Remains of Fr. Emil Kapaun identified in Hawaii

Remains of Fr. Emil Kapaun identified in Hawaii

The remains of Fr. Emil Kapaun have been identified by a U.S. government forensic team, according to an announcement Thursday, March 4, by the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the DPPA.

Servant of God Emil Kapaun, a native of Pilsen, served as a priest in the Diocese of Wichita and as a U.S. Army Chaplain in World War II and the Korean War.

Details regarding the transport of Fr. Kapaun’s remains and his final resting place are now being planned by the family.

Bishop Carl A. Kemme stated: “It was a joyful and exciting surprise for the Diocese of Wichita that Fr. Kapaun’s mortal remains were recovered after so many years and we continue to look forward to his process of canonization in the future.”

Fr. Kapaun was known for risking his life on the battlefield during the Korean War to minister to the troops on the frontlines. He was taken a prisoner of war in November of 1950, enduring a brutal captivity where he continued to serve and bolster the morale of fellow prisoners. Fr. Kapaun died in a prison camp on May 23, 1951. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2013 for his heroic actions on the battlefield.

The DPAA recently concluded Fr. Kapaun he was among the unidentified soldiers buried in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. Remains of many U.S. soldiers were moved from North Korean burial sites to Hawaii in the 1950s and the 1990s.

In 1993, Father Emil Kapaun was named a Servant of God, signifying that his cause for sainthood could begin. A thorough investigation into his life was conducted by the Diocese of Wichita and the details presented to the Congregation for Saints in Rome, where his cause awaits review on the path to what we pray will be his eventual beatification and canonization.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is an agency within the United States Department of Defense whose mission is to recover United States military personnel who are listed as prisoners of war, or missing in action from designated past conflicts, from countries around the world.

For more information on Fr. Kapaun’s story and his cause for canonization visit