Prospective Catholic U.S. Navy Chaplain Ordained Priest in Texas Father Jason Allan crosses finish line in priestly formation

Auxiliary Bishop Neal J. Buckon of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, exchanges the sign of peace with Father Jason Allan at his priestly ordination on May 22, 2021, in Arlington, TX. Photo courtesy of Juan Guajardo | North Texas Catholic.

FORTH WORTH, TX — Father Jason Allan, a prospective Catholic U.S. Navy chaplain, was ordained a priest on Saturday, May 22, 2021, in a solemn Mass at Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church in Arlington, TX. Having completed his priestly formation at Theological College in Washington, DC—the national seminary of The Catholic University of America—Father Allan, 27, is on track to go on active duty with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). Under the terms of the co-sponsorship agreement between the AMS and Father Allan’s home Diocese of Forth Worth, he will be eligible for military service after an initial three year period of pastoral work in Texas.

Bishop Michael F. Olson of Fort Worth ordained Father Allan through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit. AMS Auxiliary Bishop Neal J. Buckon concelebrated the 10:00 a.m. ordination Mass. Among those in attendance were the new priest’s parents, Thomas and Nancy Allan, and his sisters, Ms. Deanna Allan and Mrs. Maria Phetteplace and her husband, Mr. Nathan Phetteplace. Father Allan celebrated his first post-ordination Mass on Saturday at his home parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Keller, TX.

Father Allan is a 2012 graduate of Keller High School in Keller, TX. He graduated in 2016 from Saint Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, LA, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Theological Studies.  Before the ordination Mass, Father Allan commented, “After nine years of seminary, I am very eager to be ordained. I am ready to be put to work serving in the Church as a priest. Most especially, I look forward to celebrating the sacraments with and for the people of God.”

Father Allan is among a bumper harvest of prospective new Catholic military chaplains to be ordained this year. A total of 18 ordinations—eight  diaconal and 10 priestly—are scheduled by early October. The bumper harvest is the fruit of ongoing efforts by the AMS Vocations Office to overcome a desperate Catholic military chaplain shortage as aging chaplains retire faster than they can be replaced. Since 9/11, the active-duty roster has shrunk from more than 400 to fewer than 200. Currently, 25% of the military is Catholic, but Catholic priests make up only seven percent of the chaplain corps. The shortage is especially acute in the Navy, where only 45 priests remain on active duty, serving a globally dispersed Catholic population consisting of Sailors, Marines, members of the United States Coast Guard, and their families.

To fill this shortage, the AMS, in cooperation with local bishops and religious communities, is relying on the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program to support young men called to pursue a priestly vocation, both in their home dioceses or communities and in the military. Over the past decade or so, the number enrolled in the program has risen from seven in 2008 to sustained levels of several dozen in recent years. Currently, 42 co-sponsored seminarians are enrolled in the program in hopes of becoming military chaplains, but many more are needed.

Young men interested in discerning a priestly vocation and the vocation within a vocation to serve those who serve in the U.S. military can find more information at www.milarch.org/vocations, or may contact the AMS Vocations Office at vocations@milarch.org or (202) 719-3600.

Donations in support of AMS vocations are gratefully accepted at www.milarch.org/donate.