Today in the United States, we honor the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for love of their fellow men and country. Among the soldiers are military chaplains, who risk their lives to bring Christ to the front lines.
Servant of God, Fr. Emil Kapaun, did just that. The most highly decorated military chaplain in U.S. military history, Fr. Kapaun served on the front lines during the Korean War in the early 1950’s, ministering to men of all faiths, celebrating mass whenever possible, and bringing hope to his fellow soldiers. When overrun by communist forces, Fr. Kapaun did not run. Instead, he continued to help his fellow soldiers, carrying many of them and encouraging them to continue on. In the prison camps, he did what he could for the men. Sneaking out to bring back food, finding ways of getting clean water, and administering the sacraments.
In May 1951, Fr. Kapaun was taken to a place where he would die alone. The men in the camp with him recall their last memory of their priest: Fr. Kapaun blessed his captors and, turning to God, said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In 2013, Fr. Kapaun was awarded the Medal of Honor. Present at the ceremony were 9 men who were with him and influenced by him in the prison camp.
The cause for Fr. Kapaun’s canonization was opened in 1993, when he was given the title Servant of God, and continues to move forward.
Fr. Kapaun, pray for us!
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