Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun and the Congressional Medal of Honor

Fr. Emil Kapaun will posthumously receive the Congressional Medal of Honor today.

He received the Bronze Star in life and, after death, the Distinguished Service Cross.

As a POW in a Chinese camp during the horrible winter of 1951 he was… amazing.

His mortal remains are probably in an unmarked grave by the POW camp near Pyoktong, North Korea.

His cause for beatification is also open.

 

Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun and the Congressional Medal of Honor
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32 Responses to Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun and the Congressional Medal of Honor

  1. acardnal says:

    For those who may not know, the Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest medal for heroism in combat for U.S. Army members after the Medal of Honor.

  2. sekman says:

    Fr. Kapaun was an incredible priest from all I have read of him. A third book has just been released about him by Ignatius Press, I cannot wait to read it. All those in the Diocese of Wichita eagerly await the day of his beatification. I have little doubt that he will be beatified.

    There will be a live stream from the White House of the ceremony at 1:10 central today.
    <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/live&quot; Link

  3. acardnal says:

    There is a new biography and a dvd documentary available on the life of Fr. Kapaun. I have seen the video broadcast on EWTN.

    These can be purchased via Fr.Z’s Amazon link:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Miracle-Father-Kapaun-Soldier/dp/1586177796/ref=pd_bxgy_mov_img_y

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Miracle-Father-Kapaun/dp/B0041MXH9O/ref=wl_mb_hu_m_2_dp

  4. mamajen says:

    That he is receiving this honor under our current administration should count as his first miracle.

  5. AGA says:

    Several years ago I went to one of the yearly celebrations in his honor at his hometown (Pilsen, KS) parish. He was an assistant pastor there between war years (WW II and Korea). One of his former altar boys told me that when Fr. Kapaun walked to the confessional box that he (Kapaun) would cover his eyes with his stole as he was walking by parishoners waiting to confess. I thought that was neat. Fr. Kapaun, pray for us!

    [A lot of priests I know do something like that. I also keep my eyes fixed on the floor or a far wall or something other than the people in the line (at the beginning) or in the pews (after I get out of the box).]

  6. PostCatholic says:

    I’m glad Chaplain Captain Kapuan’s family will be present to do the accepting of a deserved honor. Congressman Todd Tiahrt deserves most of the credit for making this event happen.

  7. Andy Lucy says:

    Hooah, Padre. Chaplain Kapaun, pray for us.

  8. Fr AJ says:

    This made the top of the hour national radio news this morning, they even went in to detail of what he did but never once mentioned he was a Catholic priest.

  9. Darren says:

    Re: mamajen says: That he is receiving this honor under our current administration should count as his first miracle.

    This should be immediate cause for sainthood! If Obama can’t ignore him, then…

    Regarding covering his eyes on the way to the confessional, I have seen all sorts. One priest I frequent for confession enters the church then goes to the confessional without a glance toward anyone. If the church were empty he wouldn’t even notice. Another priest at another parish arrives and, “Good morning everyone! Look at all the sinners! Ha ha ha… …how are you ‘Fred’? Come on in… “

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    Considering what is going on in Korea right now, we could really use Fr. Kapaun’s prayers.

    The cynical side of me (which is a thorn in my side) has me wondering if the current administration is doing this specifically because Fr. Kapuan served in Korea. I can’t help but think that they always have an ulterior motive, especially with regard to Catholics.

  11. MAJ Tony says:

    http://www.army.mil/standto/archive_2013-04-11/?

    “Chaplain (Capt.) Emil J. Kapaun will posthumously receive the nation’s highest award for valor – the Medal of Honor – from President Barack Obama during a White House ceremony at 2:10 p.m. today. Chaplain Kapaun’s nephew, Ray Kapaun, will accept the medal on his uncle’s behalf.”

  12. robtbrown says:

    I would imagine that Bp Conley is beaming about this.

    BTW, the high school in Wichita bearing his name, Kapaun-Mt Carmel, is one of the best in the state. And some years won 9 state athletic titles in one year.

  13. robtbrown says:

    I see Fr Kapaun was a member of the 1st Cav.

    [3rd Battalion, 8th Calvary Regiment, 1st Cavalry – Warhorse! “Honor and Courage”!]

  14. Sieber says:

    I recall Sr. Edward Francis IHM reading an article to our class from the Saturday Evening Post. It told of Fr. Kapaun’s heroism. This was back in ’52 or ’53.

  15. seanl says:

    For the last several years the Diocese of Wichita has been leading a 3 day walking pilgrimage from Wichita to St. John Nepomucene Church in Pilsen, KS. I did the whole thing last year. It was a really great experience, and the St. John Nepomucene is downright gorgeous. A beautiful Czeck parish which is well preserved, even with the Bohemian script in their stained glass. Any that can attend this year should! It’s always the first weekend in June.

  16. MaryMargaret says:

    Lord Jesus, in the midst of the folly of war,
    your servant, Chaplain Emil Kapaun spent himself
    in total service to you on the battlefields and
    in the prison camps of Korea, until his
    death at the hands of his captors.
    We now ask you, Lord Jesus, if it be your will,
    to make known to all the world the holiness
    of Chaplain Kapaun and the glory of his
    complete sacrifice for you by signs of
    miracles and peace.
    In your name, Lord, we ask, for you are the
    source of peace, the strength of our
    service to others, and our final hope.

    Amen

    Chaplain Kapaun, pray for us.

  17. LarryW2LJ says:

    http://www.kansas.com/kapaun/

    After reading this 8 part series, all I can say is “Wow” and that is totally insufficient.

  18. Nancy D. says:

    As I watched the ceremony, I could not help but think his beautiful witness to Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church may change some hardened hearts.

  19. anna 6 says:

    It was an emotional and inspiring ceremony today. God bless Fr. Kapaun and all the other chaplains.

    Incredible photo, Lisa. Thank you.

  20. The Roman Collar says:

    Thank you for mentioning this Father. I am a seminarian at Kenrick Seminary where Fr. Kapaun received his training as a priest and graduated and then was ordained on June 9, 1940. It is awe inspiring to walk the same halls he walked and to go downstairs and see his class picture. So often we think of Saints as persons who achieve the unattainable. We think “we could never do that”. Fr. Kapaun is another example that this thinking is false. We are all called to holiness. We are all called to become saints.
    Today we dedicated the student center in his honor. We have a beautiful painting of his life that was donated to the seminary which will go in the center. I wrote about this and included a picture of this fantastic painting. You and your readers are welcome to read more and see the painting at

  21. Mike says:

    While stuck in DC traffic this afternoon, I heard NPR’s brief mention of the ceremony–they mentioned he was a Catholic priest.

    Perhaps a correction from the morning; not sure.

  22. markomalley says:

    LarryW2LJ:

    The cynical side of me (which is a thorn in my side) has me wondering if the current administration is doing this specifically because Fr. Kapuan served in Korea. I can’t help but think that they always have an ulterior motive, especially with regard to Catholics.

    You are not the only one to have that thought.

    Cynicism is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly with things regarding this regime.

    Remember the words of our Lord:

    Matt 10:16 Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

  23. The Roman Collar says:

    Sorry the link didn’t work for my earlier post on the painting of the life of Fr. Emil Kapaun. Here it is again. The website is http://www.TheRomanCollar.com found under “My Ponderings” or, if this works, the direct link: http://www.theromancollar.com/my-ponderings-blog.html#.UWcvzbVwoZ_

  24. Lori Pieper says:

    Wow is right. That series in the Wichita Eagle is fantastic. Surely when Fr. Kapaun is canonized he should be declared a “martyr of charity” like St. Maximilian Kolbe. “Maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis.”

  25. robtbrown says:

    robtbrown says:
    I see Fr Kapaun was a member of the 1st Cav.

    [3rd Battalion, 8th Calvary Regiment, 1st Cavalry – Warhorse! “Honor and Courage”!]

    I mentioned the 1st Cav because they are known as fighters, an extraordinary tough unit.

  26. PostCatholic says:

    Mike, on All Things Considered there was also a three minute feature which included interviews with a soldiers whose life had been by Kapuan, a lengthy summary of his heroic activities at the POW camp, and so on. It was touching, so don’t miss it at: http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=176882874

    LarryW2LJ, the request that the President confer the medal began after the recommendation of DoD and a budgetary authorization bill in Congress. It was pushed forward by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-KS. You can keep hating Obama if you like; he just did the easy part, which was to agree that Kapuan was an American of extraordinary valor.

  27. HobokenZephyr says:

    @PostCatholic re: Obama, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  28. MaryMargaret says:

    Roman Collar, Love the painting. I hope it will inspire many generations of seminarians. And may God bless you and all our seminarians.

  29. LarryW2LJ says:

    PostCatholic,

    Apologies up front for saying this, but that assumption of hate is kind of rude on your part. I don’t hate the President. I dislike his policies and what he stands for; but I don’t hate the man. I am able to separate the two. I think that remark was rather unbecoming and unwarranted.

    There is no denying that President Obama has turned a deaf ear and a blind eye towards the Catholic faith. It’s been documented and is available for all to see. My cynicism regarded the timing of the ceremony. Granting the CMH to a Catholic Chaplain right in the middle of heightened tensions with North Korea. I’m sorry, but I just get the feeling that Catholics continue “to be played” by this administration.