WICHITA (AP) -- The Catholic Diocese of Wichita is planning a Friday Mass celebrating the end of its investigation for possible sainthood of an Army chaplain who died in a prison camp during the Korean War.
Thousands of documents have been compiled about the Rev. Emil Kapaun, a captain who died in May 1951. They will be sent to the Vatican, which will determine whether Kapaun is elevated to sainthood.
Vatican investigator Andrea Ambrosi is expected to attend the Mass at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.
The Wichita Eagle reports that among miracles some attribute to Kapaun is the 2006 recovery of Avery Gerleman from an auto-immune disorder. The then 12-year-old girl was near death for 87 days in a Wichita hospital while her parents prayed to Kapaun.
The now 17-year-old girl told the newspaper that her parents have told her that her story was meant to show skeptics about God's glory. Avery said that, after thinking about it for a long time, she decided she wanted to turn her survival into something more tangible. She said she wanted to become a doctor or nurse and spend the rest of her life helping the sick.
Avery said she doesn't know whether her recovery was a miracle, but she thinks so.
"It seems weird: Why would God choose me?" she said.
Ambrosi came to Wichita in 2009 to investigate what the church calls "alleged miracles." He interviewed the Gerlemans and the family of Chase Kear, a college track athlete who had inexplicably survived a pole voting accident in October 2008.
Kapaun's candidacy for sainthood had been dormant for decades until Father John Hotze, of Kapaun's old Wichita diocese, reported these two cases.
Her parents, Shawn and Melissa Gerleman, said they told their story to Ambrosi during his visit to Wichita in 2009.
Their medical saga began in October 2009 when their daughter scored a goal at a soccer game, then walked to the sidelines and threw up bright red blood into the grass. Her conditioned worsened and she was put in a drug-induced coma. Her lungs filled with blood, her kidneys shut down.
Her doctors at one point told the couple that their daughter was going to die. Her parents began to pray to Jesus and to Kapaun.
Doctors have since told the Vatican that her recovery is so unusual that there is no other explanation for what happened. They called it a miracle.
Her parents told the newspaper that Kapaun heard their prayers.