Those congregating in the small town of Pilsen in Marion County are calling for the sainthood of one very special Kansas veteran.
Father Emil Kapaun, a World War II and Korean War chaplain has been called a war hero. Local residents would like to see him named a saint.
The ties to Father Kapaun run deep in the town of Pilsen and in the Saint John Nepomucene Church, where they celebrate Mass in Kapaun's honor.
Kapaun grew up in Pilsen and in the church. After seminary, he was a priest at the church before becoming a military chaplain.
While stationed in Korea, Chaplain Kapaun chose to stay with the wounded instead of fleeing, knowing they would fall into the hands of the enemy.
Kapaun ended up in a North Korean prisoner of war camp where he died. The cause to cannonize Father Kapaun officially opened in June.
Two commissions are working on it. One is a theological commission to review all of Kapaun's written work to make certain it was doctrinally correct. The second is a historical commission collecting material relating to his life to certify that he lived a life of sanctity and virtue.
"And once we're able to establish that we'll send everything over to Rome and the congregation of saints will review everything. It will ultimately be
the decision of the congregation of saints and the decision of the pope as
to whether or not Father Kapaun can be named a saint," said Father John Hotze, Director of the Father Kapaun Guild.
Area residents say Father Kapaun was a saint as they press onward for that official designation.