FORTH WORTH, TX — The Rev. Mr. Jason Allan was among a half-dozen candidates for the Catholic priesthood ordained transitional deacons on Thursday, March 19, in a solemn Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral in Fort Worth. A seminarian at the Theological College, the national seminary of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, Deacon Allan is on track to become a U.S. Navy chaplain with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). The new deacon, 26, hopes to be ordained a priest on May 15, 2021, and go on active duty after three years of pastoral service in his home Diocese of Fort Worth.
Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth ordained the Rev. Mr. Allan through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit. Deacon Allan’s parents, Thomas and Nancy Allan, were among those in the congregation at the 6:00 p.m. ordination Mass.
Deacon Allan is a 2012 graduate of Keller High School in Keller, TX. He graduated in 2016 from St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, LA, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Theological Studies. Commenting on his ordination, the new deacon said that “after eight years in seminary formation, I am eager to enter the clerical state and make the promises of celibacy, obedience, and simplicity of life. I look forward to serving Christ and his Church in this new ministry.”
The Rev. Mr. Allan is among the first products of this year’s bumper harvest of prospective new Catholic military chaplains. A total of 17 ordinations—nine diaconal and eight 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 approximately 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 48 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 48 this year. At least three more are expected to enter in the fall, and the AMS is processing the applications of still others.
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 Father Aidan Logan, O.C.S.O., AMS Vocations Director, by email at email@example.com.
Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Fort Worth.