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The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier and Korean War Hero [Kindle Edition]

Travis Heying , Roy Wenzl
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Emil Kapaun-priest, soldier and Korean War hero- is a rare man. He has been awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, and is also being considered by the Vatican for canonization as a saint.

As remarkable as this double honor are the non-Catholic witnesses who attest to Father Kapaun's heroism: the Protestants, Jews and Muslims who either served with the military chaplain in the thick of battle or endured with him the unbelievably brutal conditions of a prisoner of war camp. As journalists Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying discovered, all of these Korean War veterans, no matter their religion, agree that Father Kapaun did more to save lives and maintain morale than any other man they know.

Then there are the alleged miracles-the recent healings attributed to Father Kapaun's intercession that defy scientific explanation. Under investigation by the Vatican as a necessary step in the process of canonization, these cures witnessed by non-Catholic doctors are also covered in this book.

In tracking down the story of Father Kapaun for the Wichita Eagle, Wenzl and Heying uncovered a paradox. Kapaun's ordinary background as the son of Czech immigrant farmers in Kansas sowed the seeds of his greatness. His faith, generosity and grit began with his family's humility, thrift and hard work. Lavishly Illustrated with 32 pages of Photos.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A true American Saint 21 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I award five stars for content but could have been written better .the story is confusing when telling about the miracles attributed to Father K.Let's all pray hard for his beatification a wonderful hero and saint
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Book About Fr Kapaun 5 Aug. 2013
By Brian
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was better than expected Brilliant book, value for money. Any further books about Father Email Kapaun. It gives detail about hos life in a prisoner of war camp
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 29 Jun. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A wonderful book full of self sacrifice - a young man who lay down his life for others!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  176 reviews
64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring and Gripping Account 15 April 2013
By Jean M. Heimann - Published on
As a Catholic Kansan, I am very familiar with Venerable Fr. Emil Kapaun. I have viewed Fr. Emil Kapaun's documentary film, visited his parish church and museum, heard homilies centered on his virtues, and have read both newspaper and online accounts of his life. Prior to reading The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier, and Korean War Hero, I was not sure what else I could learn about the man whom I ask to intercede for me and my family daily.

I knew that Fr. Kapaun was a military chaplain and a war hero who had recently been awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during the Korean War. I also knew that he had been a prisoner of war and had helped his fellow prisoners, using the practical skills he acquired growing up on a farm in Pilsen, Kansas to sustain them during this difficult time. What I did not know about Fr. Kapaun were the intimate details of his life, as described by those closest to him. Nor was I aware of the specifics of the alleged miracles that have transpired in the lives of Kansas residents today. Finally, I was unaware of the fact that the Korean War veterans, who served with him, and whose lives were saved by him, had lobbied the Army for more than 60 years to award Kapaun for his acts of bravery. Authors Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying share all of this and more in their new book, The Miracle of Father Kapaun.

Wenzel and Heying have done a thorough job of researching Fr. Kapaun's life, interviewing dozens of men who survived the POW camp because of the courageous acts of this young priest. The POWs share how Kapaun saved hundreds of lives by: repeatedly running through machine gun fire, dragging wounded soldiers to safety, stealing food from his captors to sustain his starving comrades, and shaping roofing tin into cooking pots to boil water, to prevent dysentery. Most of all, when their future appeared hopeless, he gave them hope and a reason to live. Fr. Kapaun's companions portray him as a man who stepped out in faith, performing many astonishing acts of heroism, confounding his captors.

Wenzl and Heying are gifted writers who tell a gripping tale that grabbed my attention at the beginning of the book and held it to the end. This story often kept me on the edge of my seat. The book begins with the battle of Unsan (There is a map included to show where it is located). I knew nothing about this battle prior to reading this chapter, but the authors write with such clarity, ease, and realism, that I felt as if I were right there on the battlefield with the soldiers. Their clear and concise writing style as well as Kapaun's intriguing story of both yesterday and today will motivate you to read this book immediately in one sitting, which is possible to do, as it is short. However, you may want to re-read and savor certain sections of the book. At least that is what I did - simply because they contain brilliant quotes from Fr. Kapaun and stunning samples of his writing.

Because Fr. Kapaun has not yet been canonized and the alleged miracles are just that until they have been approved by the Church, the authors present a very factual, historical account of Kapaun's life. However, this does not at all detract from the story, but made it all the more interesting for me. What was particularly appealing to me is the fact that the authors present Fr. Kapaun as a very human individual, sharing his foibles and faults, rather than falsely depicting him as a plaster-perfect saint with whom no one can identify or emulate. I also enjoyed the humorous anecdotes that are shared by friends and neighbors that make Fr. Kapaun so genuine and so likeable.

In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this inspirational and gripping account of Venerable Fr. Emil Kapaun, Catholic priest, Korean War hero, and recipient of the nation's highest award for bravery. He was a man of few words, but much action. Fr. Kapaun is someone we all can model ourselves after through our loving service to those in our everyday lives. The Miracle of Father Kapaun is an excellent book that I highly recommend for both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Warm story 3 May 2013
By B. Conyers - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wenzl and Heying have written a warm story about a man that you will feel is your good friend by the time you reach the last page! This writing team have that gift of weaving facts of history, stories shared by Kapaun's friends and fellow POWs, and his unique spirituality into a story that you will need "just another minute" before putting down. And the last several chapters will absolutely keep you in your seat!

Father Kapaun (Kuh-PAWN), Servant of God, comes alive in these pages that is well worth sharing with all Christians, and even non-believers. This pipe-smoking "priest, soldier and friend" had a very personable sense of humor! Read to find out how he uses Latin to make his fellow soldiers smile. He encouraged friends to ask St. Dismas to help him become a good thief so that he could steal food for the starving prisoners. ALL of the pictures show him with a warm smile...and some with him holding a pipe that had been shot in half...but he was still smiling.

It is easy to preach on the subjects of love and forgiveness from a beautiful church pulpit with friends smiling and listening. Kapaun preached from such pulpits in Kansas, but also shared his message of God's love for all mankind, His call to us to forgive others and to love our enemies from a make-do pulpit within the prison camp while he was cold, weak and sick. He was speaking to a group of men who were starving and lonely for friends and family while their enemies watched from their posts. Father Kapaun brought these POWs Jesus and brought them the hope they needed to face another day. Of this there can be no doubt as these writers have interviewed some of those POWs that lived to tell his story. Several survived with gratitude to Father for saving their lives, and he is credited with saving perhaps hundreds of lives during his time in the Korean War. Those friends still living were greatly pleased to see Father Kapaun receive the United States Medal of Honor, April 2012.

Father knew no denominational bounds. He sought, as Jesus did, to be a friend first and then to, perhaps, "offer a little prayer" for any and all his comrades. I was touched that he offered Last Rites in English (when they were most generally spoken in Latin) to those who were close to death, so that everyone could hear and understand the words of promise and comfort. He brought the Holy Eucharist right out on the field to the soldiers and used his jeep as an altar.

He was quoted as saying: "Christ's works testified to what He was; our works will testify to what we are." (page 31). Father indeed practiced what he preached through his works and ended up giving his life for what he believed in: love of God, neighbor and forgiving our enemies. While he is not yet considered a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church, I have to wonder if someday he won't be considered the Saint of Forgiveness, as he has shown us it is a reality that Jesus can live within the heart of man to the point he can ask forgiveness of his enemies as he dies at their hands.

This book, along with Msgr. Arthur Tonne's "The Story of Chaplain Kapaun" which contains a good number of letters from Father Kapaun give readers a good picture of a fine Kansas Man of God. After you get to "know" him through these pages, you will want to ask him to carry your worries and prayers to God. He is not only an outstanding American Soldier, but a Soldier of God as well.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actual Happenings 23 Aug. 2013
By Jo Ann Siebert - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My husband was in the same prison camp as Father Kapun was; and many of the things related in the story, were the same things my husband had told me about.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chaplain Saint? 4 May 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Other reviews are critical of the writing; it might be easier to take if one realizes this is a book created from newspaper articles. And there are some formatting errors (specifically, section breaks that fall a paragraph too soon in the final chapters).

But it isn't about all that. The story of Fr. Emil Kapaun is an inspiration. Any soldier or former soldier who has studied combat, trained for combat, or most importantly, *experienced* combat will appreciate the courage and plain divine intervention required for a man to repeatedly walk beyond his lines to rescue wounded comrades, under fire, without being wounded.

But the really miraculous work done by Fr. Kapaun is recounted by his fellow prisoners of war. Again, any soldier, sailor or airman who has learned the Code Of Conduct ("I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard or country and our way of life...") will recognize its genesis in the conduct of the good Father. His bravery, ingenuity, and contribution to the survival of his comrades, even after his death, are the embodiment of the Code.

He was a great man. And if the miracles being attributed to his intervention are found credible...he will be a Saint.

Father Emil Kapaun, pray for us!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible story 20 April 2013
By C.Roy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Great story of a future saint. Very well documented. I am glad he was recently awarded the Congressional medal for his family and friends.
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