Skip to comments.Mass at National Shrine to honor Servant of God and heroic Navy chaplain
Posted on 08/18/2009 3:23:23 PM PDT by NYer
.- Servant of God Fr. Vincent Capodanno, a U.S. Navy chaplain whose heroic ministry to U.S. Marines in Vietnam won him the nickname the Grunt Padre and a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor, will be remembered with a Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the evening of September 3.
The organization CatholicMil.org, which is dedicated to supporting Catholics in the U.S. armed forces, told CNA that Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services will celebrate the Mass in the Crypt Church of the Shrine at 7:00 p.m. Veterans who served with the chaplain and members of the Capodanno family are also among the confirmed attendees.
Fr. Capodanno was born on Staten Island in New York City to Italian immigrant parents. In 1957 he was ordained a Catholic priest by Cardinal Francis Spellman, then vicar of the U.S. Military Ordinariate.
He entered the Maryknoll religious order and served as a missionary in Taiwan and Hong Kong from 1958 to 1965. Having successfully petitioned his Maryknoll superiors to release him to serve as a U.S. Navy chaplain, he arrived in Vietnam during Holy Week of 1966.
Holding the rank of Lieutenant, Fr. Capodanno participated in seven combat operations. He became known for putting the well-being of Marines above his personal safety, moving among those wounded and dying on the battlefield in order to provide medical aid, comfort, and Last Rites.
During Operation Swift on September 4, 1967 Fr. Capodanno was injured by an exploding mortar round which caused multiple injuries on his arms and legs and severed part of his right hand.
The chaplains Medal of Honor citation says that despite his injuries he steadfastly refused all medical aid. The priest directed Marines to help the wounded and continued to move about the battlefield, encouraging Marines with his words and example.
Upon encountering a wounded corpsman in the direct line of fire of an enemy machine gunner positioned approximately 15 yards away, Lt. Capodanno rushed a daring attempt to aid and assist the mortally wounded corpsman, the citation continues. At that instant, only inches from his goal, he was struck down by a burst of machine gun fire.
According to CatholicMil.orgs account, the priest died while using his body to shield a wounded corpsman from enemy fire.
Memorials to Fr. Capodanno quickly sprang up after his death. His name has been given to Staten Islands main thoroughfare, many chapels, sons of Marines, Knights of Columbus Councils and Assemblies, and an order of the Purple Heart chapter.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, the priest was awarded three Purple Hearts. His name is also on Panel 25, line 95 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Capodanno was declared a Servant of God in 2006, marking his first step toward canonization.
The official website for Fr. Capodannos beatification cause is at http://www.VincentCapodanno.org
Wonderful! I wish I could be there.
We went to U.S. Navy chapels for a good part of my childhood, and I remember many fine Chaplains of several different denominations.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, Chaplain Corps, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF. Place and date: Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, 4 September 1967. Entered service at: Staten Island, N.Y. Born: 13 February 1929, Staten Island, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Chaplain of the 3d Battalion, in connection with operations against enemy forces. In response to reports that the 2d Platoon of M Company was in danger of being overrun by a massed enemy assaulting force, Lt. Capodanno left the relative safety of the company command post and ran through an open area raked with fire, directly to the beleaguered platoon. Disregarding the intense enemy small-arms, automatic-weapons, and mortar fire, he moved about the battlefield administering last rites to the dying and giving medical aid to the wounded. When an exploding mortar round inflicted painful multiple wounds to his arms and legs, and severed a portion of his right hand, he steadfastly refused all medical aid. Instead, he directed the corpsmen to help their wounded comrades and, with calm vigor, continued to move about the battlefield as he provided encouragement by voice and example to the valiant marines. Upon encountering a wounded corpsman in the direct line of fire of an enemy machine gunner positioned approximately 15 yards away, Lt. Capodanno rushed a daring attempt to aid and assist the mortally wounded corpsman. At that instant, only inches from his goal, he was struck down by a burst of machine gun fire. By his heroic conduct on the battlefield, and his inspiring example, Lt. Capodanno upheld the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.