Friday, April 12, 2013

Local History: Servant of God Emil Kapaun and the Medal of Honor

I attended Kapaun-Mount Carmel High School (our school mascot is the Crusader!), the east side co-educational school here in Wichita, Kansas. Before its founding in 1971, there had been two high schools: Chaplain Kapaun Memorial High School, a Jesuit preparatory school for young men established in 1956 and Mount Carmel Academy, a preparatory school for young women established in 1886 under the guidance of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Everyday in the rotunda of the high school, which was the building the Sisters of Charity had built on east Central, I passed by the display honoring Chaplain Emil Kapaun and the mosaic of Our Lady of Kansas.

Father Kapaun's cause for sainthood is being sponsored by the Diocese of Wichita and the website is here. Yesterday, April 11, Father Emil Kapaun was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Our local newspaper, The Wichita Eagle, has been very involved in the Father Kapaun story, producing a series of articles, a television special, and even a new book, all about Father Kapaun. This site consolidates the material from the series and reports about the Medal of Honor ceremony.

It's fascinating to be witnessing this process of honoring the namesake of my high school alma mater. I remember reading comments that Servant of God Kapaun should be canonized as a martyr--many of those who saw him taken by the Chinese to their "hospital", which was really a death house, believed he was being punished for his Christian witness in the POW camp. Because there are no witnesses to his death, however, the cause being pursued is for his beatification and canonization as a confessor.

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.


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