Fr. John Hotze, the lead researcher for the Father Kapaun Guild, is preparing the final documents in the case for the canonization of Emil Kapaun.
Kapaun was an Army Chaplain during the Korean War. It has been reported that Kapaun saved hundreds of soldiers, first by dragging wounded men underneath gunfire in the midst of battle and then by stealing food and treating wounded while in captivity in a North Korean prisoner-of-war camp. Hundreds of miracles have been attributed to Kapaun, including the recovery of Bob McGreevey in the POW camp shortly after Kapaun’s death and the full recovery of Chase Kear in 2008, who was facing certain death after a pole vaulting accident nearly 50 years later.
The Father Kapaun Guild will send more than 1,000 documents to the Vatican by the end of January to start the final verification process for sainthood. Once the documents reach the Vatican, the canonization process can take years.
Hotze started the canonization process in 2001, conducting interviews with surviving veterans who were in the North Korean prisoner-of-war camp with Kapaun during the Korean War.
When the research started in earnest three years ago, Hotze was searching for information that would deny Kapaun saint status.
“We’ve found nothing that would prevent his cause,” Hotze said.
On the contrary, Hotze said Kapaun’s following in Kansas has grown in numbers and devotion. Kapaun’s following will be a positive factor for the Vatican when determining saint status.