Fr. Kapaun remembered on the anniversary of his death

Four visitors pray Tuesday, May 23, at the tomb of Fr. Emil Kapaun in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita before a Mass honoring Fr. Kapaun on the 72nd anniversary of his death. (Advance photo)

Video biography of Fr. Kapaun released

The Knights of Columbus have released a 15-minute video biography about Fr. Emil Kapaun and how Columbia Magazine is connected to recent revelations about the priest of the Diocese of Wichita whose cause is under consideration by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Causes of Saints. To see the video, click here.

Bishop Carl A. Kemme urged those attending a Mass on the 72nd anniversary of the death of Fr. Emil Kapaun to disseminate Fr. Kapaun’s story.

It is something the church and the world need to hear, he said Tuesday, May 23, from the ambo of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.

“The path to sainthood can be long and in some cases frustrating, but that cannot deter us from sharing his story with whoever will listen. Nor can we stop praying for his intercession and inviting others to join us, for we know already with moral certitude that his intercession is powerful, life-changing, and lifesaving.”

Bishop: pray for his intercession

The bishop asked those in attendance and watching via a web stream who they are praying for for Fr. Kapaun’s intercession.

“I’m praying for a little three-year-old girl in Florida whose parents are friends of mine from my days back in Illinois. She has been diagnosed with an inoperable tumor, called a glioma, which is a tumor of the brain. May Father Kapaun’s prayers for her and for the many in our world facing uncertain futures win for us the graces of healing in mind, body, and spirit.

“Who are you praying for right now by enlisting the intercession of the Servant of God whose mortal remains are just feet away from us right now?”

Readings were providential

Bishop Kemme said the day’s readings were providential. “I saw Father Kapaun’s life, witness, and service in them so clearly. St. Paul said as he reflected on his own apostolic ministry, ‘I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me.’

“Hearing of the many ways Father Kapaun loved and served, you cannot but conclude that Father was a most humble man and that he did not shrink from this service because of the trials and tears he endured. Suffering of the most extreme kind only emboldened him to even more heroic witness.”

Jesus’ words in the Gospel, the bishop said, could be Fr. Kapaun’s 72 years ago today: “Father the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you.” Father Kapaun’s life and death glorified God and still does.”

Fr. Kapaun saw the presence of God in his fellow POWs and he looked upon them as a gift from God, Bishop Kemme said. “They knew this from his manner of service and his incredible witness in the face of such extraordinary suffering.”

Fr. Kapaun’s working in heaven

Fr. Kapaun can do more in heaven than he could possibly have done here on earth, the bishop said, even if he had lived a long and fruitful life as a priest. “How much he must be praying for us right now as we gather to celebrate this memorial Mass on the anniversary of the day he entered into glory.”

Bishop Kemme closed his homily with the hope that the church will soon acknowledge Fr. Kapaun, a Servant of God, as a Blessed and then a Saint of the Holy Catholic Church.

“Until then, let us go forward with hope and anticipation, knowing that we have a loving and faithful Servant of God who is spending his eternity praying for us.”

Servant of God is a title used in the Catholic Church to indicate that an individual is on the first step toward possible canonization as a saint.