The remains of a US Army chaplain, who is currently being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church, have been found nearly 70 years after his death in a prisoner of war camp in North Korea.
The US government’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said late last week that the remains of Father Emil Kapaun were accounted for on March 2.
“Once the family has their full briefing on his accounting, we will post more information,” said a notice from the agency.
Father Kapaun was known for risking his life on the battlefield during the Korean War to minister to the troops on the frontlines, said a statement from the Wichita Diocese in the US where Father Kapaun was ordained a priest.
He was taken a prisoner by communist Chinese forces in November of 1950 and while enduring brutal captivity in North Korea he continued to serve and bolster the morale of fellow prisoners. Father Kapaun died in a prison camp on May 23, 1951. He was 35 years old.
In 2013, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions on the battlefield.
The priest’s remains were among hundreds of unidentified soldiers from the war that were buried in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, according to Wichita Diocese who have promoted Father Kapuan’s qualifications for sainthood. Remains of many US soldiers were moved from North Korean burial sites to Hawaii in the 1950s and the 1990s.
“It was a joyful and exciting surprise for the Diocese of Wichita that Father Kapaun’s mortal remains were recovered after so many years and we continue to look forward to his process of canonization in the future,” said Bishop Carl A. Kemme of Wichita.
In 1993, Father Emil Kapaun was named a Servant of God by Pope St. John Paul II signifying that his cause for sainthood could begin.
“A thorough investigation into his life was conducted by the diocese and the details presented to the Congregation for Saints in Rome, where his cause awaits review on the path to what we pray will be his eventual beatification and canonization,” the diocese said.
For more watch this video ‘Kapaun’s Men: The Story of Father Kapaun’ below: