Two of the Diocese's Clergy recently became Australian Citizens.

Fr Larry Rodillas, who joined the Diocese in December 2010 from Majayjay, Laguna in the Philippines was Incardinated (i.e. belongs permanently to the Diocese) into the Diocese on the 8th of December 2019, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the Feast of St Joseph, 19 March 2021, he became an Australian Citizen in the Northampton Shire Hall. The President of the Shire, Mr Craig Simkin, congratulated Fr Larry and presented him with his Certificate. Fr Larry was joined at the ceremony by the Parish Council Chair, Peter Cripps, Parish Secretary Mary Smith, St Mary's Principal Ben Wills and Parishioner Marlene Bridgeman. Fr Larry commented, "It was a great privilege and wonderful to be an Australian. I am feeling very happy". 

Last Monday Fr Bernard Balaraj, who joined the Diocese in 2015 from Bengaluru in India, and Incardinated into the Diocese on 17 October 2020, became an Australian Citizen on the 12th of April 2021. Last Monday, 17 May, at the City of Greater Geraldton Shire Hall Mayor Shane Van Styne and Ms Lara Dalton, Geraldton MLA, both congratulated Fr Bernard and presented him with his Certificate of Citizenship.

These days it is no small feat to become a citizen, as Fr Bernard's explains "6 year time frame - 3 IELTS (English) Exams to clear, much Australian Culture to learn in order to pass the Australian Citizenship Test, a lifetime Crime Free Police Record and an astronomical amount of paperwork to produce on your entire life".  The process is very time consuming, but in the end is worth it. "It is a privilege to belong to this great country".

Fathers Larry and Bernard now look forward to many faithful years of priestly service Ministering in the Diocese of Geraldton, which they will have more time to concentrate on now that the paper work and reading have diminished somewhat!