Apr 12, 2021 2:00 PM

Remains of Kan. priest who died in Korean War coming home

Posted Apr 12, 2021 2:00 PM
Father Kapaun photo courtesy office of Senator Moran
Father Kapaun photo courtesy office of Senator Moran

WICHITA —The remains of Father Emil Kapaun are set for return to Kansas, according to Ray Kapaun, nephew of Father Emil Kapaun, and the Kapaun family who contacted the Catholic Diocese of Wichita Sunday.

On March 4, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency reported the remains of Father Emil Kapaun were positively identified. 

Kapaun, the Marion County-native, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, served as an Army Chaplain during WWII and the Korean War, and was taken as a Prisoner of War in 1951. He continued to minister to Americans as a POW before passing away on May 23, 1951.

After engaging in discussions with the diocese, the Kapaun family decided that interring the remains of Fr. Kapaun in a crypt inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita would not only provide a safe and secure location for them, but would also allow opportunities for Catholics and many others inspired by Fr. Kapaun’s life to be able to visit and venerate this priest, whose cause for sainthood progresses, according to the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.

"In 1993, Fr. Emil Kapaun was named a “Servant of God”, which signified that his cause for canonization could begin. Fr. Kapaun’s placement in the Cathedral will be a temporary location in the event that the Church recognize him as a saint in the future, in which case a dedicated shrine or chapel might be erected to hold his remains and commemorate his life.

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita is currently working with the family, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting agency (DPAA), and the Congregation for Saints in Rome to decide on a time frame for Fr. Kapaun’s return.