Celebrating the gift of Guatemalans
Bishop Brungardt honors Guatemalan community with special Mass
By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
While temperatures fought to reach above zero outside, on the inside of the old Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Dodge City more than 200 members of the Guatemalan community were warmed by festive music and the colorful garb of the Guatemalan women, which countered the cold grays of winter.
The annual celebration, held March 2, included a Mass celebrated by the Most Rev. John B. Brungardt, and Father Wesley Schawe, Pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and a dinner reception of Guatemalan cuisine.
The Mass was celebrated in Spanish, except for a few moments when K’iche’ (or Quiché), the primary native language of Guatemala, was spoken.
Part way through the Mass, the bishop and Father Schawe greeted and hugged each person, kissing the young children on the top of the head and offering blessings. The length of the line seemed to belie the smallness of the inside of the church, as one person after another, their children in tow, gratefully embraced Bishop Brungardt and Father Schawe.
A band, including some nine members, performed both rousing and lilting songs throughout the Mass; a woman in a colorful blue dress sang, while two little girls danced and clapped to the music, much to the delight of those in the congregation.
After Mass, the congregation braved the biting winds and blowing snow to walk to the social hall, where several women had prepared and were serving a meal of roast beef, rice and beans and a stack of warm tortillas.
Bishop Brungardt, Father Wesley, and Sister Angela Erevia, MCDP, Director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, sat together, surrounded by several members of the local Guatemalan community, who, like all those gathered, were delighted to offer their hospitality to their special guests.