Sunday, June 21, 2009

Priest saints

Military men.
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Normally I focus most of my saint posts on lay saints, especially male saints - men need good examples, especially single men, which explains why I preferred to write about holy laymen who were single. Now for the year of the priest, I'll try to focus a bit more on priest saints.
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Fr. Emil Kapaun is a great example, an army chaplain and hero, who just happens to be in the news today. I have always liked military chaplains - the pastor of my parish is a retired military chaplain. They are some of the best confessors; well balanced, no nonsense guys - shocked by nothing, their spirituality is deeply practical and manly - and always fatherly. I've known many military chaplains, and I have the greatest respect for them all, young and old - I never met one I did not like.
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Father Kapaun
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Kapaun was a chaplain assigned to the U.S. Army's Eighth Cavalry regiment, which was surrounded and overrun by the Chinese army in North Korea in October and November 1951.
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Kapaun became a hero, rescuing wounded soldiers from the battlefield and risking death by preventing Chinese executions of wounded Americans too injured to walk.
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He became a hero again in prison camp, stealing food for prisoners, ministering to the sick, saying the rosary for soldiers, defying guards' attempts to indoctrinate soldiers, making pots and pans out of roofing tin so that soldiers could boil snow into drinking water and boil lice out of their filthy clothing.
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Hundreds of American prisoners died in the camp of exposure or starvation or illness that first winter. The Chinese guards did nothing to tend Kapaun when he became sick; he died in May 1951, two years before the war ended.
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Soldiers who survived have praised Kapaun for decades; some of them have said he deserved not only sainthood but the Medal of Honor, in addition to the lesser Distinguished Service Cross the Army awarded him after his death. - Source
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Fr. Kapaun makes the news today due to the report of a possible miracle attributed to his intercession.
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Chase Kear, a member of the Hutchinson Community College track team, fell on his head during pole vaulting practice in October.
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By the time a helicopter delivered him to Via Christi Regional Medical Center-St. Francis Campus, his family was already frantically praying as they watched the helicopter land. Chase's skull had been cracked from ear to ear, his brain was swelling, and the danger posed by such an injury meant that either the surgery to remove a skull piece or possible infection that might follow would probably kill him.
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Paula and Paul Kear and dozens of other people made regular trips to the chapel at St. Francis to pray, always with the Father Emil Kapaun prayer:
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"Father Emil Kapaun gave glory to God by following his call to the priesthood and thus serving the people of Kansas and those in the military," the prayer says. "Father Kapaun, I ask you intercession not only for Chase Kear... but that I too may follow your example of service to God and my neighbor. For the gifts of courage in battle and perseverance of faith, we give you thanks oh Lord."
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The miracle: Only a few weeks after Chase broke his skull, he walked out of a rehabilitation hospital, shaken but alive. His near-complete recovery stunned all the doctors involved.
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Prompted in part by what the Kear family has said publicly, and partly by a preliminary investigation begun by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, a Vatican investigator named Andrea Ambrosi will arrive from Italy in Wichita on Friday.
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Ambrosi will investigate on behalf of the church whether 20-year-old Chase Kear's survival qualifies as a miracle; whether he survived a severe head injury last year in part because his family and hundreds of friends successfully prayed thousands of prayers to the soul of Father Emil Kapaun, a U.S. Army chaplain from Pilsen, Kan., who died a hero in the Korean War. - Source
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Fr. Kapaun pray for us!
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And happy Father's Day to all priests.
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Photo: Fr. Kapaun. Source.

4 comments:

  1. I'll praying for his intercession when Luke goes to Afghanistan in October.

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  2. Oh what an incredible story. I had not thought of thanking priests on Father's Day. Thank you for reminding us.
    Great idea to stress great men. We do need good men, and good fathers. I do admire single men and women. This is a great vocation. Too many people get married, in my opinion, that should have stayed single.

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  3. What a great pic!!

    After Mass today, way out in the boondocks of WI, people were wishing Father, "Happy Father's Day."

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  4. Do you know of priest Saints who as young boys knew that they were called to be priests? Maximilian Kolbe comes to mind, as does Padre Pio. If you could let me know of others, I'd so appreciate it. Thanks.

    recon@tconl.com

    Great Blog!

    ReplyDelete

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