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The Knights of Columbus have announced the release of a short documentary that highlights the extraordinary life of Servant of God, U.S. Army Chaplain and Medal of Honor recipient Father Emil Kapaun. Titled The Magazine and the Miracle: Finding Father Kapaun, the film presents Fr. Kapaun’s inspiring story of heroism, selfless service to his country, and devotion to Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith.
The KofC fits a lot of storytelling in just 15 minutes, taking viewers through Fr. Kapaun’s daring deeds in World War II and the Korean War, where he would run towards the gunfire to help those who were hurt and in need; his heroic acts saving prisoners of war from slaughter while he himself was a captive; and his death in a Korean POW camp. His life story is further illuminated by interviews with surviving Korean War veterans, historical images, and dramatic reenactments.
This 15-minute film tells of his unshakable faith in captivity, and his efforts to continue to support his fellow prisoners of war, until his tragic death from illness and lack of treatment in May of 1951.
It goes on to tell the incredible story of how Fr. Kapaun’s remains were finally found, identified, and returned to his home-state of Kansas. It was a journey that took his remains around the world, from a shallow grave in the POW camp, to an unmarked tomb in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu’s Punchbowl Crater in 1954, to his final resting place at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, Kansas, in 2021.
A press release describes the unlikely circumstances that allowed Fr. Kapaun’s remains to finally be discovered:
The Magazine and the Miracle shares how in 2003 a Korean war veteran, William Hansen, visited a VA medical clinic in Naples, Florida, and stumbled upon a copy of a Knights of Columbus magazine — believed to be the March 2003 issue of Columbia, which featured an article about Father Kapaun. Hansen immediately recognized the beloved chaplain and recalled burying him in the prisoner of war camp. His testimony then became a significant factor that led to the eventual discovery and identification of Father Kapaun’s remains in Hawaii.
Fr. Kapaun was later named a Servant of God, in 1991, and his cause for sainthood has been open and developing since 2008. For his valor and exceptional service in two wars, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2013, and remains one of only a handful of 20th-century military chaplains who hold the distinction. He continues to be honored by the Knights of Columbus, who have named 23 councils and assemblies after Fr. Kapaun, the first of which was Father Kapaun Council 3423 in his hometown of Pilsen, Kansas, chartered shortly after his death in 1951.
Visit the Knights of Columbus website to watchThe Magazine and the Miracle: Finding Father Kapaun, and learn more about this incredible Servant of God.