The Navarros are natives of Guanajuato, Mexico. They have known each other since they were teenagers. They first arrived in the United States in 1992, after finding work in Idaho. For the past 14 years, they have called Green Bay home.
Both credit their parents and relatives as laying the foundation for their Catholic faith. In particular, Guillermina cites her grandfather as a source of inspiration during her childhood. She remembers well the strong example he modeled as a sacristan in their local parish.
Mariano explained that he has always gone to Mass. However, over the last few years a spiritual awakening has taken place within him. His regular reading and study of the Scriptures and teachings of the church have inspired him and his wife to take action and serve in their parish.
So much so that in May of last year, the couple completed the diocese’s lay ministry course called Discipulos de Cristo. The three-year program, which meets each Sunday at the Chancery, takes an in-depth study of the Bible, the liturgy and church morality among other things. The Navarros were part of the second graduating class of this fairly new ministry curriculum.
“We learned a lot,” they said.
At St. Phillip, the two serve as lectors, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion and are part of the Hispanic leadership team. Sr. Pat Vanden Bergh, who heads up Hispanic ministry at St. Philip, has nothing but good things to say about the couple.
Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Mariano and Guillermina Navarro
Parish: St. Philip the Apostle, Green Bay
Age: Mariano: 50; Guillermina: 50
Favorite saint: Our Lady of Guadalupe
Words to live by: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God.” — St. Augustine
“They are always available with a helping hand,” she explained. “No matter if it is a special project within the parish or a special liturgy I know that Mariano and Guillermina will be there.”
When they are not helping out at the parish, the two are probably with family.
“Family is very important to us,” noted Mariano. “We spend a lot of time with our kids and our three grandkids. We do everything together — from going to the store to gathering with friends or family.”
Guillermina is very grateful to have both her parents now living in Green Bay and also to have them as part of the parish community. They stay nearby with one of her sisters. Guillermina is particularly thankful to have her mom in town as her mom became blind due to complications related to diabetes.
Both love to read the Bible together and credit regular Scripture study as a foundation of their marriage. Guillermina adds that keeping the lines of communication open has been a key to staying close together as a couple over the years.
As for the future, Mariano is discerning a possible call to the diaconate. In the meantime, these days he is doing as much as he can to know the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other documents of the Catholic Church.
“My dream is to study theology one day,” said Mariano. “I want to go deeper and to help others. Until then we will keep moving forward with our faith confident that we are in the hands of God.”