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Pilsen gets ready for Kapaun homecoming

Staff writer

Preparations for the homecoming of its native son have the normally sleepy village of Pilsen bustling.

Residents of the small town have pulled together as they get ready to welcome Father Emil Kapaun home.

“I’ll tell you what, it’s been a beehive,” longtime Kapaun museum volunteer Harriet Bina said.

A lot of work still needs to be done for Pilsen to put its best foot forward, but volunteers are rolling up their sleeves.

Centre High School principal Trevor Siebert and his wife, Michele, have given the archways and rectory at St. John Nepomucene a fresh coat of paint.

The couple plan to tackle wrought iron at the church if they don’t run out of time.

Pilsen residents Terry and Kathy Silhan have power-washed and scraped a monument to Father Kapaun in the church cemetery to rid it of black moss.

“Let me tell you, they worked long and in hot hours to do it,” Bina said.

A nearby former gas station that has long been an eyesore has been cleared of trash and painted. Fields that will provide the only parking for visitors have been mowed free of weeds.

The Kapaun museum has recived a long overdue renovation. A kitchen is being torn out to give more space for exhibits.

“People are bringing things to us, like a flag that was carried at a Kapaun base in Germany,” Bina said. “Now we have the space for them.”

The museum has seen a steady stream of tours as interest in Kapaun’s life has boomed, but Bina also has been in demand on the road as a guest speaker.

The weekend of Sept. 25 will be busy one for Bina and the museum’s tour guides.

“Let’s just say we’re going to be practically living in Pilsen,” Bina said.

Kapaun’s nephew, Ray, and other members of his family and the Diocese of Wichita will land Sept. 25 at Eisenhower Airport in Wichita.

From there, Kapaun’s casket will be placed in a hearse.

Harriet Bina’s son, Mike Bina, funeral director with Downing and Lahey, will drive the hearse to Pilsen and his home church.

Sunday morning Mass and nightly adoration will be reserved for parishioners, but the church will welcome daytime visitors who wish to pay their respects.

“Were not going to turn anyone away” Bina said. “People are concerned that there will be a crowd there, but I really want the local people to turn out to show our love for Father Kapaun.”

Last modified Sept. 15, 2021

 

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