Casto Navarro Martínez

Navarro Casto

Born June 1, 1905 in Guadalaviar (Teruel)

Professed June 11, 1926

Ordained a priest June 8, 1928

Shot August 7, 1936 in San Saturnino de Osormort (Barcelona)


Father Navarro was born on June 1, 1905 in Guadalaviar (Teruel), of the Diocese of Albarracín. He was baptized five day later in the town parish. He received his Confirmation on June 10, 1914 by the Bishop of Teruel. His parents were Juan Navarro, a mill worker and Mrs. Angela Martínez, a homemaker. They had 9 children, six boys and three girls. Casto was the third of the sons. He entered the Diocesan Seminary of Teruel in September 1918, when he was thirteen years old. Here he completed his ecclesiastical studies obtaining average grades.

On May 29, 1926, he received Tonsure, the next day two Minor Orders. Two days later he would received the third and fourth Minor Orders. He would be ordained to the Subdiaconate on June 11, 1927, and the Diaconate on December 17th, of that year. His priestly ordination would take place on Pentecost Sunday, June 10, 1928.

His pastoral ministry was the developed in several towns. He was first appointed Coadjutor of Terriente on July 5, 1928. A few months later, on March 12, 1929, he was made Economo at Aguaton. Two years later, he was sent to Vallecillo as Regent and the following year, 1932, as a Greek professor.

According to the Diocesan reports, in all charges that he perform, he was concerned for the salvation of souls, always working with apostolic service and to the satisfaction of his Superiors.

He entered in the Congregation on Easter Week 1935, in Vic, after a wait and maturation lasted three years, with the opposition from his parents. During this time he was responsible to his Bishop, an Augustinian monk and martyr, Blessed Anselmo Polanco. On June 10, 1935, he began his Novitiate under the direction of Fr Arner, his companion who would also be martyred. On June 11, 1936, he would make his First Profession as a missionary.

His first assignment in the Congregation was to be Coadjutor of the Master of Novices, for which continued in Vic, while he was waiting for an assignment outside of Catalonia. He didn’t speak Catalan and had a great desire to exercise the ministry.


Dispersion of the community and martyrdom

On July 20, along with Father Arner, the Novices and Postulants, they were forced to leave the Novitiate house and take refuge in the forests outside of town without provisions.

On the 27th, at the request of Father Arner, he went to Vic to meet with Father Superior and receive permission to move to France. He went out early in the morning passing through Saladeures, where the settler gave him food to eat, and instructed him with directions. They told him that he had to greet anyone on the road with Salud! Raising his fist. He put on a color shirt and replacing his black shoes and a cap like them.

Then wanting to get into the city, he was arrested by a Marxist who was at the entrance of the bridge on the Calldetenas road, but he didn’t have a pass. He was undocumented and when asked for his identity, he first said that it was laborer. Then he said he was a teacher and finally he was a missionary from the Convent of La Merced. He was placed in handcuffed and taken to the Revolutionary Committee. He was subjected to a thorough search and a thorough interrogation between insults and humiliation. Among other things, they asked for the whereabouts of the remains of St Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Congregation. He was also asked if he had hidden weapons to which he replied showing his rosary and scapular:

I don’t have more weapons than these.

The militiants became enraged, seized and destroyed the rosary in his presence.

In the old barracks, he was placed with Father Arner and together they were taken to the prison hours later.

Father Navarro was placed in the cell to the right of Mr. Rial. Then they made another transfers and he was moved near Father Arner. The companions who were also prisoners described that the priests remained devoted and prepared for what may happen. Trusting in Divine Providence, they retained their serenity. Father Navarro was optimistic and with the persuasion that nothing bad would happen because as he said:

The Reds don’t seek anything but pesetas, and as we don’t any, they will reléase us.

He later was convinced that he was going to die. To prepare for the outcome, he share stories and reflected with the others, then confessing to Father Arner.

On the evening of August 7th, he was taken with Father Arner and shot on the road to San Hilario in the Municipality of San Saturnino de Osormort (Barcelona).