• Chaplain Kapaun carried this small brass pyx on his person in the POW camp until it was confiscated by his Chinese captors and made into a child's toy. Kapaun always carried the pyx inside the prison camp in case he needed to administer the Holy Communion to the sick and dying. Following his death, Kapaun's fellow prisoners-of-war convinced their captors to return the pyx. Kapaun received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his acts of selfless service in providing aid and comfort to the wounded during the battle of Unsan during the Korean War. The missal would have been used by Fr. Kapaun when he was saying mass.

    Pyx and missal

    Chaplain Kapaun carried this small brass pyx on his person in the POW camp until it was confiscated by his Chinese captors and made into a child's toy. Kapaun always carried the pyx inside the prison camp in case he needed to administer the Holy...

  • The white surplice would have been worn over the black cassock and priestly garb of the day. This surplice features hand-stitched embroidery, perhaps added to the garment by Emil's mother, Elizabeth.

    White surplice

    The white surplice would have been worn over the black cassock and priestly garb of the day. This surplice features hand-stitched embroidery, perhaps added to the garment by Emil's mother, Elizabeth.

  • This banner, sent home by Chaplain Kapaun, depicts the elements of the Republic of Korea flag.

    Korean banner cloth

    This banner, sent home by Chaplain Kapaun, depicts the elements of the Republic of Korea flag.

  • Chaplain Kapaun was meticulous in his celebration of the Sacraments, as evidenced by his notes in the margins of these books.

    Liturgical prayers and services book

    Chaplain Kapaun was meticulous in his celebration of the Sacraments, as evidenced by his notes in the margins of these books.

  • Part of the Mass readings, Homilies are usually composed and delivered by the presiding priest. Many of the artifacts from Father Kapaun are typed out in the manner shown by these homilies, single-spaced with handwritten corrections.

    Homilies

    Part of the Mass readings, Homilies are usually composed and delivered by the presiding priest. Many of the artifacts from Father Kapaun are typed out in the manner shown by these homilies, single-spaced with handwritten corrections.

  • The white surplice would have been worn over the black cassock and priestly garb of the day. This surplice features hand-stitched embroidery, perhaps added to the garment by Emil's mother, Elizabeth.

    White surplice

    The white surplice would have been worn over the black cassock and priestly garb of the day. This surplice features hand-stitched embroidery, perhaps added to the garment by Emil's mother, Elizabeth.

  • These commemorative prayer cards come from Kapaun's first Mass, which he delivered on June 20, 1940 in Pilsen, Kan.  Nearly 1,200 people attended Fr. Kapaun's first mass in a church that was built to hold 600; many churchgoers stood outside or in the church hall.

    First Mass prayer cards

    These commemorative prayer cards come from Kapaun's first Mass, which he delivered on June 20, 1940 in Pilsen, Kan. Nearly 1,200 people attended Fr. Kapaun's first mass in a church that was built to hold 600; many churchgoers stood outside or in the...

  • This original copy of the Saturday Evening Post features an article titled, The Ordeal of Chaplain Kapaun, by Kapaun's fellow prisoner-of-war Mike Dowe. After he was repatriated, Dowe championed the effort to award Kapaun with the Medal of Honor. The story published by Dowe chronicles the service and sacrifice of Chaplain Kapaun during his prison camp internment, when Kapaun acted as a spiritual leader to hundreds of men.

    Saturday Evening Post article, 1954

    This original copy of the Saturday Evening Post features an article titled, The Ordeal of Chaplain Kapaun, by Kapaun's fellow prisoner-of-war Mike Dowe. After he was repatriated, Dowe championed the effort to award Kapaun with the Medal of Honor. The...

  • Chaplain Kapaun sailed on the USS General H.M. Patrick from Seattle to Japan in January of 1950.

    Newsletter from USS General H.M. Patrick

    Chaplain Kapaun sailed on the USS General H.M. Patrick from Seattle to Japan in January of 1950.

  • When he was not ministering to his fellow Soldiers, Kapaun would write letters to his family and friends at home in Pilsen, Kan. Many times, if a serviceman died in battle, Kapaun would write personal letters to their next-of-kin, reassuring them that their loved one had died in the presence of a priest and with the consolation of the last rites.

    Letters to home

    When he was not ministering to his fellow Soldiers, Kapaun would write letters to his family and friends at home in Pilsen, Kan. Many times, if a serviceman died in battle, Kapaun would write personal letters to their next-of-kin, reassuring them that...

  • Emil Kapaun's hometown of Pilsen, Kan. is a traditionally Bohemian/Czech community. While Kapaun's parents insisted on speaking English in their home, many Pilsen residents did not. During Emil's childhood, the pastor of St. John Nepomucene parish in Pilsen spoke Bohemian/Czech. When he would visit the local school and quiz students on their religion lessons, he questioned them in Bohemian/Czech. The young Emil Kapaun would have picked up some of the Bohemian tongue, but when he was studying to be a priest and upon his return to serve in his home parish in Pilsen, he took classes in Bohemian/Czech so that he could celebrate Mass in that tongue.

    Yellow Czech book

    Emil Kapaun's hometown of Pilsen, Kan. is a traditionally Bohemian/Czech community. While Kapaun's parents insisted on speaking English in their home, many Pilsen residents did not. During Emil's childhood, the pastor of St. John Nepomucene parish in...

  • This original copy of the Saturday Evening Post features an article titled, The Ordeal of Chaplain Kapaun, by Kapaun's fellow prisoner-of-war Mike Dowe.    After he was repatriated, Dowe championed the effort to award Kapaun with the Medal of Honor. The story published by Dowe chronicles the service and sacrifice of Chaplain Kapaun during his prison camp internment, when Kapaun acted as a spiritual leader to hundreds of men.

    Saturday Evening Post article, 1954

    This original copy of the Saturday Evening Post features an article titled, The Ordeal of Chaplain Kapaun, by Kapaun's fellow prisoner-of-war Mike Dowe. After he was repatriated, Dowe championed the effort to award Kapaun with the Medal of Honor...

  • These notes, written in Kapaun's own hand, are from his days at Kenrick seminary school in Missouri.

    Seminary class notes

    These notes, written in Kapaun's own hand, are from his days at Kenrick seminary school in Missouri.

  • This stole would have been used by Chaplain Kapaun as he administered the Sacraments to the prisoners-of-war.

    Stole

    This stole would have been used by Chaplain Kapaun as he administered the Sacraments to the prisoners-of-war.

  • Chaplain Kapaun's father, Enos, was of German/Bohemian ancestry, and Kapaun's paternal grandmother spoke German. Emil studied German in school and kept a diary written in German as an assignment for that class

    English/German dictionary

    Chaplain Kapaun's father, Enos, was of German/Bohemian ancestry, and Kapaun's paternal grandmother spoke German. Emil studied German in school and kept a diary written in German as an assignment for that class

  • Emil Kapaun's hometown of Pilsen, Kan. is a traditionally Bohemian/Czech community. While Kapaun's parents insisted on speaking English in their home, many Pilsen residents did not. During Emil's childhood, the pastor of St. John Nepomucene parish in Pilsen spoke Bohemian/Czech. When he would visit the local school and quiz students on their religion lessons, he questioned them in Bohemian/Czech. The young Emil Kapaun would have picked up some of the Bohemian tongue, but when he was studying to be a priest and upon his return to serve in his home parish in Pilsen, he took classes in Bohemian/Czech so that he could celebrate Mass in that tongue

    Yellow Czech book

    Emil Kapaun's hometown of Pilsen, Kan. is a traditionally Bohemian/Czech community. While Kapaun's parents insisted on speaking English in their home, many Pilsen residents did not. During Emil's childhood, the pastor of St. John Nepomucene parish in...

  • During his time serving in Japan, Chaplain Kapaun and his unit camped near Mt. Fuji. Kapaun seemed taken with Japan, and in many letters home, he relayed the pleasant aspects of the country and culture

    Painted Japanese scarf

    During his time serving in Japan, Chaplain Kapaun and his unit camped near Mt. Fuji. Kapaun seemed taken with Japan, and in many letters home, he relayed the pleasant aspects of the country and culture

  • Kapaun would have used these linens during Mass.

    Ceremonial linens

    Kapaun would have used these linens during Mass.

  • These knives are fashioned from the steel shank arches inside military-issued boots from the Korean War. At the Pyoktong POW camp, Marine Corps Maj. Gerald Fink used the knives to carve a crucifix in honor of Chaplain Kapaun. Chaplain Kapaun inspired Fink, and Soldiers of many faiths, to stay strong during their captivity. Fink and other former prisoners-of-war smuggled the Kapaun crucifix out of Pyoktong at the end of the conflict and brought it to Pilsen, Kan.  It now hangs at Kapaun Mount Carmel High School in Wichita, Kan.

    Prison camp knives

    These knives are fashioned from the steel shank arches inside military-issued boots from the Korean War. At the Pyoktong POW camp, Marine Corps Maj. Gerald Fink used the knives to carve a crucifix in honor of Chaplain Kapaun. Chaplain Kapaun inspired...

  • This hat was worn by Chaplain Kapaun during his period of service, between 1944-1946 during WWII. Following his service in WWII, Chaplain Kapaun earned a Master's Degree at Catholic University in Washington, DC. Kapaun wrote his Bishop in Wichita, Kan., during the course of his studies, and requested permission to return to military duty as a chaplain. At the end of his studies, The Bishop instead assigned Kapaun to a parish in Timken, Kan. After six months as pastor at Timken, Kapaun again wrote to the bishop that while he loved his work in Timken, his conscience told him that his priestly duty was in the Service. The bishop granted his request and Chaplain Kapaun reenlisted in the United States Army in late 1948.

    Army dress hat

    This hat was worn by Chaplain Kapaun during his period of service, between 1944-1946 during WWII. Following his service in WWII, Chaplain Kapaun earned a Master's Degree at Catholic University in Washington, DC. Kapaun wrote his Bishop in Wichita...

  • These documents certify and confirm Chaplain Kapaun's baptism at St. John's Nepomuance Church on May 21, 1916 in Pilsen, Kan.

    Certificate of baptism and notice of confirmation

    These documents certify and confirm Chaplain Kapaun's baptism at St. John's Nepomuance Church on May 21, 1916 in Pilsen, Kan.

  • Priests wear chasubles as an outer vestment when celebrating Mass. These chasubles would have been used by Chaplain Kapaun when he was in Korea.  They are from the same set of chasubles as the white one depicted in the picture of Chaplain Kapaun celebrating mass on his jeep.

    Purple Chasuble

    Priests wear chasubles as an outer vestment when celebrating Mass. These chasubles would have been used by Chaplain Kapaun when he was in Korea. They are from the same set of chasubles as the white one depicted in the picture of Chaplain Kapaun...

  • This book would have been used by Chaplain Kapaun while he was serving his church in Pilsen. Throughout are handwritten notes by Chaplain Kapaun.

    Roman ritual book

    This book would have been used by Chaplain Kapaun while he was serving his church in Pilsen. Throughout are handwritten notes by Chaplain Kapaun.

  • The prisoners in Camp No. 5 at Pyoktong were on a diet of millet and occasionally, cracked corn. This bag is about one day's rations, or 450 grams of millet. Millet can only be digested when it is cooked, but because the men were not allowed to build fires, the millet was often eaten raw and therefore held no nutritional value. The starvation diet led to malnutrition and disease within the prison camp. As a boy in Pilsen, young Emil Kapaun learned to repair farm implements. He used this skill inside the Korean prison camp, fashioning cooking utensils and dishes from scrap metal, and cooking millet for men over small fires, which  he built in the face of punishment.

    Bag of millet

    The prisoners in Camp No. 5 at Pyoktong were on a diet of millet and occasionally, cracked corn. This bag is about one day's rations, or 450 grams of millet. Millet can only be digested when it is cooked, but because the men were not allowed to build...

  • These notes, written in Kapaun's own hand, are from his days at Kenrick seminary school in Missouri.

    Seminary class notes

    These notes, written in Kapaun's own hand, are from his days at Kenrick seminary school in Missouri.

  • Priests wear chasubles as an outer vestment when celebrating Mass. These chasubles would have been used by Chaplain Kapaun when he was in Korea. They are from the same set of chasubles as the white one depicted in the picture of Chaplain Kapaun celebrating mass on his jeep.

    Green Chasuble

    Priests wear chasubles as an outer vestment when celebrating Mass. These chasubles would have been used by Chaplain Kapaun when he was in Korea. They are from the same set of chasubles as the white one depicted in the picture of Chaplain Kapaun...

  • Chaplain Kapaun sailed on the USS General H.M. Patrick from Seattle to Japan in January of 1950.

    Newsletter from USS General H.M. Patrick

    Chaplain Kapaun sailed on the USS General H.M. Patrick from Seattle to Japan in January of 1950.

Page last updated Wed April 10th, 2013 at 00:00