• Last modified 354 days ago (June 1, 2023)


Kapaun pilgrimage reunites family

Staff writer

The 60-mile Father Emil Kapaun pilgrimage Thursday through Sunday will culminate in a homecoming for children of the late Raymond and Denise Bina.

They were raised in the Lincolnville and Marion area, but none of the eight siblings live there now. Five are planning to participate in the pilgrimage.

“Our parents’ memory and their faith inspire our family to make the pilgrimage,” daughter Nichole “Nicki” Bina said.

The walk will begin at the Church of the Resurrection in Bel Aire and end with a Father Kapaun Day Mass at 11 a.m. Sunday in Pilsen.

Pilgrims will walk 22 miles the first day and camp at Whitewater.

A 13-mile walk the next day will bring them to Peabody.

They will walk 16 miles the next day to Marion and eight miles Sunday morning to Pilsen.

Support vehicles will accompany them, and they will camp in tents at night.

Nicki will be walking the entire route for the first time this year. Sister Danae and her husband, sister Amanda, sister Ramie’s family, and brother Chuck’s family will walk segments of the route.

Danae chose Father Kapaun as her “saint of the year” and has been studying his life. Making the pilgrimage is part of that learning experience, she said. She and her husband are traveling from Arkansas to take part in the event.

“Pilsen is definitely home for us,” Nicki said. “All of our aunts and uncles and extended family usually are in church on Sunday, so when we arrive, it’s definitely like a family reunion.”

During the first few Kapaun pilgrimages, their mother helped organize meals. When joining the pilgrimage, she often walked from Marion to Pilsen.

Nicki said Denise decided to walk the whole route in 2019, even though Denise had a knee problem that caused pain.

Nicki walked with her for part of the route in 2021 after moving back to Kansas from New York City.

In July of that summer, Raymond and Denise were killed in a car accident. Coming back to Pilsen is like therapy for their children.

“Being together at Pilsen brings joy and peace,” Nicki said. “Even though we feel sad at losing our parents, it feels extra joyful to be with family and friends.”

Dale and Andrea Klenda of rural Pilsen and their five children joined the pilgrimage at Peabody last year.

“There were so many people from so many walks of life,” Dale said. “It was interesting to hear stories of how Father Kapaun affected their lives.”

He said sleeping in tents wasn’t a big deal because they sometimes had their own campouts.

“There were a lot people, and everybody got along,” he said. “Our kids had fun.”

Even though their children were eager to do it again, they passed on joining the pilgrimage this year.

Last modified June 1, 2023