During Wednesday’s funeral Mass for Father Emil Kapaun, the Bishop of Wichita called the U.S. Army chaplain who died in a North Korean prisoner of war camp a “humble, and saintly priest.”
“We come to pray for Father’s repose, to pay our respects to this fallen soldier, this Medal of Honor recipient, to this humble, and saintly priest. I consider it a singular, but undeserved honor, as the present Bishop of Wichita, to lead us in the Mass of Christian Burial,” Bishop Carl Kemme said Sept. 29 during his homily at a Mass said at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kan., a Wichita suburb.
Fr. Kapaun was a priest of the Diocese of Wichita who served as a military chaplain during both the Second World War and the Korean War. After he was taken prisoner, he served and ministered to other soldiers in a prison camp, where he died May 23, 1951.
His body was identified in March among nearly 900 “unknowns” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. His remains were returned to Kansas this week, and they will be interred at Wichita’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
He was named a Servant of God in 1993, and his cause for canonization was opened in 2008.
Bishop Kemme thanked God for allowing Fr. Kapaun’s “earthly temple, his body, to be discovered, and now be back with us in the land of his birth, in the land of Kansas.”
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