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[Ceremonial Artifact]

View at Kansas Memory

Accession Number: 2002.26.2

Physical Description: Father Kapaun prayer card. Card with a color photographic image of Father Emil J. Kapaun, Chaplain, U.S. Army, saying Catholic Mass on the front of a jeep.

History of Object: Emil Joseph Kapaun was born on a farm near Pilsen, Marion County, Kansas, in 1916. His parents were Czech immigrants. At the end of World War II, Kapaun served as a chaplain in the Burma Theater. During the Korean War, he was the chaplain of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. He was known for both his devotion to the spiritual lives of soldiers and his bravery in refusing to leave a man behind in times of great danger. The Chinese captured Kapaun at the Battle of Unsan near Unsan, North Korea, in 1950. He died of malnutrition and pneumonia in a North Korean prison camp on May 23, 1951. After his death, accounts of his bravery, kindness, and humility were shared by his fellow soldiers, and Catholics began offering devotional prayers to Kapaun. In 1993, Pope John Paul II declared him a Servant of God, the first step on the path to canonization. Between 2006 and 2011, three possible miracles were attributed to Kapaun. At the present, the Catholic Church is reviewing his elegibility for sainthood, as well as the possibility of naming him a martyr. Kapaun was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2013.

Date: Between 1993 and 2000

Dimensions (in cm): 13.90 (H) 8.80 (W)

Marks/Inscriptions: [front] FATHER EMIL J. KAPAUN / Chaplain, United States Army / "Servant of God" // [back] Chaplain Emil Kapaun, Servant of God / PRAYER / Lord Jesus, / in the midst of the folly of war, / your servant, Chaplain Emil Kapaun, / spent himself in total service to you / on the battlefields and / in the prison camps of Korea, / until his death at the hands of his captors. / [?] / Chaplain Kapaun pray for us. / St John Nepomucene Church - Pilsen / Holy Family Parish - Marion, KS 66861 / PRINTED WITH ECCLESIASTICAL APPROVAL //

Index Terms

Associations and Subjects

    Use, Place of: Pilsen (Kan.)
    Theme/topic: Catholicism
    Theme/topic: Saints
    Use, Place of: Marion County (Kan.)
    Event: Korean War, 1950-1953
    Theme/topic: Prisoners of war
    Event: World War, 1939-1945
    Origin, Place of: Marion (Kan.)
    Individual: Kapaun, Emil, 1916-1951

Status: Cataloged

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