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Mural pays tribute to Father Kapaun

A mural of Father Emil Kapaun will be unveiled today at Newman University, Wichita, after a Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Jackels at St. John’s Chapel.

The 12-foot mural, four years in the making, is the latest work in the Wichita Diocese to honor the Pilsen native, whom the Vatican is considering for sainthood.

The mural was created by Wendy Lewis. She had not known his story until the church asked her to paint the mural, but she said painting Kapaun deeply moved her.

After reading about his life and death in North Korean prisoner-of-war camps, she told the Wichita Eagle, “I cried. I cried a lot.”

The mural is a prison camp scene in which Kapaun is reaching out to Christ. The faces of eight other people, including Jesus, also are depicted.

Lewis kept in touch with Kapaun’s brother, Eugene, and sister-in-law, Helen, during the project. Their memories of Kapaun helped her bring out his character in the painting.

“You can see how I labored when you see his face,” she said.

Last modified Aug. 6, 2009

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