7th Kapaun pilgrimage to Pilsen set for Nov. 11

The seventh annual military pilgrimage to Pilsen, home of Korean War hero and chaplain, Father Emil Kapaun is planned for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, at St. John Nepomucene Church.

Highlights include Mass with Timothy Paul Broglio, arch?bishop of the military services, followed by prayers for Father Kapaun?s beautification, military honors and a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial on the church grounds, according to Father John Hotze of McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita.

On Sept. 29, U.S. Congress?man Todd Tiahrt, Fourth Congressional District, received word from Pete Green, secretary of the Army, that Kapaun was approved for the Medal of Honor for his heroic service prior to and during his imprisonment in North Korea.

Before Father Kapaun is recognized with the medal, final approval is needed by the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama.

Kapaun, a U.S. Army chaplain, died May 23, 1951, while a prisoner of war in Prison Camp 5, Pyoktong, North Korea.

According to Hotze, Kapaun volunteered to stay behind to care for the wounded and was captured by North Koreans and Chinese forces on Nov. 2, 1950.

He spent his remaining months providing physical and spiritual aid to fellow soldiers and other prisoners of war.

The event is open to everyone, with a special invitation to U.S. service men and women, reservists and veterans.

Kapaun was born in Pilsen on April 20, 1916, to Enos and Elizabeth Kapaun. After graduating from Pilsen High School, he first studied at Conception (Mo.) College Seminary.

Following graduation in 1936 from Missouri, he entered Kendrick Theological Seminary in St. Louis and was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Wichita in June 1940.

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