and attending seminary in California. Allen was actually just trying to humor Fr. Mark and decided that if his visa came through he would enroll. He put in God’s hands whatever was to happen. In May of 2001 he had an embassy interview and he was on his way. By summer he was at St. Joseph’s in Mountain View. He took English classes at Mission College and was able to understand better than converse and had some difficulty adjusting to the new culture.

In August of 2001, at 27 years old, Allen entered St. Patrick’s Seminary. Unlike the Philippines where most information was memorized,….he began conversing about and completing assignments that required more introspection. He took on an assignment in the library at St. Patrick’s and played basketball in his off hours.

Once again Allen’s vocation journey took another twist. He was hit with a recurring medical problem that caused a severely painful spinal cord inflammation.

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