Father John Hotze of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita has confirmed an Associated Press report that a Vatican official, Italian lawyer Andrea Ambrosi, will return to Kansas on Saturday to finalize an investigation into possible miracles that may determine whether Chaplain Emil Kapaun will become a saint.
The recovery of Avery Gerleman, now a student at Hutchinson Community College, is one case being investigated by the Vatican.
When Gerleman was 12 years old, she was stricken with an autoimmune disorder and wasn’t expected to recover. Her family and friends began praying for Kapaun’s intercession. She has since recovered.
Chase Kear of Colwich is the other case that has been investigated. He recovered from a pole-vaulting injury after family and friends prayed to Kapaun for his intercession.
Ambrosi was in Kansas earlier and interviewed many people, including Gerleman and Kear. After Ambrosi’s visit, the case will be handed over to the Vatican.
According to Amy Pavlacka, a spokeswoman for the Wichita Diocese, it still could be a long while before any decision is made.
“First he must be named a servant of God, and beatified,” Pavlacka said. Kapaun was designated a “servant of God” in 1993.
If one miracle is confirmed, he will be given the title of blessed. Then, if there were proof of a second miracle, he would be canonized as a saint. But if the search determines Kapaun is a martyr, he will automatically be beatified, requiring only one miracle for sainthood.