On October 6, 2023 I was honored to attend the ceremony where our beloved Fr. Martin became a U.S. citizen. It was on his 19-year journey to citizenship that he was guided to a parish in San Jose, CA. where he was introduced to the Franciscans and found his vocation!
The citizenship ceremony was amazing as many came up to the microphone to give their stories. A ten-year-old girl, crying, congratulated her mother and thanked her for her struggles to get here so that the child could go to school. A Palestinian wife of a new U.S. citizen Israeli talked about escaping bad things in her country. All said how great this country is and how grateful they are to be here. Fr. Martin shared with the group that while taking his oath, he was also praying for those who were on their way and for those who died on the journey.
The judge was very warm and welcoming – not a dry eye in the packed courtroom. One of the pics is Fr. M’s first act as a U.S. citizen, registering to vote! The hope is that all of our readers who are eligible to vote are registered and do vote. Also, that they pray for discernment when making their choices.
It had been years since I said the Pledge of Allegiance but on that day the words “…one nation under God” had new meaning for me as I, too, fought back the tears. Congrats, Fr. Martin; our country is fortunate to have you. Peace and good to all the new citizens and their families!!