Rev. Arlon M. Vergara, OSA
Fr. Arlon Vergara was assigned as our Parochial Vicar to our St. Isidore Parish in May 2011. He graciously provided his following Biographical Sketch, which is immediately below. In July 2012 he was assigned as the Parochial Administrator at Holy Family Parish in Portola, Plumas Couont and he also responsibile for Holy Rosary Mission in Loyalton, Sierra County. Upon his leaving Fr. Arlon wrote a letter to our Parish Community which is below his Bio.
To the St. Isidore Parish Community:
Allow me to express my thanks for the overwhelming love and welcome you offered me in this parish of St. Isidore, Yuba City.
Many people have so kindly asked me, "Father, are you settling in?" I feel that it is their gesture of welcome and kindness for me. It is their way of recognizing the privilege of having another priest coming on board to minister to them. My generous reply is always a smile to convey to them that wherever I am assigned I always consider that parish as my family.
I hail from a historic town, now presently called Magallanes, Sorsogon, where the first mass in Luzon in 1569 was held and celebrated by the Augustinian Spanish Friar Alonzo Jimenes, OSA. My father was a public high school principal who passed away six years ago and my mother is a retired elementary school teacher who is still enjoying life at 84 years old. A brother the eldest of eight siblings, five brothers and two sisters, is also an Augustinian priest who is assigned in Manila. My family's religious upbringing is basically through the deep and strong faith of my grandmother who relentlessly shared to us her gifts of intense prayer and biblical story-telling. With my family's religious experience, I have allowed myself to commune with God in prayers and generously responded to God in the ministerial priesthood.
I was ordained a priest for the Order of St. Augustine, Province of Santo Nino de Cebu, Philippines on Dec. 7, 1990. I studied and finished Philosophy, Sacred Theology and MA in Theology at the Ecclesiastical Faculty of the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Being an Augustinian, I have always been reminded by our Father, St. Augustine, to share the faith through community life, preaching and mission. Three years after my ordination, I had the opportunity to work in South Korea from 1993 until December of 2004. It was my prime years as a priest and as a missionary to truly live out the spirit of our Father, St. Augustine. It was in the Diocese of Inchon, South Korea that I was assigned, for the first time, as pastor of St. Therese Parish, with six out-stationed mission chapels, opening the doors of faith to all Koreans. I believe that the Holy Spirit has been the principal agent of my missionary success. I have been open to God, for Him to use me in His mysterious ways.
When my tour of mission in Korea ended, I was recalled back to the Philippines to teach in the seminary for a year while establishing a new Augustinian mission parish in the southern part of Luzon, in Bagacay, Gubat, Sorsogon. Within two years and a half, through the help of God, I was able to pioneer a parish with almost 10,000 parishioners. Most of the parishioners were below the poverty line. As a pastor of that parish, I initiated some simple ways to answer their needs and to uplift their living standards a bit. I introduced a weekly feeding program for undernourished children and livelihood programs for indigent families. I was grateful that I was somehow able to help them through the kindness and generosity of heart of some people whom I had been blessed to meet and know.
In 2007, I asked my Provincial Superior to allow me to go on a foreign mission for the second time, this time here in the United States. I was fortunate that I was able to work in the diocese of Richmond, Virginia through various mission commitments. My first intention in coming over to the USA was to recompense the goodness and the missionary zeal of all American Catholic Missionaries who came to minister to my fellow Filipinos and contributed a great deal to the work of evangelization in the Philippines. I am aware that many of them are still actively doing their ministry in some areas in the Philippines.
I was first assigned in the Church of Transfiguration in Fincastle and then at St. John the Evangelist in Newcastle, Virginia. After two years, I was asked to help the parish of St. Bede in Williamsburg. Then the remaining one year and a half I served St. Matthew Parish in Virginia Beach and then became a pastor in Sacred Heart in Covington until I completed my tour of mission work. I cherished my stay and ministry in those parishes because of the parishioners’ firm faith and their open, welcoming spirit to accept a missionary priest. It was through them that I have known many American Catholics immersed in a multi-faceted culture. It made me realize how indeed in the context of cultural plurality, the gospel of Christ is to be proclaimed and shared. This is the urgent challenge we need to do as baptized Christians, most especially for me as your priest.
Truly, a mission is a journey in which by virtue of our baptism, we are all called to proclaim the Good News in every part of the world. Now, I have found myself in this beautiful parish in Yuba City, California. I have come to serve and to fulfill the solemn mandate of the Lord, "Go, and preach the Gospel." (MK 1:15) I am sent as a missionary: sent to proclaim, sent to heal, sent to teach, sent to sanctify, sent to serve, and sent to bring hope. There is no boundary, there is no limit, and there is no difference in culture or race or color, for we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord.
We must be true and faithful to our Christian vocation. We are all called to build a community of disciples of Jesus Christ in this modern era, living with one heart and mind intent upon God. Let us all together share the love of Christ and be a witness to others that through us they may discover that Jesus is real and is truly risen and alive.
Now, I am presently working for the diocese of Sacramento. The beautiful name “Sacramento” invites us to be a visible “Sign” of the presence of Christ to others especially in our parish where we are all welcome to become sacred or holy.
Thank you for your warm welcome. God bless you all.
Fr. Arlon M. Vergara, OSA
Note: Check out links at bottom of page for more highlights on Fr. Arlon
Fr. Arlon's hometown of Magallanes, Sorsogon, Philippines
Message of Father Arlon, OSA to
St. Isidore Parishioners upon his departure for reassignment:
Dear Brothers and Sisters;
I want to say “Thank You” for knowing and working with me in the parish, for your friendship, and for all you have done for the good of our Christian community and for any acts of kindness you have extended to me. These things will never be forgotten.
Though I have worked with you for only a year, I will surely miss all of you, but I will carry with me your love and affection as I move to my new assignment in Portola and Loyalton, California. During my pastoral work here in St. Isidore, I truly appreciated the cooperation and support of our people; and I fully engaged myself with the weekday and weekend liturgies, attended many meetings, established the “Youth of St. Isidore” and “Filipino Ministry,” and collaborated with the leaders and members of the parish in the execution of many spiritual and pastoral endeavors. I would like to describe my year of stay here as formative and fulfilling and, at the same time, challenging in several ways. Thank you again for being part of my missionary journey and of my life as a priest.
Please keep me in your prayers as I promise to keep you in mine. It will be wonderful if we can stay in touch and be updated about each other. To St. Isidore Parish and School, God bless you, your family and work.
Fr. Arlon M. Vergara, OSA
Filipino Ministry Hosted Meeting of May 21, 2012
Fr. Arlon at National Assembly of Filipino Priests
News Article on St. Francis Day and Blessing of Animals
Welcome Home Video Featuring Fr. Arlon
Misa de Gallo - 2011