Kapaun’s Men retreats move outside of diocese — A Kapaun’s Men’s retreat was held Saturday, Oct. 27, in Effingham, Illinois, in a parish served by Father Chuck Edwards, a seminary classmate of Bishop Carl A. Kemme. Father Edwards led the retreat for 70 men and women of the Diocese of Springfield. (Courtesy photo)

A retreat based on the charism of Father Emil Kapaun is in its sixth year in the Diocese of Wichita and is now serving the church outside of the diocese.
The sixth annual Kapaun’s Men Retreat was held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13-14, at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg, Kansas, and focused on the theme of “Rejoice and Be Glad.” The 130 men who attended listened to the witness of their fellow men as well as the eight priests who participated – all while sharing practical ways to grow in holiness as men.
Two weeks later, a group of Kapaun’s Men took the retreat to Effingham, Illinois, to the parish of Fr. Chuck Edwards, a seminary classmate of Bishop Carl A. Kemme. In 2017 Fr. Edwards led a contingent of 70 men and women from the diocese of Springfield to Wichita to learn about stewardship. As a result, seeds were planted for a day of prayer and reflection centered on Fr. Kapaun at Fr. Edwards’ parish.
Joe and Nick Dellasega from Pittsburg, Jason Searl and Scott Carter from Wichita, and national speaker Joe Farris traveled to Effingham to introduce Fr. Kapaun’s life and his mission from heaven of building up faithful and courageous men to walk with one another. Nick Dellasega, who has led the retreat in the Diocese of Wichita for the last three years was excited at the attendance of over 80 men, who clearly lived their faith. “They inspired us, and made the trip to Illinois worth the sacrifice,” he said.
The following weekend, a group of 11 men gathered near Paris, Arkansas, for another Kapaun’s Men flavored retreat. The men met at a ranch near Horseshoe Mountain and Subiaco Abbey, where they were afforded time to dine with the Benedictine Monks, partake in their All-Souls ceremony for the deceased members of the monastery, and participate in a sung Night Prayer.
Jason Searl led the retreat, giving talks about becoming a man of God, and organizing squad discussions about the faith, which is a central element of the Kapaun’s Men model. A proper balance of leisure was the result of the hospitality of Heather and Tim Knittig from Houston, Texas, who offered their ranch for fishing, star gazing, campfires, and hiking during the retreat.
This was the first retreat that most of the men had ever attended. They were introduced to Father Kapaun’s life and witness through Kapaun’s Men’s video series. “What an example of faith for us as men,” said James Lee of Houston, who had not heard of Fr. Kapaun before the retreat. “I can’t wait until next year’s retreat,” said Tim Wells of Houston.
Kapaun’s Men groups in North Carolina have met for day retreats led by their local group, but this was the first time men from the Diocese of Wichita took their model on the road.
“We were eager for the opportunity to ‘Go Forth’ as Pope Francis invites us to do and bring the example of faith and accompaniment that we as Kapaun’s Men try to live out every day,” said Jason Searl. “If we can lift one man up, and bring them closer to Christ, we’ve done what we’ve been called to do.” Kapaun’s Men’s recent travels are setting them up for more good things to come with future retreats outside of the diocese being contemplated.