Sixth pilgrimage to Pilsen honors Father Emil Kapaun

Staff writer

About 140 people from the Catholic Diocese of Wichita embarked Friday on the sixth annual Father Kapaun Pilgrimage, walking from Wichita to Pilsen, birthplace and home of Kapaun.

The participants took part in the pilgrimage to raise awareness for the beatification of Father Emil Kapaun by the Catholic Church. It took the walkers three days, two nights, and 60 miles of walking to reach their destination. The trip included daily Mass and confession.

The pilgrimage is symbolic of the forced 14-day, 20-mile-a-day march that Kapaun and fellow soldiers took to reach a prisoner of war camp. Many of the soldiers realized they were marching to their deaths.

The pilgrimage group left the Church of the Magdalene in north Wichita after a 6 a.m. Mass and walked to Whitewater where they camped at a farm two miles north of that community.

On Saturday, they passed through Peabody about noon and went on to Aulne where they camped overnight at the Aulne Methodist Church.

They arrived in Pilsen at mid-day Sunday. An Adoration was held at St. John Nepomucene Church to welcome the pilgrimage walkers.

Ray Kapaun of Seattle, son of Emil Kapaun’s brother Gene, spoke to the group during the service.

The group returned to Wichita by vehicle after the ceremony.

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