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Father Kapaun--US Army chaplain, candidate for beatification-- to receive Medal of Honor

Catholic World News - February 25, 2013

A US Army chaplain who died during the Korean War will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Father Emil Kapaun, who is also a candidate for beatification, will be awarded the nation’s highest military honor for bravery on April 12. His sister-in-law, Helen Kapuan, will receive the medal on his behalf.

A native of Kansas, Emil Kapaun was ordained to the priesthood in 1940. He served as a chaplain during World War II, returned to parish work after the war, and then re-enlisted as an Army chaplain in 1948. Sent to Korea, he ignored enemy fire to provide physical and spiritual help for soldiers, and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery in September 1950. Shortly thereafter he was taken prisoner when he refused to leave a position that was being overrun by Chinese troops, preferring to remain and care for wounded soldiers. He was sent to a prison camp in North Korea, where he was again noted by fellow prisoners for his selfless service to others. He died in the prison camp in May 1951.

In 2011 the Wichita diocese concluded a local investigation for the cause of beatification of Father Kapaun, and forwarded the dossier to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 26, 2013 5:24 PM ET USA

    It is good that Congress awards this honor. Otherwise, the likes of Fr. Kapaun and Fr. Capodanno would never receive it.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Feb. 26, 2013 9:46 AM ET USA

    A well deserved Medal of Honor. The men he served with and his family will be proud of this moment.

  • Posted by: Defender - Feb. 25, 2013 5:52 PM ET USA

    Having met Catholic chaplains in Vietnam, I know how important they are to those who serve. Their value in the service of others cannot be underestimated. There is also USMC Chaplain Capodanno's cause underway at the current time. In Vietnam, he stayed with his men in combat and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

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