He’s a man who loves his church and made it his life’s calling since he grew up in the City of Chicago. His parents were touched by the WWII, as his father would seek and obtain early graduation in 1944 from school so he could sign up with the Marines, which he would serve in for the next two years.
His dad was part of the group being trained for the invasion of Japan, but that wasn’t necessary after the two Atomic Bombs were dropped on Japan and the war ended. His mother was an active volunteer and worker at the USO in Chicago.
His parents would eventually meet at a church fair on the west side of Chicago in the Fall of 1950, marrying soon after, and in 1951 along came Timothy Navin; or as many of us know him today as Father Tim of the San Marco Catholic Church. His mom had been German Catholic and his dad Irish Catholic.
Father Tim was the first child of two, and they were miracles in their own right as his mother had suffered from rheumatic fever as a child. Although the doctors warned against carrying the pregnancies to full-term, she would not entertain the idea of terminating either of the those. Both children were born without complications, and his mother would live another ten years, until January 1964 when she would pass due to heart problems.
After his mom passed, Tim and his sister would live with an aunt and uncle, while his dad lived with his parents and worked as a Brinks guard.
Navin would go to Bishop Gordon Catholic High School in Chicago and eventually go on to St. Procopius College which was run by Benedictine monks on the West Side of Chicago in Lisle, Illinois. Today it is known as Benedictine University. After his third year of college he would become a Benedictine monk, after which he would begin teaching physics for a couple of years on the high school level.
He would eventually be chosen by the Bishop to do some “troubleshooting” in some of the areas in the Western Chicago suburbs. During this time, he would obtain a master’s degree in theology from DePaul University.
He enjoyed his time as a teacher, but in 1978 was ordained as a “Transitional Deacon,” which is considered the next step towards priesthood. Permanent Deacons are those who work within the church in administrative duties and do not wish to become priests. Father Tim complimented those within the San Marco Church who served in that capacity and were responsible for how smooth the church operates.
A year after becoming a Transitional Deacon, Tim Navin would be ordained as a Catholic Priest on July 14, 1979. Although Navin enjoyed teaching it was his desire to go out to an actual parish and did so around the Joliet, Illinois area. There he would enjoy doing Masses and taking on the role assisting other parish priests as necessary.
He would get his big break in 1989 when he was recommended to Bishop Nevins who was overseeing the new Diocese in Venice, Florida. He would serve in several parishes in the Venice area to assist other priests while carrying out other duties for the Diocese in Venice. Navin had nothing but fond memories of his time in that area and the duties he carried out for Bishop Nevins. He would accompany the Bishop for many of his responsibilities regarding confirmations and other duties throughout the over 50 parishes in the Diocese, much of it carried out in the evenings. Today that number has grown to approximately 65 parishes.
In March of 1996 Navin was sent to St. Peters on Rattlesnake Hammock Road in Naples. He was initially made the administrator or St. Peters and eventually pastor. He would spend 8 years there and would comment on what a wonderful experience it was.
However, May 2004 the Bishop would once again ask Navin to move, this time to the San Marco Church on Marco Island. Father McCarthy was aging and approaching retirement. Bishop Nevins shared great confidence in the young man who had come to him in 1989, so the move to the Marco Parish was a natural one, and he has been there for the last 15 years.
Father Tim would reminisce as to how many Marco residents he would meet at Sunday night Masses at St. Peters in East Naples, so his transition down U.S. 41 to the ride south on 951 was not as difficult as some may have thought.
“The strength of this church and its successes lies with its people. I am so proud of how they work together as we’ve opened up the involvement of our parishioners in the various aspects of our worship and the operation of the church. We are successful because we are a family in Jesus’ house as we spread the word of God,” said Navin.
Navin is also proud of the fact that San Marco Church boasts the largest youth ministry on the island and is delighted with the excellent work done by the Knights of Columbus and the other aspects of the church such as the choir, the Columbiettes and the outreach done by the other various groups within the parish.
As he reflects on the 40 plus years since his ordination and the progress he’s seen within the Catholic Church and the wonderful people he’s had the honor to meet and call friends.
He sees great days ahead for himself and the San Marco Parish and is humbled by the trust bestowed on him by all he has worked for.
Navin loves his interaction with his parishioners, playing a round of golf or two and just taking a short ride on his motorcycle, a passion we have both shared over the years I’ve known him.
“I’ve been truly blessed in the years on this earth to have been given the opportunity to serve the communities I’ve lived in and the church which has given me so many opportunities to do good in this world. I’m not sure any man could ask for more,” said Navin as we pushed away from our breakfast at one of his favorite spots and I drove him back to his parish.