I was born in San Diego, California at Mercy Hospital Hillcrest on Saturday, May 2nd, forgot the year! And grew up in the Logan Heights neighborhood, as it was named at that early time and renamed today as Barrio Logan. My parish where I was baptized and received all the sacraments of initiation is Our Lady of Guadalupe on Kearney Avenue with the Jesuit priests.
My parents and heritage: my father and the Navarra family were immigrants from Sicily, therefore, as a child one of my first languages was the Sicilian dialect. My father worked with the tuna industry for most of his life. My mother was a native of Sonora, Mexico therefore, my second language at home was Spanish and my third language, which I learned in elementary school, was English. To this very day I cannot speak either one of them well!
My education was both Catholic school and public graduating from San Diego High School in 1972. I first went to San Diego City College, then I entered the Seminary at St. Francis Center and studied at the University of San Diego and from there went to further study in the major seminary at a Benedictine School, Saint Meinrad in Indiana focusing on the study of liturgy and spirituality along with scripture and theology. I was ordained in San Diego on June 26, 1981. In the history of my assignments for the past 38 years I began as an associate pastor at St. Charles – Imperial Beach, St. Rose of Lima – Chula Vista, and Holy Trinity – El Cajon, My first assignment as Pastor was Our Lady of Guadalupe in El Centro – Imperial Valley. My second assignment was to St. Mary’s in the city of Escondido where I also served as a hospital chaplain at Palomar Hospital and Police Chaplain for the Escondido Police Department. My third assignment as pastor was Our Lady of Guadalupe – Otay and then St. John of the Cross – Lemon Grove. Now I am coming to you at St. Joseph Cathedral which more than likely will be my last assignment before retiring or death, which ever event comes first.