Father Kapaun, was born in Pilsen, Kansas in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas on Holy Thursday, April 20, 1916. He was ordained as a Priest for the Diocese on June 9, 1940 and entered the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps in 1944.
Separated from the service in 1946, he re-entered the Army in 1948 and was sent to Japan the following year.
In July of 1950 Father Kapaun was ordered to Korea, where he gained a reputation for his bravery in ministering to the soldiers in the thick of battle. During the Battle of Unsan on November 2 of that same year, he chose to remain with a number of wounded men rather than escape and was taken as a prisoner of war. Forced to march 60 miles to the prison camp in the bitter cold, Father Kapaun carried his wounded comrades and encouraged them to do likewise. In the seven months in prison, Father Kapaun spent himself in heroic service to his fellow prisoners without regard for race, color or creed, giving them help and hope when they needed it most.
To this there is testimony of men of all faiths. Ignoring his own ill health, he nursed the sick and wounded until a blood clot in his leg and pneumonia prevented his daily rounds. Moved to a so-called hospital, but denied medical assistance, his death soon followed on May 23, 1951.
The Diocese of Wichita and the Vatican have begun the formal process that could lead to Father Kapaun's canonization. In 1993, it was announced that Fr. Kapaun would receive the title of "Servant of God". In 2015, the "Positio" on his life and virtues was presented to the Congregation for Saints at the Vatican for their official review.