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After more than a decade of work, McConnell Air Force Base Chaplain John Hotze now just waits.
In 1998, Hotze began a quest to identify whether Father Emil Kapaun was a candidate for sainthood. In 2011, he sent more than 8,000 pages of documents to the Congregation of Saints in Rome.
And now he waits.
"When I started the process, I used to say that I hoped it happened in my lifetime. But now I think it is a matter of years, as opposed to a matter of decades," Hotze said. "In doing so, I think it's kind of good that it might take a little time for this to happen, because people can see that with all of this investigation, that beyond doubt, this man truly is a saint of god."
Kapaun was born in 1916 in Pilsen, Kan. In 1940, he became an ordained priest, and two years later became a military chaplain.
He was sent overseas for the first time in 1946, garnering the accolade of being a "soldier's chaplain" from a soldier Hotze had talked to about Kapaun.
"Chaplains weren't required to be on the front lines. They weren't required to go where there was danger," Hotze said. "But he said Father Kapaun always did. He said regardless of where the fighting was, he was there with the men."
Kapaun returned to Kansas, but when the military had a dearth of chaplains, he asked Bishop Carroll if he could go back to it. His request granted, he soon found himself in Korea.
The conflict in Korea escalated. Kapaun and his fellow troops found themselves north of the 38th parallel. They were told to retreat, but Kapaun chose to stay behind with the wounded.
He was captured Nov. 2, 1950.
While imprisoned, Kapaun consoled others. He broke into storage units to steal more rations for captured soldiers. Within six months, Kapaun died. Hotze said a soldier with him in the camp remembers his final days.
"(Kapaun) said, 'don't cry for me, because I'm going to where I've always wanted to go. When I get there, I'll be praying for you,'" Hotze said.
After the war, there was a push from the soldiers in the camp to get Kapaun several military, as well as recognition from the church. The push was rekindled in the 1990s, and Hotze spearheaded the movement.
Hotze discussed the quest for Kapaun's sainthood on KFDI's "At Issue" program with News Anchor Marc Lavoie. The entire interview can be found here.