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Bishop Brungardt brings Kansas greetings to the Philippines

Bishop John B. Brungardt recently returned from a trip to the Philippines where he met with local bishops and clergy, and spent time with local Catholics, including the families of the Filipino priests currently serving in the Diocese of Dodge City.
The trip came on the heels of the bishop’s Ad Limina visit with the Holy Father at the Vatican.
It was a two-part visit; the bishop spent time in the Diocese of Sorsogon and the Diocese of Boac, each of which have long provided priests to the Diocese of Dodge City, which, in turn, supports their vocations programs. When he first arrived in the Philippines, the bishop was greeted by a face familiar to many Catholics in southwest Kansas, Msgr. Angel Dy. The priest, who served in the Diocese of Dodge City for 11 years, served as the bishop’s tour guide and interpreter for the trip, both in the Diocese of Sorsogon and in the Diocese of Boac.
There, he visited the home of Father Joseph Buising, parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as well as the family of Father Jimmy Barrozo, who died two years ago while serving in the Diocese of Dodge City.  
“I visited with Father Jimmy’s mother and brother and expressed my condolences. I thanked them for the gift of Father Jimmy,” the bishop said. He also spent time with Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes and Bishop Emeritus Jesus Varela, who started the vocations agreement with the Diocese of Dodge City many years ago.
The bishop was asked to celebrate Graduation Mass with Bishop Bastes, as six college seminarians finished their studies of philosophy. On his final Sunday in Sorsogon, he celebrated a Mass with Bishop Bastes, in the native language of Bicol, and later a Mass in English.
“Bishop Bastes, the priests, and the faithful were very welcoming and hospitable,” the bishop said. “One highlight was my visit to one of the villages (barangays) where Msgr. Dy and his Social Action Foundation had formed an ecclesial community to provided catechesis and other services.”
Once in the Diocese of Boac, a few familiar faces joined his tour: Fathers Rene Labrador and Peter Fernandez, both from the Philippines and both of whom serve at St. Dominic Parish, Garden City, and St. Stanislaus Parish, Ingalls.
“I arrived by plane, then car to the Cathedral of Boac, just in time for the Mass commemorating the arrival of the Relics of St. Clare,” Bishop Brungardt said. “Later in the week, Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista spent a day with me traveling around his island (Marinduque) diocese, visiting parishes, schools, and many beautiful natural sites.”
Like in the Diocese of Sorsogon, the bishop was able to visit with the families of priests from the Philippines who are serving in southwest Kansas.
“He enjoyed very much visiting our families,” Father Labrador said. “It was a wonderful feeling for us that the bishop was able to visit with them and thank my family for my service in Dodge City. The bishop told my mom I’m doing well here. My mom was so happy hearing that. Although my mom doesn’t understand English, Father Peter interpreted.” The bishop also visited the family of Father Bernard Felix, who serves at St. Joseph Parish, Scott City, and St. Therese Parish, Dighton.
“I was impressed by the deep faithfulness of the people, their love of the bishops, clergy, religious, and families,” the bishop said. “I have a renewed appreciation for the sacrifice and witness of our missionary priests from the Philippines, who have left family and homeland to serve the people of the Diocese of Dodge City. We thank these priests, and we ask God to bless them abundantly.”

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