POW Father Emil Kapaun honored, laid to rest in funeral Mass

Autumn Jones By Autumn Jones for CNA

“We are here today to provide for him what was not provided for him 70 years ago, a Mass of Christian burial,” said Bishop Carl A. Kemme during the funeral Mass on Wednesday, Sept. 29, in Park City, Kansas. “And, though we are all praying for his intercession, we must nevertheless pray for his repose as we do for all the dead. This is our Christian duty as we bring him to his new place of rest.” / Beloit St John’s Media

Wichita, Kan., Sep 30, 2021 / 11:12 am (CNA).

On Wednesday, the Diocese of Wichita held a funeral Mass and procession honoring Servant of God Emil Kapaun at the Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas. Bishop Carl A. Kemme delivered the homily, in which he recognized Father Kapaun’s willingness to “lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Father Kapaun died May 23, 1951, in a prison camp at age 35 during the Korean War. He was named a Servant of God in 1993, and his cause for canonization was opened in 2008.

“In those last months, weeks and days, he would go at night among the huts of wounded, sick and depressed soldiers to do whatever he could to lift their spirits,” Bishop Kemme said. “He would lead them in prayer, tell a joke, sing a song, pick lice of their bodies, boil water to give them a drink of clean water to ward off dysentery, give them some meager amounts of food he had somehow managed to get, even by stealing, in short, to do whatever he could to bring light to those who entered into a darkness few of us can imagine.”

A procession carrying Father Kapaun’s remains followed the funeral Mass, ending at Wichita’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where the faithful will be able to visit his tomb beginning Thursday.

“He was a missionary disciple of hope and that hope indubitably kept many of those men alive,” Bishop Kemme said.

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