The Journal – Fall 2021 – Making a Home for Father Kapaun

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What kind of leadership will it take for Kansas to build upon the story and legacy of a candidate for Catholic sainthood?

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The remains of the Rev. Emil Kapaun, a revered chaplain and a candidate for Catholic sainthood, have returned home to Kansas. But to Wichita, not to his hometown of Pilsen. That has been a tough pill to swallow for some residents of the Marion County hamlet of fewer than 100 people. But Kapaun’s descendants say the town isn’t ready for an influx of visitors retracing the courageous priest’s short life.

And they might not be alone in having preparations to make in the years and decades to come. While there are more than 10,000 saints in the Roman Catholic Church, the United States can claim only around a dozen. A growing interest in Kapaun’s life and legacy could bring many thousands of visitors to the region, especially if he continues on the path to canonization.

Other stories examine:

  • Dealing with a lack of Hispanic or Latino teachers in Kansas K-12 classrooms
  • The increasingly partisan influence on local nonpartisan races in places such as Wichita
  • The complex challenge of addressing food deserts in urban areas
  • Paths for providing more affordable housing in Johnson County as well as mid-sized cities and small-towns in Kansas
  • Whether the process of redrawing legislative boundaries can be made less divisive

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