The long road to possible sainthood for Kansas war hero Emil Kapaun still stretches out … a little long.
The Vatican in Rome remains intensely interested in the Kansas priest’s story of heroism and faith during the Korean War, said Father John Hotze, who has researched Kapaun’s story for the Wichita Diocese of the Catholic church.
A Vatican committee that studies historical aspects of a candidacy for sainthood recently passed Kapaun’s candidacy along.
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Another committee that studies theological aspects of a sainthood candidacy is studying Kapaun’s case now, he said.
In Wichita, the diocese, with Hotze taking the lead, is still compiling information on “alleged miracles” attributed to the soul of Father Kapaun, with an eye toward contributing more to the considerable amount of information it has already given to the Vatican.
Meanwhile, Hotze said, people still visit Pilsen, Kapaun’s hometown. And Hotze still hears from people from all over the world who are interested in Kapaun’s story. Louka, a town in Kapaun’s ancestral country, the Czech Republic, wants to establish a Kapaun room in a museum there, for example.
Kapaun, a Kansas farm boy born in 1916, became a priest in his hometown of Pilsen, then a chaplain in the U.S. Army. His regiment fought during the first year of the Korean War, and Kapaun earned the Medal of Honor, given to his family in 2013, for life-saving heroism during those battles.
He died of illness and starvation in a North Korean prison camp in 1951.