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Catholic Heroes for Today: Part 2

U.S. sainthood causes flourish in 2011

BY JOSEPH PRONECHEN

| Posted 8/8/11 at 1:38 AM

Wikipedia
 

It’s “American Saints Week” at the Register.

Yesterday, we introduced a miniseries about sainthood causes introduced in the United States that continue to be investigated by Rome.

We continue to look at these causes and the miracles that Rome and diocesan tribunals have examined.


Father Emil Kapaun


The cause of Army Chaplain Father Emil Kapaun has some new developments. On July 1, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the Wichita, Kan., Diocese formally closed its inquiry for the beatification of Father Kapaun, a native of Pilsen, Kan., who died in a communist prisoner-of-war hospital in 1951 during the Korean War.

Father John Hotze, Wichita’s judicial vicar and episcopal delegate for Father Kapaun’s cause, which opened in 2008, said 17,000 pages of documents have arrived at the Vatican for review. Four possible miracles could be attributed to Father Kapaun’s intercession.

Vatican lawyer and investigator Andrea Ambrosi has already looked into two of them. One is of a 12-year-old girl, who was near death for nearly 90 days; the second, a college athlete who survived a pole-vaulting accident doctors diagnosed as fatal — yet he left the hospital days later. Both recoveries were medically unexplainable. 

Speaking to a local Kansas paper, Ambrosi was enthusiastic about the prospects of Father Kapaun’s cause.

Large numbers of soldiers credit Father Kapaun with their survival; the priest rescued many on the battlefield. He stayed behind with the wounded, was captured, saved many from execution by the communists, and ministered to his fellow prisoners before dying a prisoner himself.

Within the diocese, a growing number of Catholics have sought his intercession. Father Hotze hears of many “favors granted — physical and spiritual healings, conversion to the faith.”

“People are gathering strength from Father Kapaun, praying for his intercession,” he said. “He’s an example of a person being in a situation far worse than these people, and he was a man of hope and a man that exemplified Christian love, even love of enemies.”

Tomorrow: An Irish priest keeps America’s families praying the Rosary. Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen writes from Trumbull, Connecticut.