On Thursday, June 1, Ellinwood resident Curtis Wolf will set out on a walk that will take him 60 miles from Wichita to the tiny Marion County community of Pilsen. But, this is more than merely a hike.
Wolf, who is active in Catholic churches in Ellinwood and Great Bend, is participating in the annual Father Kapaun Pilgrimage. This marks the 15th pilgrimage and there are over 400 people registered.
Each year at the beginning of summer, pilgrims walk the plains of the heartland of Kansas to the hometown of 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.
“I am looking forward to the experience,” Wolf said, as he readied his gear for the trip. They will walk between 22 and eight miles each day, camping in welcoming farmsteads along the route.
Vans will transport most of the pilgrims’s supplies. But, each will carry a day pack with what they will need while walking.
“Father Kapaun was the patron of my first ACTS retreat, and I feel a strong connection with him,” Wolf said. These are three-day retreats where Catholics gather to deepen their faith.
Chaplain (Capt.) Emil J. Kapaun was a Roman Catholic priest and United States Army captain who served during World War II and the Korean War. While serving in Korea, he was captured and, before dying in a prisoner of war camp, he continued to serve his fellow prisoners.
In 1993, Pope John Paul II declared him a Servant of God, the first stage on the path to canonization to become a saint.
In 2013, Kapaun posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Korea. He is the ninth American military chaplain Medal of Honor recipient.
“I would welcome prayers from the ACTS community, but I also would like to put together a list of prayer requests that I can take with me on the pilgrimage from anyone that would like to share,” Wolf said.
People are welcome to send him any special prayer requests to email@example.com or by texting to 785-623-3189.