Bishop Kemme to Cardinal Amato on Fr. Kapaun's Cause

November 1,2015
Solemnity of All Saints

His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Amato S. D. B.
Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Vatican City State
Rome, Italy

Your Eminence,

It is my pleasure to express to your Eminence fraternal greetings of peace and love.  These sentiments are accompanied by the prayers and fraternal best wishes of the priests, the lay faithful and all men and women of good will in the Diocese of Wichita, State of Kansas, United States of America.   

It is my honor to present to you in person, on November 9, 2015, the “Positio” of the Reverend Emil J. Kapaun, Servant of God.  It is the ardent hope of the Diocese of Wichita, which I serve as bishop, that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will study the official transcript of the life and heroic virtues of Father Emil Kapaun, and make a positive recommendation to His Holiness, Pope Francis concerning Father Kapaun’s sanctity so that he might be enrolled in the canon of saints.  Concerning his sanctity and the popular devotion already present and increasing with the development of his cause, I am delighted to make the following observations.

Since the cause of his canonization was initiated, and indeed long before that, Father Kapaun’s heroic virtues have been admired and emulated by many within the Diocese of Wichita and well beyond it.  Since the day his fellow prisoners of war in the Korean Conflict (1950-1953) were liberated after their long and cruel incarceration, during which Father Kapaun was instrumental in providing to his fellow soldiers unparalleled pastoral care, word of his saintly virtue has been spreading and continues to our day.  Recently, Pope Francis spoke these profound words to military chaplains and heads of military dioceses around the word, “The role of the military chaplain is to accompany and support them in their journey, being for all of them a consoling and fraternal presence.”  Pope Francis continued, “You can pour on the wounds of these persons the balm of the word of God, which relieves pain and infuses hope.”  Father Emil Kapaun truly fulfilled these duties in a most heroic and virtuous way during the early months of the Korean Conflict.  Recognizing his valor, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Father Emil Kapaun the Medal of Honor on April 11, 2013, which promotes his heroism in secular society. 

Your Eminence, the Diocese of Wichita celebrates Father Kapaun’s legacy to the Church in two significant events that have taken place for several years.  They are:

1) The Diocese of Wichita Father Kapaun Day Celebration, which is held on the first Sunday of June each year.  The event includes a Father Kapaun conference, a Pilgrimage Walk from Wichita to Pilsen, the birth place of Father Kapaun, a walk of some sixty miles reenacting the long “death march” Father Kapaun endured after being captured by the Communists and during which he often carried soldiers and encouraged others to do the same so that they would survive, and a Eucharistic Celebration at St. John Nepomucene Church, the very church in which Father Kapaun was baptized, offered his first mass and later served as pastor for a brief period of time before entering service as a military chaplain.

2) The Military Pilgrimage and the Eucharistic celebration of the Mass every Veterans Day, November 11th.  The Church is always filled to capacity as representatives from the Diocese of Wichita and military installations from Kansas and surrounding states are in attendance.

The Diocese of Wichita promotes understanding and popular devotion to Father Kapaun through the Father Kapaun Guild which offers seminars and conferences upon request about his life and virtue.  Recently, a group has formed calling themselves Kapaun’s Men.  They gather each week for prayer, study and fraternity, striving to bring to life in their own, the manly virtues of Father Kapaun.  They have held two very successful retreats and look forward to increasing their numbers among the men of our parishes, promoting a valid and effective men’s spirituality after the witness of Father Kapaun.

The Diocese of Wichita is most enthusiastic about the alleged miracles we believe are the result of intercession by the Servant of God, Father Kapaun.  The two miracles which we will present through the postulator, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, concern the incredible recoveries of two persons, Mr. Chase Kear and Miss Avery Gerleman.  I ask that your Congregation examine these cases and render what we hope will be a positive determination.

Allow me to conclude by expressing my deepest respect for the work of your Congregation.  I look forward to assisting in any way that I can, to help the church come to a favorable conclusion regarding the cause of Father Kapaun.  Until then, Your Eminence and your collaborators remain in my daily prayers.  I humbly ask the same of you and the people I am honored to serve.  Father Kapaun, pray for us!

Humbly Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Carl A. Kemme D.D.
Bishop of Wichita

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