Maryland priest and Catholic school inspired by heroic faith of Korean War chaplain, Father Emil Kapaun

In past years to honor Father Emil Kapaun, the heroic Korean War chaplain known as the “shepherd in combat boots,” Father Paul Lee, the pastor of the Shrine of St. Jude Parish in Rockville, Maryland, had emulated that late priest’s example by celebrating an outdoor Mass for students at St. Jude Regional Catholic School, with the altar set up on the hood of a Jeep, just as the chaplain had done for troops on the front lines in Korea.

But rain pelting the parish grounds on Sept. 22, 2021 scuttled that plan, and instead St. Jude’s students, teachers, parishioners and visiting members of the military gathered in the shrine to honor the late U.S. Army chaplain whose cause for sainthood is underway, and who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in a 2013 White House ceremony. The Mass opened with four members of an honor guard from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., marching quietly toward the sanctuary.

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