The sainthood cause of Father Emil Kapaun continues

Father Emil Kapaun, U.S. Army chaplain

Advocates for the sainthood cause of Father Emil Kapaun are continuing their work on behalf of the Kansas native who died as a prisoner of war in North Korea in 1951.

The Father Kapaun Guild has developed an extensive Web site that tells the story of the heroic U.S. Army chaplain, who ministered to sick and wounded soldiers for seven months before his death despite his own painful injuries. Fellow prisoners of war said he led them in prayer daily, lifting their spirits in very difficult and trying conditions.

Army records show he died at age 35 of pneumonia. Fellow prisoners maintain he died from malnutrition and starvation in an army hospital.

His body never was returned and it is believed he is buried in a common unmarked grave near the prison hospital in Pyoktong, North Korea.

Father Kapaun’s story was told recently in a series in The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle. Videographer Travis Heying of the Eagle staff has produced a documentary, “The Miracle of Father Kapaun,” on the priest’s life as well.

The Wichita Diocese will host showings of the documentary Feb. 1 and 2. It also is scheduled to be shown on public television in Wichita in January.

The diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Advance, has reported on the native son priest numerous times over the years.

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