• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

Monday, 29 March 2021 18:07

Fr Elmer becomes true blue Aussie citizen


Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD citizenship ceremonyFr Elmer Ibarra SVD celebrated Harmony Day in style this year by taking his Pledge of Allegiance and becoming an Australian citizen.

Fr Elmer, who was born and raised in the Philippines, took his Aussie pledge in Alice Springs this month, a 90km drive from his current home in the Aboriginal community of Santa Teresa, Central Australia, where he is Parish Priest.

He says he was prompted to become an Australian citizen by a desire to take part in the civic life of the country he is now living in and where he looks set to be resident for some time.

“Being a part of the SVD Australian Province, I’m planning on staying here in Australia for longer, if not for good,” he says.

“So, it makes sense to become a citizen.

“To take part in Australian life and have the right to vote is important. Nothing beats being a full citizen in a particular country so you can involve yourself in society matters.”

On a practical level, Fr Elmer says that now he is based in Australia, becoming a citizen makes it easier to travel to other countries as needed, without requiring a visa.

Fr Elmer arrived in Australia on December 29, 2007 to join the SVD AUS Province. His first assignment was to a parish in New Zealand and he returned to Australia in September 2014.

Fr Elmer says the citizenship ceremony was officiated by the Mayor of Alice Springs, Damien Ryan, who is also a parishioner at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish in the city.

“It was a nice occasion,” he says. “It was held on Harmony Day and there were 36 of us who became citizens that day, from the Philippines, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the United States, Canada and France.

“It really represented multicultural Australia. And Alice Springs is a very multicultural place. People move there for work and then find they enjoy it and decide to stay.”

Apart from his Citizenship Certificate, Fr Elmer was presented with a special coin struck by the Perth Mint, bearing the words ‘Australian Citizenship’ and the Australian Coat of Arms. He also received a copy of the text of the Pledge of Allegiance, which he plans on framing.

Those taking their Citizenship pledge were invited to wear their national costume and Fr Elmer obliged by dressing in a blue Barong, part of the national dress of the Philippines.

He was accompanied to his ceremony by Fr Bang Nguyen SVD and Fr Prakash Menezes SVD, both based in Alice Springs.

Following his time spent in New Zealand when he joined the AUS Province, the sports-mad Fr Elmer jokes that the only challenge he might face is switching his Rugby allegiance from the all-conquering All Blacks to the Wallabies.

“That could be a challenge,” he laughs. “No, no. I’m a Wallabies fan now.”

PHOTO: Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD (centre) is pictured with his Citizenship Certificate along with (from left to right), the Alice Springs Town Crier Meredith Campbell, Fr Bang Nguyen SVD, Fr Prakash Menezes SVD and the Mayor of Alice Springs Damien Ryan.