Remains of priest considered for sainthood coming to Kansas

Remains of priest considered for sainthood coming to Kansas

Father Emil Joseph Kapaun, a Kansas priest and a military chaplain, who died May 23, 1951, in a North Korean prisoner of war camp, is pictured circa 1943. A candidate for sainthood, he died ministering to prisoners of war during the Korean War. (Credit: CNS photo/U.S. Army courtesy The Catholic Advance.)

The remains of Father Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest who died in a prison camp during the Korean War, will be returned to his native Kansas, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita announced Monday.

WICHITA, Kansas — The remains of Father Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest who died in a prison camp during the Korean War, will be returned to his native Kansas, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita announced Monday.

Kapuan, of Pilsen, is being considered for sainthood by the Catholic church because of his selfless service during the war. His remains were identified in March.

Kapaun was an army chaplain in World War II and the Korean War. He was captured on Nov. 2, 1950, near Unsan, North Korea, while tending to soldiers. He continued to minister to fellow prisoners until he died of pneumonia, the Defense Department has said.

In 1993, Kapaun was named a “Servant of God,” which began the lengthy process of canonization.

The diocese is working with Kapaun’s family, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting agency and the Congregation for Saints in Rome to determine when the remains will be sent to Kansas.

They will be interred in a crypt inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, the diocese said. If he is eventually named a saint, a shrine or chapel would be built to hold Kapaun’s remains and honor him, the diocese said.

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