The Father Kapaun Pilgrimage

Walking the Path to Heaven

Each year at the beginning of summer hundreds of pilgrims walk 60 miles in the plains of the heartland of Kansas to the hometown of Servant of God Emil Kapaun. They do it not only to remember the heroic Catholic priest and Army chaplain who is on the path to sainthood but to discover the true meaning of their own unique paths to sainthood.

How many times does not Holy Mother Church tell us that our life on this earth is a journey? This earth is not our lasting home. God created us for a higher, a much more perfect home, our home in heaven with the joy of God.
—  Servant of God Emil Kapaun

Details of the Pilgrimage

The pilgrimage is run by Father Eric Weldon, the Brunke family, and several volunteers. It begins at the Church of the Magdalen in northeast Wichita and ends with the Father Kapaun Day Mass at 11:00 am in Father Kapaun's hometown of Pilsen.

The first day is rigorous, covering around 22 miles, with the following three days covering about 13, 16, and 8 miles a day. The walk includes daily Mass and time for confessions. Every 2-3 miles of the walk we pause for Father Kapaun Stations: reflections on different aspects of Father Kapaun's life. Portions of the walk are dedicated to group rosaries and silence, while the rest is a great time for discussion and meeting new people. Volunteers will transport our luggage and camping gear to each location, and meals will be provided. Camp showers will be available. We will finish the pilgrimage with Mass at St. John Nepomucene, Father Kapaun's home parish, and a bus will be available to transport us back to Wichita.

For safety purposes we must refrain from getting too spread out, keeping support vehicles at the front and back of the group. Be prepared to walk on average 3 mph, occasionally a little faster. Support vehicles will be able to offer you a ride if you need a break from walking.

Pilgrims who are unable to walk all 4 days are welcome to join us on any particular morning. A van will meet at the Church of the Magdalen to pick up new pilgrims each day, or locations will be provided if you would like to meet us before we start. Please sign up through the link (when available) and mark the days you plan to attend.

This pilgrimage is made possible by donations. We ask that pilgrims make a small donation to cover food, gas, and other needs, usually in the amount of $20 a pilgrim.

For more information, please contact Scott at carters@catholicdioceseofwichita.org

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the route?

Start: Church of the Magdalen, 12626 E. 21st St. N, Wichita, KS 67206, on Thursday. Pilgrimage begins with Mass at 6 am.
First Day: 22 Miles to McNeil farm, 2 miles north of Whitewater.
Second Day: 14 Miles to Peabody Park
Third Day: 16 Miles to Kroupa Farm, US-56 and Remington Road
Fourth Day: 8 Miles to Pilsen, Father Kapaun Day Mass at 11:00 am

Map of Pilgrimage

What to Wear? Will I carry my gear?

Bring sunscreen! Wear a good sun hat, light clothing, walking shorts, good walking shoes, good socks. It is NOT recommended to wear heavy hiking boots that are designed for mountains or very rugged terrain.

All gear will be transported by trailer. You can carry a small backpack.

Will I carry my gear? What if I need to rest? Will there be First Aid?

There will be rest stops along the way. If more rest is needed a trail vehicle will be provided.

Yes, a medicine box will be provided. But bring band-aids or other items for treating blisters.

Will I be able to keep up?

For safety purposes we must refrain from getting too spread out, keeping support vehicles at the front and back of the group. Be prepared to walk on average 3 mph, occasionally a little faster. Support vehicles will be able to offer you a ride if you need a break from walking.

Will showers be available?

Yes, at the overnight stops there will be simple camp showers outside for those who want to use them. A swimsuit would be good to bring.

Will there be Mass and confession time available?

We will have Mass on each day of the trip. Priests will be available on the pilgrimage.

Will be meals be provided? Will there be coffee?

Yes, breakfast will be small, lunch and dinner provided.

No, because it is often very hot, we try to stay away from coffee which can speed up dehydration. We realize this is a sacrifice!

How will I get home?

A school bus will be on hand at Pilsen to transport those who wish back to Magdalen.