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More Details Released On Ticketed Events Celebrating Father Kapaun's Return To Kansas

Catholic Diocese of Wichita

Father Emil Kapaun’s remains will return to Wichita on Sept. 25, following a send-off Mass at the Cathedral in Honolulu.

Tickets are available for two of the events surrounding the return of Father Emil Kapaun’s remains to Kansas.

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita will hold a funeral Mass for Kapaun on Sept. 29 at Hartman Arena in Park City. The Mass is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. and conclude at 1 p.m.

The night before, on Sept. 28, the diocese will hold a vigil and rosary at the arena. It will run from 7 to 9 p.m.

Reservations for each event can be made on Ticketmaster or through the Hartman Arena box office.

Kapaun, an Army chaplain from Pilsen, died in 1951 in a prisoner of war camp during the Korean War. His remains were identified earlier this year at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

After he died in Korea, Kapaun’s remains were buried in a shallow grave at the camp. Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme said that gives even more meaning to the events in September.

“The funeral rites of the church are very important,” Kemme said earlier this year after Kapaun’s remains were recovered.

“And I think if there's anything we can do together, not only to kind of shine a spotlight on his heroic witness, but also to give him the funeral rites and the burial that he certainly deserves.”

Kapaun’s remains will return to Wichita on Sept. 25, following a send-off Mass at the Cathedral in Honolulu.

After arriving, a procession will leave the airport to take his remains to St. John Nepomucene in Pilsen for a private homecoming and observance the next day. Kapaun was the parish priest there before entering the military.

His remains will then return to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Wichita. They will remain there until the events at Hartman Arena.

After the funeral Mass, Kapaun’s remains will be taken by horse-drawn caisson from Veterans Memorial Park to the cathedral, which is at Central and Broadway. The procession is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.

His remains will then be interred at the cathedral.

Kapaun was born in 1916 in Marion County. He was ordained into the priesthood in 1940 at what is now Newman University.

He served as a chaplain in World War II and then re-entered the service in 1948.

Kapaun was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroics during the Battle of Unsan in 1950. The medal was presented to his family by President Barack Obama in 2013.

Kapaun allowed himself to be captured so he could look after the wounded prisoners. His actions in the prisoner of war camp led the Vatican to name him a Servant of God in 1993, the first step in the long process to sainthood.

Tom joined KMUW in 2017 after spending 37 years with The Wichita Eagle where he held a variety of reporting and editing roles. He also is host of The Range, KMUW’s weekly show about where we live and the people who live here. Tom is a board member of the Public Media Journalists Association, serving as small station representative, a volunteer coach for League 42 and an adjunct instructor in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.