WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Saturday, Father Kapaun will return home to Kansas for the first time in more than 70 years.
Matthew Vainer of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita said they have been working on this since his remains were identified on the 2nd of March this year.
“We’ve just had a team of people just organizing and planning and now the plans just come into fruition so we’re really excited for, for everything to fall into place,” said Vainer.
On Tuesday, there will be a vigil, followed by a funeral service on Wednesday. Both events will be at Hartman Arena.
“He’s just had an influence over all these different people so we just wanted to share that with everybody and all those audiences across just giving them a sense of hope,” he continued.
Vainer expects about 6 thousand people will attend. Before these events, Father Kapaun’s remains will be taken to his hometown of Pilsen.
“Knowing that he hasn’t been home since 1949, we thought that was the best thing is just to, to bring him back home first,” added Vainer.
Harriet Bina is a resident of Pilsen. She is heartbroken that Father Kapaun won’t be set to rest by his family.
“I got a phone call on Holy Saturday. I was told he was going to Wichita and I gotta tell you, I just broke down. That’s not what we wanted,” said Bina.
Vainer said it was a very hard decision, but feels it was right choice.
“I know the Pilsen community would love to have their son there right. To put him in the cathedral offers more opportunity for the community and for those in Kansas to come and celebrate him,” explained Vainer.
Another big factor is safety, as Father Kapaun is considered for sainthood.
“Security is definitely part of it as well because there will be somebody on staff or cameras on him at all times,” he added.
For those who don’t have tickets to the vigil or the funeral, it will be streamed live online.
Afterward, there will be a ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park. A horse-drawn carriage will then take Father Kapaun to the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. The public is invited to line the streets.