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Fiesta de Colores

(See the slide show at the top of the SKR main page)

By David Myers
Southwest Kansas Register

ULYSSES -- One would be hard-pressed to find an annual event in the diocese that is as much a feast for the senses as is Fiesta de Colores.
On Sept. 9, the Most Rev. John B. Brungardt and an estimated 500 people packed into the Civic Center in Ulysses for the day-long celebration of music, food, dance, and praise.
Having been celebrated in the diocese for more than 35 years, Fiesta de Colores began as a reunion of sorts for those who first took part in Cursillo, a three-day conversion experience that still takes place throughout the year in the diocese.
But what began for just a small group of people, has, over time, blossomed into a diocesan-wide celebration that has at its heart the rich Catholic culture of Mexico.

Walking into the Civic Center during the fiesta, one was hit both with the sounds of one of several bands, and the scents coming from one of six food booths, each operated by a different parish selling home-cooked Mexican cuisine.
As one band completed its set, a large group of youths – members of ArcoIris youth group from across the diocese -- took to the floor before the stage, dancing in sync.
As children laughed and played in an open area of the civic center, Bishop Brungardt noted how moved he was to see the huge crowd in attendance.
At the rear of the room, behind the dozens of seated participants, many dancers in colorful Aztec dress -- the Matachines – prepared to offer their “prayer of the Aztec” to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Deacon Ruben Sigala introduced Bishop Brungardt, fresh from his trip to Mexico where he was immersed in the Spanish language for nearly a month. The bishop received a standing ovation as he took the stage and gave the longest presentation he had ever given entirely in Spanish.
With the help of several youth, he offered a lesson in keeping our eyes and our ears open to Christ’s invitation to follow him.
As has become the tradition, last year’s king and queen of the fiesta, Jesus Hernandez and Flor Contreras, passed on their crowns and robes to the new royalty, Gerardo Herrera and Valelia Gutierrez. The fact that the royalty are always young children make the event particularly fun to observe.
Prior to the Mass completing the day of celebration, Bishop Brungardt made his way through the rows of participants, greeting everyone with a handshake or blessing, many kissing his ring reverently.  
“I think it is wonderful way of getting together and fellowship,” said Deacon Sigala in an earlier interview about the fiesta.
ON the previous page: Face paitnging and games are part of the Fiesta de Colores. At right, the naming of the King and Queen of the Fiesta is always a highlight: Gerardo Herrera and Valelia Gutierrez. ON this page: Participants take part in Mass celebrated by Bishop Brungardt. Bishop Brungardt greets all the participants before celebrating a concluding Mass. FOR many more color photos, including a brief video, visit
El 9 de septiembre, el reverendísimo Señor Obispo John B. Brungardt y aproximadamente 500 personas llenaron el Centro Cívico en Ulysses para la Fiesta de Colores, un día de celebración de música, comida, danza y alabanza. Habiendo sido celebrada en la diócesis durante más de 35 años, la Fiesta de Colores comenzó como un tipo de rencuentro para aquellos quienes primero participaron en Cursillo, una experiencia de conversión de tres días que todavía ocurre durante el año en la diócesis.
Como ha sido la tradición, el rey y la reina de la fiesta del año pasado, Jesús Hernández y Flor Contreras, pasaron sus coronas y mantos a la nueva realeza, Gerardo Herrera y Valelia Gutierrez. Antes de la misa que completa el día de celebración, el Obispo Brungardt hizo su camino por las filas de participantes, con un saludo de manos ó bendiciendo a cada uno,  muchos que besaban su anillo reverentemente. “Pienso que es una manera maravilloso para juntarnos y compañerismo,” dijo el Diácono Sígala en una entrevista sobre la fiesta.

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