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Diocese bids three priests a fond farewell

The Diocese of Dodge City will soon be bidding a fond farewell to three extern priests, Fathers Dwight Birket, Enrique Estrada, and Cosmas Nwosuh, MSP, who will soon be heading back to their home dioceses or religious province.

Father Dwight Birket

“I came from the Diocese of Wichita on a three-year loan to the Diocese of Dodge City, but since no one volunteered to take my place, I stayed an extra year,” Father Birket said. “I have been here for four years.” While in southwest Kansas, Father Birket served at St. John Parish, Hoisington for four years; and at Holy Family Parish, Odin, for three years. For one year he also served at Holy Name Parish, Bushton, in the Diocese of Wichita.
His last day serving the Diocese of Dodge City will be Sunday, June 19, at which time he’ll head to St. Joseph Parish, McPherson, with St. Bridget of Sweden Parish, Lindsborg, as a mission.
“I enjoyed my time here in the Diocese of Dodge City and told both bishops that I was willing to stay, but four priests in Wichita volunteered to come this year.
“The big challenge for me and the parish community in Hoisington was the building of a new parish center with offices, classrooms, and a hall.  I had never been the part of a building project from start to finish.”
He said that he “enjoyed getting to know the priests of the diocese especially in the area.  I found them to be supportive, dedicated and hard-working.”

Father Cosmas Nwosuh, MSP

Father Nwosuh will be sticking around through the end of September, at which time he’ll return to his former apostolate as a seminary formator and teacher at the National Missionary Seminary of St. Paul, Gwagwalada, Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria.
“I taught there for ten years prior to my coming to Dodge. Now I have to ‘get the heck’ out of Dodge and return to my former assignment,” he said with a chuckle.
He currently serves Holy Rosary Church, Medicine Lodge; St. Boniface Church, Sharon; and St. John the Apostle Church, Kiowa. His assignments have included serving as Parochial Vicar of St. Mary, Garden City, while “helping out at St. Dominic Parish and St. Stanislaus, Ingalls.” He also served briefly at St. Nicholas, Kinsley and St. Joseph, Offerle.  
How does Father Nwosuh feel about leaving southwest Kansas?
“Well, I guess I feel both sadness and joy! Yes, it’s a mixed bag of emotions.  Because I do enjoy the pastoral ministry I am currently engaged in; I love the work am doing; the people with and for whom am working I feel some sadness at leaving.  I would have loved to stay longer.  But duty calls elsewhere and I have to leave.  As the Psalmist might say, ‘It is the lot marked out for me’.  But am also glad to returning to the seminary where I will be dealing with young men old enough to be my children.  I hope their youthful exuberance and curiosity will rub off on me.  I must confess that I do enjoy the academic life and so I’ll make the best of it when I return. I have a basic policy or approach or attitude to my assignments.  It is ‘Bloom where you are planted.’ I will enjoy the seminary as much as I will miss Barber County.   
Editor’s Note: Father Nwosuh’s interview will be run in its entirety closer to the time of his departure.

Father Enrique Estrada

After three years in southwest Kansas, Father Enrique Estrada will return to his home, the Archdiocese of Durango in Durango, Mexico on June 13.
The priest with the thick accent will be missed by the large Anglo and Hispanic communities at St. Anthony Parish in Liberal, where he has served for two years after a year at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City.
“I feel sad to leave because I got along so well with both the Anglo and Hispanic communities,” Father Estrada said. “But I am excited because I will see my family and priest friends in Durango.”
His arrival in Dodge City presented a completely new experience for the priest. He quickly became involved in several programs, including Cursillo and various movements that he said were “wonderful experiences.”
Once he was assigned parochial vicar at St. Anthony, he found a multicultural community – a melting pot of people from “different states in Mexico, people from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.” And it was in this multicultural community that Father Estrada thrived. He said he especially enjoyed presiding over the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and hearing confessions.  
“I would like to thank Bishop [Ronald] Gilmore and Bishop John [Brungardt],” he said. “Thank you to the different groups, the people of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City, and thank you to Father Jim Dieker (St. Anthony pastor) and the deacons of liberal. Thank you to the Hispanic and Anglo communities of Liberal.
“Thank you for the moments of sharing and for the delicious food, too! Thank you to all the deanery priests for their welcome! Thank you for all the love you shared with me.”
Bishop John B. Brungardt paid each a special tribute during the reception following Father Donald Bedore’s ordination May 28.
In a recent interview, the bishop offered his sincere appreciation to the priests: “We thank them for their sacrifice of being far from home and family to make our diocese their new home.  They enrich our parishes with their gifts and cultures.”

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