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

Kapaun funeral 8 “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
Kapaun funeral 7 Father Emil Kapaun was known for his “sacrificial and selfless love of others, especially his beloved fellow soldiers, whom he regarded as brothers, even sons,” said Bishop Kemme during the funeral Mass on Wednesday, Sept. 29, in Park City, Kansas. / Beloit St John's Media
Kapaun funeral 4 Bishops Conley, Spencer, McKnight, Zielinski, Coakley, and Vincke applaud the service of the POWs in attendance at the funeral Mass of Father Emil Kapaun, who was laid to rest on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. / Chris Riggs/Catholic Advance
Kapaun funeral 5 The funeral Mass for Father Emil Kapaun was open to the public and streamed live on the Diocese of Wichita’s YouTube Channel and shown live on EWTN. People traveled from all over the United States to attend the Mass and honor the priest who gave his life selflessly to others as a military chaplain. / Beloit St John's Media
Kapaun funeral 6 Father Emil Kapaun imitated the love of Christ, laying down his life for his friends, “all throughout his ministry,” said Bishop Kemme during the funeral Mass on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 in Park City, Kansas. / Beloit St John's Media
Kapaun funeral 3 Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita performs the absolution over the coffin of Father Emil Kapaun after his funeral Mass at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kan., Sept. 29, 2021. / Chris Riggs/Catholic Advance
Kapaun funeral 10 Members of the American Legion post in Tampa, Kansas arrive for the funeral Mass of Father Emil Kapaun, who died at age 35 in a prison camp during the Korean War. / Beloit St John's Media
Kapaun funeral 9 The American Legion post in Tampa, Kansas, showed their support for POW Father Emil Kapaun during the procession from Veterans Memorial Park to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, Kansas, on Wednesday, Sept. 29. / Beloit St John's Media
Kapaun funeral 11 American Legion Riders rode alongside the remains of Father Emil Kapaun from Veterans Memorial Park to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, Kansas on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. / Beloit St John's Media
Kapaun funeral 1 Students from the Diocese of Wichita kneel as a horse-drawn caisson carrying the remains of Father Emil Kapaun processes from Veterans Memorial Park to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, Kansas on Sept. 29, 2021. / Chris Riggs/Catholic Advance
Kapaun funeral 2 The faithful are welcome to visit the tomb of Father Emil Kapaun at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita beginning Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. / Chris Riggs/Catholic Advance

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. 

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.