Salina diocese joining prayer effort for Fr. Emil Kapaun; family has ties to the diocese

By Father Donald Pfannenstiel
When I learned of the Vatican investigation of the possible miracle healing of Chase Kear in the Wichita Diocese through the intercession of Father Emil Kapaun, I asked, “Why not here?”
We have a number of what I term “victim souls” in our parishes, and I asked myself why we should not enjoy God’s healing power through the intercession of Father Kapaun. I contacted Father John Hotze in Wichita for information about Father Kapaun and how we could begin some sort of prayer apostolate in our parish as part of the Year for Priests and for some much-needed healing of some very ill parishioners.
What would a miracle healing do for the faith of our people and the cause of Father Kapaun’s canonization? What a grace it would be to have a priest-saint from Kansas and what effect might it have on priestly vocations?
Besides the material that Father Hotze sent, I retrieved information from the Internet and posted it on the church bulletin board. I distributed prayer cards and literature from the Father Kapaun Guild in Wichita to our parishioners, and when we learned that Father Kapaun’s mother, Elizabeth Hajek, was born here in Trego County, interest really exploded. We had to do something very special.
On the first day of our Totus Tuus summer catechetical program, I devoted my entire homily to the life of Father Kapaun and the possible miracle cure of Chase Kear. Every one of the students knew of a person in our parish who was suffering severe and recent life-threatening illnesses. We decided to make a special time before each Mass to pray to Father Kapaun for a miracle in our parish. On Wednesday, an unexpected package arrived from Father Hotze containing replica military identification tags, commonly known as “dog tags,” with information about Father Kapaun. That’s when I knew what that “something very special” was going to be.
The Friday Mass was scheduled as a votive Mass for vocations. I asked seminarian Richard Glance, an Army veteran and Totus Team member, to explain the meaning of the I.D. tags to the students. They were fascinated. I blessed the tags as a sacramental and personally imposed one on each person attending Mass with the understanding that it was to remind them every day to pray for a “victim soul” in our parish. We then dedicated a kind of shrine in the church to Father Kapaun, which will remain all during the Year for Priests to remind the entire parish to steadfastly dedicate themselves to praying for a miracle of healing.
The enthusiasm has endured so far; I pray it continues. The cause for Father Kapaun’s canonization has given our parish a new hope and a greater awareness of the people around us who need healing. Father Kapaun’s title now is “Servant of God.” We look to the day when his title will be “St. Emil Kapaun, priest, soldier.”
Father Donald Pfannenstiel is pastor of Christ the King Parish in WaKeeney and St. Michael’s Parish in Collyer. This was originally printed in the Salina Register.

Want to learn more?
More information may be obtained from Father Kapaun Guild, 424 N. Broadway, Wichita, 67202, (316) 269-3900, or www.frkapaun.org.