Skip to main content

On path to Sainthood, Catholic Priest will receive Medal of Honor

2/27/2013 - 11:43 AM PST

Catholic PRWire

For More Information:
Kevin Wandra, 404-788-1276 or

More than 60 years after his death as a POW, Fr. Emil Kapaun to receive nation's highest award for bravery

ATLANTA, GA (February 27, 2013) - He was a soldier. He was a war hero. He was a priest. His Cause for Canonization is being considered by the Vatican. And now Fr. Emil Kapaun will receive the Medal of Honor from the President of the United States.

Fr. Emil's heroic story will be told in the soon-to-be-released book "The Miracle of Father Kapaun," published by Ignatius Press. One of the most remarkable aspects of his story surrounds the atypical movement of support for both his sainthood cause and his Medal of Honor award. The witnesses to both his sanctity and his bravery have come from non-Catholics, men of Jewish faith, Muslim faith and Protestant tradition, who served with Fr. Kapaun in battle or in the brutality of conditions where he drew his last breath - a prisoner of war camp.

Fr. Kapaun died as a prisoner of war, and the Korean War veterans who served with him, who were saved by him, have lobbied the Army for more than 60 years to award Kapaun the Medal of Honor for his acts of bravery. They have also spent years petitioning the Vatican to elevate him to Sainthood because of what they witnessed on the battlefield.

Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying, the authors of "The Miracle of Father Kapaun," interviewed the dozens of men who survived the POW camp because of the courageous acts of this young priest. "They said he repeatedly ran through machine gun fire, dragging wounded soldiers to safety. In the prison camp, he shaped roofing tin into cooking pots so prisoners could boil water, which prevented dysentery. He picked lice off sick prisoners. He stole food from his captors and shared it with his starving comrades. Most of all, Kapaun rallied all of them, as they starved during subzero temperatures, to stay alive. When their future seemed hopeless, he persuaded them to hope. Hundreds died in the camps, but hundreds more survived," recounts Wenzl and Heying.

One of the surviving POWs, who will be at the award ceremony in April at the White House, said Fr. Kapaun was murdered by Chinese prison camp guards in 1951 because he openly defied many of the camp rules, including praying the rosary with other prisoners. Mike Dowe, who like dozens of other survivors of the camp has petitioned both Congress and the Vatican for these honors, recalls that by the time Kapaun died, Protestants and men of other beliefs were praying the Catholic rosary and were openly resisting the Chinese torture.

Since opening Kapaun's Cause for Canonization in 1993, there have already been several allegations of miracles - healings attributed to Fr. Kapaun's intercession that defy scientific explanation. These cures have been witnessed once again by non-Catholics - doctors, in fact, who can attribute no logical answer to the healing of seriously ill or injured individuals.

The last surviving members of Fr. Kapaun's immediate family and several of the living POWs who served with him will travel to Washington, D.C., for the Medal of Honor award ceremony on April 11.

For more information on "The Miracle of Fr. Kapaun," to request a galley copy of the book, or to schedule interviews with the authors, please contact Kevin Wandra 404-788-1276 or

Contact  GA, 30075 US
Kevin Wandra - , 


The Miracle of Father Kapaun, Fr. Kapaun, Ignatius Press, Medal of Honor, Catholic, Korean War,


Catholic Publications

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article


Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 1:17-19
'As for you, prepare yourself for action. Stand up and tell ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put to shame. ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:17-29
Read More

Saint of the Day

August 29 Saint of the Day

St. Sabina
August 29: St. Sabina's feast day is August 29th. We know St. Sabina only ... Read More