Washington D.C., Jun 8, 2021 / 11:01 am
The Diocese of Wichita concluded its Father Emil Kapaun pilgrimage on Sunday, after four days of walking, companionship and prayer.
Each year hundreds of pilgrims walk 60 miles to remember the heroic Army chaplain who is on the path to sainthood.
The march, which is all on foot, begins in northeast Wichita at the Church of the Magdalen, and ends at St. John Nepomucene church in Marion, Kansas - Father Kapaun's home parish. The pilgrimage concludes with the Father Kapaun Day Mass.
“The walk is demanding,” Sharon Norden, a veteran pilgrim for Father Emil Kapaun, told CNA. “Every year 95% of travel is on gravel roads. It is in the heat, with nature and all the elements that come with it.”
The annual pilgrimage is now in its 13th year. The 2021 walk was unique because the Wichita diocese is preparing to welcome the bodily remains of Fr. Kapaun.
The priest had served as a chaplain during the Second World War; he became known for his service in the Korean War with the U.S. Army's Eighth Cavalry regiment. After he was taken prisoner, Fr. Kapaun served and ministered to other soldiers in a prison camp, where he died on May 23, 1951.
His remains were discovered in Hawaii in March, and will be placed in a crypt at the cathedral in Wichita. His cause for canonization is open.
Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita welcomed the discovery of Fr. Kapaun’s remains in March.