WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Decades after his death, war hero Father Emil Kapaun arrived home in Kansas Saturday.
Father Emil Kapaun died as a prisoner of war in 1951, but federal authorities didn’t identify his remains until this year.
Saturday morning, his remains arrived at Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport after a 24-hour travel period from Honolulu.
“This is something that we never thought would happen,” said Nick Dellasega, as he waited for Father Kapaun to arrive. “I think that the fact that his body was found and not just found, but found now, it could have happened at any point in the course of history. And so, to be able to be here as a part of it is incredible. I mean, it gives me goosebumps to think about it.”
A small motorcade transferred Kapaun’s remains to his hometown of Pilsen. A crowd was on hand in Pilsen to honor him.
Kapaun is a candidate for sainthood. Only three American-born people have ever been canonized. The Congregation for Causes of Saints in Rome is still going over documentation. To become a saint, the church has to declare two miracles.
From Pilsen, Father Kapaun’s remains will be transported back to Wichita, to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where they will be kept until the vigil on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. and the funeral on Wednesday, Sept. 29. Both the vigil and funeral Mass will be held at Hartman Arena.
Following the Mass, Father Kapaun’s remains will process from Veterans Memorial Park by way of horse-drawn caisson from 1:30 – 3 p.m. to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
The Kapaun family decided to inter the remains of Father Kapaun in a crypt inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.