IRONDALE, Alanta—EWTN Global Catholic Network will observe America’s Independence Day with airings of Called and Chosen: Father Vincent R. Capodanno.
The 90-minute documentary about the life and death of Fr. Capodanno will air on EWTN July 4 at 10 am and 4 pm Eastern time. Produced by Jim Kelty, the film won a Gabriel Award at the Catholic Media Conference in June.
Servant of God Vincent Capodanno was a decorated Navy chaplain who was killed while seeking to provide the sacraments to ambushed Marines in the Vietnam War. His cause for canonization is being pursued by the Archdiocese for Military Services.
Father Capodanno was a Maryknoll priest from the New York City borough of Staten Island. He was nicknamed the “Grunt Padre” for his service to members of the infantry.
While with Maryknoll, Fr. Capodanno served in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and then requested to be reassigned as a chaplain with the U.S. Marine Corps. He was sent to Vietnam in 1966, and requested an extension to his tour of duty when it was up.
The chaplain was killed at the age of 38 on September 4, 1967 in Vietnam’s Que Son Valley after his unit was ambushed by North Vietnamese forces. Despite suffering injuries from mortar fire, including a partly severed hand, he continued to give last rites to the dying and medical aid to the wounded.
In disregard of intense small arms fire, automatic weapons fire, and mortars, Fr. Capodanno rushed about 15 yards to reach a wounded corpsman in the direct line of fire of a North Vietnamese machine gunner. He was killed just before he reached the wounded man.
He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor January 7, 1969.
“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,” said the priest’s Medal of Honor citation.
Some Catholics devoted to Fr. Capodanno have reported favors granted following intercessory prayers to the chaplain. In 2006 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints declared Fr. Capodanno a Servant of God.