As Vice Commander of Father Capodanno Chapter 1101 Military Order of the Purple Heart Staten Island NY a mass will be held this Sunday in memory of the Grunt Padre , as he was called, who was killed in Vietnam on September 4th 1967.
The mass will be held at Fort Wadsworth at the father Capodanno church at 0900
Across the country at various churchs etc Father Capodanno will be remembered to include a Mass for the repose of the soul of Fr. Capodanno will be offered by Archbishop Timothy Broglio on September 3, 2009 at 7:00pm in the Crypt Church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC . Email VincentCapodanno@yahoo.com
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Father Capodanno's brother Jimmy a Marine just turned 90 years old.
Operation Swift veterans who served with US Navy LT Fr. Capodanno and members of the Capodanno family are among those confirmed to attend the 7:00pm September 3rd Mass for Servant of God Fr. Capodanno offered at the Crypt Church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC with Archbishop Timothy Broglio as main celebrant. Born in Staten Island New York to Italian immigrants, Fr. Vincent attended Public School 44. In high school, he discerned his vocation to the priesthood and in 1957 was ordained a Catholic priest by Cardinal Spellman, vicar of the US Military Ordinariate. He entered Maryknoll and served as a missionary in Taiwan and Hong Kong from 1958 to 1965. Fr. Capodanno petitioned Maryknoll religious superiors to release him to serve as a US Navy Chaplain. His first duty assignment was to Vietnam, where he arrived during Holy Week of 1966.
US Navy Lieutenant Fr. Capodanno participated in combat operations, including Operation Montgomery, Operation Mobile, Operation Franklin, Operation Fresno, Operation Golden Fleece and Operation Rio Blanco. His seventh was Operation Swift.
Putting the well-being of his Marines above his personal safety, Fr. Capodanno moved among the battlefield wounded and dying to provide medical aid, a word of comfort, and Last Rites. Receiving shrapnel wounds to his face and arm which nearly severed his hand, Fr. Capodanno continued tending to the 3/5 Marines.
During Operation Swift, on September 4, 1967, Fr. Capodanno laid down his life, using his body to shield a wounded warrior from nearby enemy fire. Having earned three Purple Hearts, Capodanno was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Memorials sprang up almost immediately after his death, the first being a chapel in Tawain. In 1969, San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard dedicated Capodanno Hall which serves as a Bachelor Officers' Quarters. His brother, Phillip Capodanno, unveiled the plaque which reads:
"Lieutenant Capodanno made the ultimate sacrifice ministering to the wounded and dying during savage fighting in Vietnam. He has become the third chaplain in our country's history to receive the Medal of Honor and the second Navy chaplain to be so honored".
Today, Staten Island's main thoroughfare, numerous chapels, the USS Capodanno FF-1093, sons of Marines, Knights of Columbus Councils and Assemblies, and an Order of the Purple Heart chapter all bear his name. His name remains among the Marines he served, on Panel 25, Line 95 of the Vietnam Wall.
In May 2006, the Catholic Church publically recognized Capodanno as Servant of God.
CatholicMil.org, petitioner for the Cause of Fr. Capodanno, is sponsoring an evening Mass and following reception for Fr. Capodanno held at the National Shrine's Crypt Church September 3rd, 7:00pm, the eve of the anniversary of his ultimate sacrifice. All are invited. Military personnel are encouraged to attend in the uniform of the day. Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services will be the main celebrant.
For more information on Servant of God Fr. Vincent Capodanno, LT, CHC, USNR, visit the Official Website for the Cause at www.VincentCapodanno.org .
The full text of Fr. Vincent Capodanno's MOH citation reads:
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