With Veterans Day fast approaching, this is a good time to recall the heroic actions of Father Emil Kapaun, whose canonization cause was formally opened in July 2008.
A priest of the Diocese of Wichita, Kan., he died May 23, 1951, in a North Korean prisoner of war camp. He was serving as a U.S. Army chaplain when he and his men were overrun during battle. The chaplain had the chance to fall back to safety during the fighting, but instead chose to stay and was captured along with his men. As a result of his heroic example in serving his fellow soldiers in the prison camp, his captors eventually forced him into the camp hospital, known to the prisoners as the “death house.”
This past Wednesday the Father Kapaun Guild in Wichita hosted the first of monthly Masses being celebrated from here on out. On Nov. 11 the guild’s annual wreath-laying ceremony will take place at a statue of the priest in his hometown of Pilsen, Kan., after a morning Mass at St. John Nepomucene Church there.
The guild is also asking supporters of the Kapaun cause to send letters to their U.S. senators and representatives asking them to put forth the late priest’s name for a Congressional Medal of Honor. The guild’s website also links to an area devoted to Father Kapuan on the website of The Wichita Eagle daily newspaper.