Fr. Kapaun honored at East Coast outdoor Mass
Fr. Daniel Lorimer is studying canon law at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., but he hasn’t left his Kansas roots behind.
He and three other priests celebrated an outdoor Mass Friday, Sept. 22, in memory of Servant of God Emil Kapaun, whose cause for canonization is under consideration by the Holy See’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.
According to the Catholic Standard, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington, St. Jude Regional Catholic School in Rockville, Maryland, hosted its annual outdoor Mass in honor of Fr. Kapaun, a Korean War hero who died in 1951 in a prisoner of war camp. The hood of an Army Jeep served as the altar, mirroring how Father Kapaun celebrated Mass for soldiers on the battlefield.
Fr. Lorimer, a former U.S. Army chaplain who served in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Jordan, and Qatar, gave the homily during the outdoor Mass.
“I was inspired by this man who had entered into the darkness of the war, and he did so to bring life, hope, and joy. But most of all, he inspired the men in the POW camp with him. So much so that that particular camp where Father Kapaun was, their death rate didn’t match any of the other [camps] around them.”
Fr. Lorimer said he was inspired by Fr. Kapaun’s biography and during his fourth year of priesthood asked Bishop Carl A. Kemme for permission to follow Fr. Kapaun’s bootsteps.
He encouraged the St. Jude students to be inspired by the story of Fr. Kapaun and to pray for his cause for sainthood.
After the Mass, he told the Catholic Standard that the role of the chaplain is to make sure that those serving their country have an opportunity to celebrate their faith.
As a war chaplain, Father added, he learned from Father Kapaun’s example not to take fear with him.
“When you read [Father Kapaun’s] biography, you’re just amazed by the idea that he is not afraid of death.
If you’re going to go anywhere in a war zone you do not want to take with you that fear,” Fr. Lorimer said. “I think a lot of chaplains have that where their relationship with their Lord is secure, and that encourages them to say, ‘Okay, if I’ve got to be there, I’m not the only one there. There are other soldiers there. So I want to be with them when everything goes down.’”
A long article about and photos of the Mass are available at CathStan.org. More about Fr. Kapaun is available at FrKapaun.org.