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Could Remains of Soldiers in North Korea Include Father Kapaun?

The recent summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un included an agreement to return the remains of American soldiers still missing from the Korean War.

That has caught the interest of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita because one of the missing is Chaplain Emil Kapaun.

Kapaun was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2013 for his bravery in Korea and could become a saint of the Catholic Church. He died in a North Korean prisoner of war camp in 1951.

“A lot of it still remains to be seen, but I think the news is very promising so far as to what President Trump has asked for and what the North Koreans have said that they are willing to do,” said Father John Hotze, who has led the Wichita Diocese’s efforts regarding Kapaun’s cause for sainthood.

“I think it’s great news regardless of whether or not the remains of Father Kapaun are found and returned. I think it will help a lot of the families of those who are missing from the Korean War.”

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When Every Day was Ash Wednesday

“Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting
this campaign of Christian service, 
so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, 
we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.”

Ash Wednesday is a shock to the system.  The day of fasting is the Church’s way of forcing us to dive into the deep end- there’s no easing our way into Lent.  As I was reflecting on how wimpy I am and the hunger I felt today, it occurred to me that I was still probably going to eat the same amount or even a little more today than Father Kapaun and the men in the prison camps had to eat day in and day out.  For me, Ash Wednesday is only one day.  For Father Kapaun and the men in the North Korean POW camps, every day was Ash Wednesday.

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Letter to the Editor

On June 23, 1951 the Saturday Evening Post, a popular news magazine, ran a story with this photo attached.  A few months later on September 15, they posted this Letter to the Editor from Captain Jerome Dolan giving more description on the happenings surrounding the photo.  Those who are familiar with the Korean War will understand how fierce the fighting was while UN forces made a last-hope defense of the Pusan Perimeter against the North Koreans near the beginning of the war in August and September 1950.  Father Kapaun and the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Division had been fighting to stem the Communist onslaught since July of that year.  After the war and the POWs were released, the Saturday Evening Post featured the same picture with Mike Dowe's article "The Ordeal of Chaplain Kapaun."  Captain Dolan's letter follows the picture.

Saturday Evening Post Vol. 224, No. 11, September 15, 1951
Letter to the Editor by Captain Jerome Dolan

 “The Medics”

    For various reasons, chief among them being the distance from Philadelphia to Tokyo, I did not see your issue of June 23rd till today.  Reading Lt. Col. Blair’s article [I Send Your Son Into Battle] on Page 26 of that issue brought back the terror and glory of the first six months of the Korea fighting to me.  However, what brought back the smoke and smell of my small part in the war more acutely was your lead picture [see cut] captioned: “The exhausted soldier being helped to the rear has just been fighting a savage enemy.  A short time ago he was a boy in T shirt and blue jeans.” 

    Your readers might be interested in some of the incidents surrounding that picture and something about those portrayed….The North Koreans had thrown a banzai charge through the valley at Tabu-dong, between the 8th Cavalry’s 2nd Battalion and 1st Battalion, of which I was battalion surgeon.  They were a force of 4500 and we were about 100, including Headquarters Co. and my aid-station crew, and we were isolated from our line companies….At the time that photo was made, the North Koreans had command of a rise 350 yds. from us and also had captured the road to our rear, effectively cutting our escape route….For nine days we fought the elements and the Koreans and finally beat both to bring our wounded out to safety.  Incidentally, by the grace of God, all ten of our wounded made it….

    The GI on the extreme left, I don’t recognize, nor do I remember the name of the kid who had fought through hell from July 20th till that day, with little sleep, too little food, and that cold C rations, no chance to bathe, without a day away from the firing line, always against an enemy that outnumbered him by at least ten to one.  This boy had finally reached his limit, but we had to practically drag him out of action.  After a few days’ rest when we reached friendly lines, he was ready to go back again to “his team.”

    Supporting the kid by the left arm, the GI in the field jacket is Father (Capt.) Emile [sic.] J. Kapaun, of Marion, Kansas, our battalion Catholic chaplain and one of the finest men it has been my privilege to meet….He received the Silver Star [note: Kapaun was actually awarded the Distinguished Service Cross] for his heroism at Unsan, when the 8th Cavalry Regiment was decimated by the Chinese.  He and the battalion surgeon of the 3rd Battalion, Capt. Clarence L. Anderson, home unknown, volunteered to stay with the wounded, whom it was impossible to evacuate.  Since the North Koreans treated wounded prisoners with lead, they knew they faced certain death.  Luckily, the Chinese took them prisoners and at last account they were still serving nobly in a Chinese POW hospital.

    The sad-faced GI walking behind Father Kapaun, wrapped in a blanket because he had used his poncho to cover one of our wounded, is Sgt. Floyd W. Johns, of Tampa, Florida, my assistant platoon sergeant, and a braver boy I don’t expect to see….Just the night before that picture was taken, he had broken a roadblock singlehanded to get a jeepful of wounded out.  A Navy veteran of WWII, his physical disabilities could have kept him out of the Korean fighting, but he “didn’t want to let the gang down.”…

    The less said about the fellow in the poncho the better; he just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time, and besides, the Geneva Convention says that I’m a non-combatant, so I can’t admit that I was carrying a gun!...

    Capt. Jerome A. Dolan, MC Tokyo, Japan

New Birth

 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you." - 1 Peter 1:3-4

Just a month ago I was able to travel to North and South Carolina to interview Bill Richardson and William Funchess.  Both were Korean War POWs.  Bill knew Fr. Kapaun from fighting in the same battalion, but was separated from him in the prison camp.  William did not fight with Fr. Kapaun, but met him in the prison camp and ended up sleeping next to him and caring for him the last few weeks of his life.  

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Nanami's Flight

                Recently I’ve been getting a number of requests for information about Father Kapaun from all over the world.  I don’t know for sure what has been prompting these requests, but it is exciting to see Father Kapaun’s story spreading.  This week, however, I received a letter from England that was different.  Instead of asking for more information, it was a woman named Nanami who was sharing her story of surviving the Korean War.  She had recently heard about Father Kapaun for the first time, and his story had a profound impact on her, although she has quite the story in her own right, which I’d like to share.

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Icons Impact Radio Interview

Father Hotze did an interview on Father Kapaun this past week for Icons Impact, a radio show for Relevant Radio in New York. The show is hosted by two of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR), Brother Angelus and Father Innocent who were actually classmates of mine for a few years in elementary school here in Wichita. The interview is 28 minutes and does a great listen!

Right click here to download

Learn more about the Friars and their Icons mission here:

Missing the Miracles

Missing the Miracles?
By Scott Carter

Recently I have been getting an increasing number of questions from people wondering how strict the requirement for miracles is in regard to the canonization of saints.  When talking to them, they seem to have a suspicion that for some reason Father Kapaun has been singled out for unnecessary requirements.  (I picture a cartoon with Saint Peter saying to Father Kapaun, “Please stand over here, Sir,” while with his other hand he vigorously waves all sorts of other people through the pearly gates without even a cursory glance.)  I assure you this isn’t the case!

In reality, I can understand why people might think this, and it stems from two things.  First, Pope Francis has recently canonized two saints without the requirement of a second miracle (John XXIII and Peter Faber).  However, both of these were special cases and previously had one miracle approved for their Beatification.  The Church takes very seriously her requirement for miracles before declaring definitively that someone is in heaven with God.  That’s because while we can examine a person’s life to the best of our abilities, only the Lord sees the heart and truly knows the holiness of a man or woman (cf. 1 Samuel 16:7).  Although a miracle is granted primarily for the sake of the person it blesses, it also acts like a supernatural stamp of approval from God that the intercessor is indeed in heaven with Him.

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Fr. Kapaun Cause for Canonization Takes Important Step Forward

By Fr. John Hotze

On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, the six Historical Consultants of the Congregation for Saints met in Rome to discuss the historical documents that have been presented to the Congregation as part of the Positio for the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of Father Emil Kapaun, prepared by the Postulator Dr. Andrea Ambrosi.  After evaluating the documents for completeness and accuracy, the Historical Consultants gave an affirmative vote in regard to these documents.  As a reminder, the Positio is the official document that will be used to determine if Father Kapaun lived a life of heroic virtue and sanctity.  Bishop Carl A. Kemme presented this Positio to Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for Saints on November 9, 2015.
The affirmative vote by the Historical Consultants allows Father Kapaun’s Cause to move forward to the Theological Consultants.  These Consultants will review the Positio to determine if Father Kapaun’s writings and teachings are doctrinally sound and in harmony with the Church’s teachings.  If the Theological Consultants also provide an affirmative vote, the matter will be given to a panel of Cardinals and Archbishops of the Congregation for Saints.  This panel will convene to review Father Kapaun’s life one final time.  Hopefully they will come to a consensus and decide to pass Father Kapaun’s Cause on to the Holy Father who will make the ultimate decision on Father Kapaun’s Beatification and Canonization.
As the review of Father Kapaun’s life continues, medical consultants in the Congregation will be working on the proof of alleged miracles.  One alleged miracle must be approved and accepted as having no scientific explanation for the Beatification; and, then a second miracle approved and accepted for the Canonization of Father Kapaun.  To some, this may seem like an unending process, but the naming of a Saint has never and, hopefully, will never be taken lightly.  We pray that, God willing, Father Kapaun’s cause may proceed with speed and that we will soon be honoring him as a Saint of the Holy Catholic Church.

 "This news cannot be perceived as anything but a great sign," said Fr. John Hotze, Episcopal Delegate of the Office of Canonization of Father Emil Kapaun. "This is a great step forward and recognition of the work we've done and of the life of Father Kapaun, and has happened much more quickly than I had anticipated."

Habitual Mercy

By Fr. John Hotze

On December 8, 2015, Pope Francis called for the opening of a Holy Year, the Year of Mercy.  The celebration of the Year of Father Kapaun coincides perfectly with the celebration of the Year of Mercy.  When you study the life of Father Kapaun, you see God’s mercy being put into action.  Father Kapaun not only makes visible God’s mercy but also demonstrates that mercy in a way that we can follow.  Hopefully in following his example we too will become saints.  

While investigating the life of Father Kapaun, I was fortunate to speak to a man, Philip O’Brien.  Mr. O’Brien worked for the Department of Defense.  It was his job to try to identify the 1,600 men that died in Prison Camp No. 5 during the Korean War.  In his efforts, he interviewed as many men that were in the Prison Camp that he could find.  In these interviews, the former POW’s told their stories of being in the Prison Camp.  It was during these interviews that he not only came to know of Father Kapaun but also how he came to believe that Father Kapaun was a saint.  

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65th Anniversary of Fr. Kapaun's Death

Today marks the 65th Anniversary of Fr. Kapaun's Death on May 23rd in Camp Number 5, Pyoktong, North Korea.  Bishop Mark Carroll celebrated his funeral Mass on July 29, 1953 after prisoners were released and his death was confirmed.  The Mass was held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita and was attended by over 100 priests and hundreds more of the faithful.  Below is Bishop Carroll's homily from the Mass.  You may notice that the Army had originally reported the date of death as May 6th, but that was soon corrected by his fellow Prisoners of War.  Some of his last words were "Don't worry about me, I'm going where I always wanted to go, and when I get there I'll say a prayer for all of you," and "Tell my Bishop I died a happy death."  

May Father Kapaun rest in peace and assist us from heaven!

Fr. Kapaun's Funeral Mass Homily

Fr. Kapaun Face of Christ's Mercy Poster Contest

A big thank you to the many students who participated in our poster contest for the Year of Father Kapaun and the Year of Mercy!  We had over 1000 entries- probably a lot more, but too many to count!  It was great to see the creativity and artistic ability of the students in the Diocese!  We had a difficult time choosing the winners, so we let the everyone in the Chancery Office vote.  Here are the top three from each category:

Kindergarten - 2nd Grade:

First Place: Luke from St. Catherine of Siena, Wichita

Second Place: Grace from St. Mary, Ft. Scott


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Palm Sunday Homily by Father Kapaun

From Father John Hotze:

I have been remiss in sharing Father Kapaun with you. I hope this makes up for it. While it is not yet Palm Sunday, this can help us make a good Lent. Father Kapaun gives us much to ponder.

Father Kapaun Homily for Palm Sunday – We do not have the date but it was among other homilies that were given in Pilsen between 1940 and 1942.

“Pages and pages have been written concerning the character of our Lord, Jesus Christ. But in order to learn the real character of Christ, a person need not read through all that has been written on Christ -- there is one book which has an infinite store of knowledge in it - - and that book is the Crucifix upon which is seen Christ crucified. To the humble and loving soul who gazes at the Crucifix with great devotion, comes forth the inviting thought: 'Follow Me - I am the way, the truth, and the life.' the thought repeats itself - - ' Follow Me.' And immediately the soul tends to strive to picture Christ before he offered Himself on the Cross. Just a few days previous to His most cruel death, Jesus had entered Jerusalem in a very honorable way. The joyous cry of the people: 'Hosanna to the Son of David' filled the air. Jesus was universally acclaimed, except by his enemies. Rejoicing was great. But still the Holy Gospel tells us 'Behold thy King cometh to the meek.'

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The Face of Mercy

“Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy,” says Pope Francis in his letter on the Year of Mercy. “Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God.”

In a world that is not always kind and merciful, it is often the witness of a true disciple that makes the face of Christ visible.

This is exactly what Father Kapaun sought to be in the prisoner of war camp. In the hellish conditions they lived in, it was easy for men to become discouraged at the cruelty and negligence they experienced. The face of evil was much easier to see.

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Praying for the Persecutors of the Church

Tucked away at the front of Father Kapaun's Liturgical Rite book is a small leaflet from the Apostleship of Prayer inviting people to join with the Holy Father's prayer intentions for the month.  This one is for November 1939, shortly after World War II had started.  In it, we can see a glimpse of the teachings that formed Father Kapaun and prepared him for his future mission in the Prison Camps of Korea.

"General Intention for November, 1939

Recommended by His Holiness, Pope Pius XII


Former General Intentions bade us take up the arms of prayer against false doctrines and their baneful effects.  Then we prayed that mankind be delivered from the evils of the new paganism.  Now we would use these same spiritual weapons to safeguard the authors of these evils against God's just anger.  Thus we would obey our Divine Lord's injunction: 'Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you.'  Let us re-echo our dying Saviour's prayer: 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'

Like her Divine Founder, the Church wishes not the death of the sinner but rather that he be converted and live, not the execution of the persecutor but that like Saul he, being converted, may become another Paul lovingly to proclaim Christ and His Mystical Body.  The enemies of Christ and His Church disseminate hatred and disunion; the Church, like Christ, would unite all men in fraternal charity as sons and daughters of the one Heavenly Father.


If the spirit of Christ be in us as true sons and daughters of His Church, such will be not only our prayer but also our every thought, word, and deed towards all, especially to those who hate and persecute us."


The Apostleship of Prayer still promotes the Holy Father's intentions and offers reflections on them: 

Letter from Bishop Carroll

January 12th is the anniversary of Bishop Mark Carroll's death.  Bishop Carroll was Father Kapaun's Bishop and allowed him to re-enter the military service.  Father Kapaun kept up regular correspondence with his bishop, and here is one of the letters that Bishop Carroll wrote.  As you can see, Bishop Carroll was promoting Father Kapaun's witness even while he was still alive!

Letter from  pdf Bishop Carroll to Father Kapaun (1.47 MB)

Christmas Thoughts

I often wonder what was going through the POW's minds that first Christmas after they had been captured. Some would have made it to the Prison Camp, others were still being marched to the there. I wonder if the reality of the situation had set in yet. I am sure many were still hoping for the promised end of the war that

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Comments on the Positio Presentation

By Father John Hotze

As you may have heard, on Nov. 9, 2015, Bishop Kemme presented the positio to the Congregation for Saints in Rome. The positio is the Church’s official document concerning Father Kapaun’s life of heroic virtue and sanctity. Now, the Congregation for Saints can begin their work on the review of Father Kapaun’s life. Hopefully, the Congregation may then make a recommendation affirming his sanctity to the Holy Father.

Unfortunately, some of the news reports have implied that we are disappointed by the outcome of the events or that the case has been placed on hold. We at the Office for Beatification of Father Kapaun are by no means disappointed or discouraged by the events of the last couple of weeks. Granted, it would have been nice if the Congregation for Saints was able to drop everything to study Father Kapaun’s Cause immediately, but unfortunately, that is not a possibility.

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Bishop Kemme to Cardinal Amato on Fr. Kapaun's Cause

November 1,2015
Solemnity of All Saints

His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Amato S. D. B.
Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Vatican City State
Rome, Italy

Your Eminence,

It is my pleasure to express to your Eminence fraternal greetings of peace and love.  These sentiments are accompanied by the prayers and fraternal best wishes of the priests, the lay faithful and all men and women of good will in the Diocese of Wichita, State of Kansas, United States of America.   

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Upcoming Event

On October 18, 2014, Chaplain Kapaun will be honored at Freedom's Foundation at Valley Forge. Freedoms' Foundation is an organization that promotes the ideals of a free society by cultivating responsible citizenship. One of the ways that this is accomplished is by recognizing outstanding citizens. Last year Father Kapaun was inducted into the Medal of Honor Grove, recognizing those heroes that have been awarded that greatest of honors bestowed upon them by our government. This October 18, Chaplain Kapaun will be inducted to the Chaplains Grove which recognizes the role that Chaplains have played in our Nation's battles. On the 18th at 11:00 we will celebrate Mass at the Chapel at Freedoms Foundation. This will be followed by a short ceremony at the engraved monument recognizing Chaplain Kapaun's induction to the Chaplains Grove.

- Fr. John Hotze

"The Miracle of Father Kapaun"

On Thursday, February 26, 2015, Newman University will be hosting a presentation and book signing event featuring Roy Wenzl, author of "The Miracle of Father Kapaun." The presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. followed by the book signing. If you already have the book and would like it signed, you can bring it with you. There will be books available for purchase. The event will take place at the Newman University Campus, 3100 McCormick, Wichita, Kansas, in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center.

Letter to Bishop Mark Carroll - War is Terrible!

August 12, 1950

My Dear Bishop Carroll:

Please excuse the crudeness of this letter.  Yesterday I found this paper and ink in one of the abandoned houses of the Koreans.

I received your two letters written in July.  Many thanks for your kindness and remembrances in prayers.  It must be the prayers of the others which have saved me so far.  Three times we have been trapped by the Reds and have had to flee for our lives.  I lost everything I had except what I carried on my person.  I lost my jeep and trailer with all my equipment.  My assistant was shot and is now in the hospital.  The Protestant Chaplain who was working beside me, was hit by a mortar shell and lost part of his leg.  I was the only one who escaped unscathed.  I got another Mass Kit so I can say Mass when conditions permit.  Lost all of my records so I will have to guess about what to report.  In July I said Mass every Sunday except one (when I had no Mass Kit), attendance about 200.  I prepared soldiers in Confession and Holy Communion, I guess between 300 and 400 times.  I administered Extreme Unction many times.  Most of my Catholic soldiers are prepared.  I baptized two boys before battle and prepared about six or eight for their First Confessions and Holy Communion.  I carry the Holy Oils and the Blessed Sacrament with me at all times.  For nearly two weeks we were in battle, with no rest.  Many of my soldiers suffered heat exhaustion and sun stroke in this awful heat and climbing mountains.  We are on the front lines but the Reds have not tried to advance for several days.  That gives us a little much-needed rest.  We killed thousands.  They outnumber us about 15-1 (we were told).  Now since we have received more help, they outnumber us about 3-1.  If that is the case, we should give them a good licking.  War is terrible!  I feel sorry for the Korean people who have to leave their homes.  As the Reds approach, nearly everything is destroyed – homes, lives and food.  I hope these people can return in time to harvest their rice so they have some food for winter.

We have no mail censorship and this letter does not contain any vital information except the ratio of the out numbering.  Maybe this has been printed in the newspapers already.  Our mail reaches us fairly well.  I am glad to be with the soldiers in time of need.  So far, I have been right on the front lines giving absolution and Extreme Unction to the dying.  I had no chance to change clothes and my uniform got all bloody.  I’ve got a clean one now and I hope it will not be stained with blood.

Father Emil Kapaun

Interesting Links

The two links below were sent by a friend of the Father Kapaun Guild, Franklin Rausch.  He is a university professor and has just returned from teaching a class in South Korea this summer.  He is quite the scholar and Catholicism in South Korea is one of his many interests.  Check out the links below, they are quite interesting. 

- Fr. John Hotze

A letter to Bishop Mark Carroll of Wichita

Kyoto, Japan               February 28, 1951

Your Excellency,


Father Kapaun and I landed at Po Hong Dong with the 1st Cavalry Division on the morning of July 18, 1950.


On the hot days of July and August by the bank of the Naktong River, a G.I. coule come almost any day and find a simplified, home-made altar on the hood of a jeep. There was Father Kapaun saying Mass in the extreme heat almost ready to pass out from the heavy warm garments being worn.


He also climbed many a hill and mountain just so he could make some lonely G.I. feel a little better after talking to him.


About 35 miles south of the Manchurian border on the 1st day of November, near Unsan, Korea, we were all feeling in deep sorrow at the close of Father’s Mass. We were completely surrounded and everyone knew it. Thinking of our loved ones back home, of ourselves. Would we live to see another daylight again? No one knew, but everyone prayed, and prayed hard, hoping that God would help us out. Little by little the enemy was closing in on us.  We had to do something, but what?  If we could hold out till morning we could get some reinforcements. We couldn’t possibly hold out that long. There were too many of them. Col. Walton, our Battalion Commander, finally gave us the order to withdraw.


By 11:00 P.M. that night we were surrounded three times, and had broken through each time. All the while this was going on we became very disorganized. I ran into Father Kapaun as we were withdrawing. About a mile or two down the road Father and I were helping out the Medics with the wounded.  All of a sudden machine-guns, burp guns, and what not, opened up on us. There we were, in the middle of an ambush. That, Sir, was just the beginning of a horrible nightmare. But that is where I also lost contact with Father Kapaun. That night there were 995 dead, missing or wounded ion our 8th Cavalry Regiment alone. Newsweek Magazine came out with an article about what happened that night. The article was entitled “The Halloween Party,” but the battle is well known as ‘Bugle Valley’ to the men who made it out alive.


Later on, I tried to locate Father Kapaun. This is what I gathered.


Lt. Curry, a medical officer, and a good friend of Father Kapaun, was last seen giving first aid to some wounded men. By his side was Father. One G. I. told them to run, practically screaming at them, but they wouldn’t leave the wounded for anything in the world.


I have prayed many times for the safe return of Father Kapaun. The first Mass said at our Battalion by Father Lynch was offered for Father Kapaun, who is still listed as missing in action.


I’m sure there are hundreds of G.I.s who will never forget what Father Kapaun has done for them. In their hearts they will always remember how he kept up the G.I.s morale, and most of all how he helped a lot of men to become good Catholics.


I’ll never forget him as long as I live.


Just another G.I., Respectfully,


Pfc Ernest J. Ritter

Father Kapaun’s Christmas Greeting to Sister Euphrasia

Father Kapaun was a prolific letter writer. I think one of his very saintly qualities was his genuine care and concern for others. Often when he would write, he would share words of encouragement as he would relay his own activities to those to whom he was writing. Father Kapaun had the utmost respect for those in the religious life. This included those in the missions. While the school in Pilsen, Kansas was a public school, it was staffed by three religious sisters from the Sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. Their motherhouse was in Wichita, Kansas. The school in Pilsen was a three room school house. The first room held grades kindergarten through 5th grade. The second room held grades 6th through 8th, and the third room held grades nine and ten. The school did not have anything past the sophomore year of high school. Father Kapaun was a good student and had advanced grades on two different occasions. One of his classmates said that Fr. Kapaun often knew things that were going on well before even the teachers knew. If there was a classmate struggling, then Emil would offer to help. This classmate said that Emil would be helping the other student even before the Sisters knew that there was a problem. One dubious note, Father Kapaun’s favorite subject in grade school was Latin. (I say dubious because I struggled with Latin on more than one occasion while in school and I cannot imagine anyone, even a saint, saying that it was their favorite subject in school!).

This is Father Kapaun’s Christmas Greeting to Sister Euphrasia, who was his 9th grade teacher at school in Pilsen, Kansas. This was written when he was studying at the Catholic University of America. Father Kapaun corresponded not only with those back home but also with the many friends that he made throughout his life. We have copies of letters to and from family, friends, classmates and fellow chaplains and missionaries that he met while he was serving in India and Burma.

- Fr. John Hotze

Dear Sister Euphrasia:

I wish to thank you for the lovely Christmas Greeting Card. I see you are still using your gift of art to make others happy, as indeed your card made me happy and brought back pleasant memories.

After attending the University I have begun to realize what a tremendous task it is to be a teacher. Surely God must have a very rich reward for those of you who have dedicated your lives to such a work. I hope and pray that God will never inflict upon me such a task, for it would be calamitous to expect an ungifted person to accept such responsibilities. I am happily convinced that God put me in the class of people who can admire teachers but not hope to imitate them.

Indeed this is a very Happy Christmas. Yesterday the sun was shining brightly – today we have the first snow of the year, and it surely is lovely.

May God continue to bless you, good Sister, and keep you in his loving care.

Father Emil Kapaun
Catholic University

December 26, 1947

Welcome to the Fr. Kapaun Blog

Welcome to our Father Kapaun Blog.  This Blog will be used to help provide information on the life and the hopeful canonization of Father Emil Kapaun.  It will also provide an additional venue for announcements pertinent to Father Kapaun’s cause for sainthood to be made public.  Check back often, we will add more content as we are able.  Feel free to ask questions or make comments.  We will respond as we are able.  Please keep comments and questions pertinent to the topic of Father Kapaun and his canonization.

As this blog unfolds we will provide information on Father Kapaun’s life and also as in this first blog, we will provide some of Father Kapaun’s writings, mainly his letters and homilies.  I will try to keep these writings accurate as to the style and content, thus you will see spelling and grammatical form that would have been popular at the time in history, 1930s through the 1950s.  In this first homily you will notice the spelling of “Savior” as “Saviour.”  There are also some differences in punctuation and grammar.  These would have been homilies that Father Kapaun used in preaching at Mass so some of the punctuation may have been placed there to help him in that delivery.

I hope you enjoy this Blog as I certainly enjoy posting to it.  I think you will be amazed as you begin to see the spirituality of Father Kapaun come through, and hopefully, you will see what a great impact it can have on your life.  I will not comment on Father Kapaun’s writings except to explain some of the elements of our faith that are not commonly known.  Today’s homily was given on Low Sunday, April 16, 1944.  The homily was given at St. John Nepomucene Church in Pilsen, Kansas, this would have been prior to Father Kapaun leaving to serve in World War II.  Low Sunday is the Second Sunday in the octave of Easter.  The Church celebrates Easter as an octave, eight days, Easter then beginning with the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses being of primary importance and ending with the Second Sunday of Easter or Low Sunday.  As many of you know, Low Sunday has now been given the designation of Divine Mercy Sunday.

Thanks for joining us.  Father Kapaun, pray for us.

Fr. John Hotze
Episcopal Delegate
Office for the Beatification of Father Emil Kapaun

Low Sunday
April 16, 1944

Bring here thy finger, and see My Hands; and bring here thy hand, and put it into My Side, and be not unbelieving, but believing. John 20:27

These words which our Savior spoke were addressed directly to St. Thomas, the Apostle who had been absent when Jesus appeared to the Apostles the first time after his Resurrection.

Saint John, in his Holy Gospel, mentions that the Apostles were in the upper-room, that is, the Last Supper room, and that they had the heavy doors barred so that no one would be able to get in.  The Apostles were afraid of the enemies of Jesus, for they had put Jesus to death, and only naturally those enemies would seek out the Apostles whom Jesus had chosen.  It was already evening.  The Apostles were gathered together in that room behind barred doors, when all of a sudden, Jesus came through the door without opening it, or without breaking it, and He stood before them.  To the Apostles who were at the same time astonished and frightened Jesus said: “Peace be to you.”  Then He showed them His Hands and His Side.  The Apostles rejoiced to have Jesus living with them again.  Jesus said to them again: “Peace be to you.  As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”  Then he breathed upon them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

In this joyful meeting between Jesus and His Apostles, several momentous things had taken place.  First of all, the Apostles knew that no human body would be able to pass normally and naturally through a heavy door which was closed.  In order for such a body to pass normally and naturally through such a door, the door had to be opened or broken.  But here, before them, their very eyes showed them that Jesus had come into the room without opening that heavy door or breaking it down.  At first they must have thought that He was only a spirit, but when He spoke to them and showed them His hands and side, there was no question left but that Jesus had His natural human body.  The Apostles believed that our Saviour stood before them with His natural body even though they could not see how our Saviour could pass through that door with His natural human body.  That was an act of faith which our Saviour demanded of His Apostles.  And connected with that act of faith our Saviour said to them:  “Peace be to you.  As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”