WASHINGTON, DC — A new biography of Vietnam War hero Father Vincent R. Capodanno is now available on Amazon. Armed with Faith: The Life of Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM, by the Reverend Monsignor Stephen M. DiGiovanni, H.E.D., explores the life of the U.S. Navy chaplain lieutenant from his Italian-American roots and Catholic upbringing on Staten Island, NY, all the way through his foreign missionary service in East Asia to his heroic death at the age of 37 on a Vietnam battlefield while rushing, unarmed, to the aid of wounded and dying U.S. Marines under ambush. Father Capodanno, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his valor in combat, is now under consideration for canonization by the Holy See’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The 228-page biography was reviewed by the Historical Commission of the Cause for Canonization for Father Vincent Capodanno. The Commission, appointed by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, consists of Msgr. DiGiovanni, the Rev. Msgr. Robert F. Trisco, and Capodanno biographer Father Daniel L. Mode.
According to the synopsis on Amazon, “In the midst of the bloodshed and political rancor of the Vietnam War, the example of Servant of God, Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM (1929-1967), stands out, for he was motivated neither by politics, nor by personal ambition, nor by military necessity. His was the dedication of Christ’s priest to the Catholic Church and to others, whether as a Maryknoll missionary in the mountains of Taiwan, as a high school teacher in Hong Kong, or as a chaplain in the United States armed forces to men on the battlefield, dying to self to bring Christ to his Marines. In their fear, despair, and loneliness in the military camps, and in the mud and filth of the battlefield front lines, Father Capodanno was there, even to the point of perfectly imitating Christ by his personal self-sacrifice to save a man in the heat of battle in Vietnam on September 4, 1967. This is his story.”
Monsignor DiGiovanni, who has served as pastor at the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist in Stamford, CT, for the past 20 years, explained how the book came about in a recent “Pastor’s Corner” message in the church bulletin: “Five years ago, I was assigned the task of heading the official historical commission for Father Capodanno’s cause, and writing the priest’s biography, by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio. As the Archbishop for the Military Services, his work is to provide chaplains and pastoral care to the Catholic service men and women and their families around the globe. It is his competence to have begun and oversee the cause of canonization of one of this country’s greatest Catholic chaplains. Two years ago, the cause was formally opened and Father Capodanno has been declared Servant of God. The Church doesn’t ‘make’ saints. After long study, she solemnly declares whether a person actually led a life of exemplary and heroic virtue in imitation of Our Lord. If the judgment is positive, the Church simply announces that the individual can be termed a ‘saint’ as one enjoying eternity with God who raises up heroic men and women in our lives to remind us of His love and promise of eternity to everyone. Please pray for the success of the cause of Servant of God, Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM.”
A priest of the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, CT, Msgr. DiGiovanni is an alumnus of the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He received his doctorate in Church History from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1983. He has served in various parishes, as rector of the diocesan seminary, and as pastor of the Basilica of Saint John in Stamford since 1998. Besides Armed with Faith, Msgr. DiGiovanni is author of numerous other books including Aggiornamento on the Hill Janus: The American College in Rome, 1955-1979; The Second Founder: Bishop Martin J. O’Connor and the Pontifical North American College; and Ignatius: The Life of Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin-Mei. Armed with Faith is available both in paperback and on Kindle.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Broglio will celebrate an annual memorial Mass for Father Capodanno on this, the 51st anniversary of his death, tonight at 6:30 p.m. (EDST) in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Avenue Northeast, in Washington, DC. The back cover of Armed with Faith, quotes Archbishop Broglio’s homily from last year’s 50th anniversary Mass: “No one could risk his life and ultimately be killed to meet the spiritual needs of the Marines if he or she did not believe in the promise of the Kingdom. Father Capodanno brought those unique gifts of the sacraments under fire, because his first concern was to dwell in the house of God forever. You and I want his life and death known, because we believe his example will invite others to stay awake, prepare for the day of the Lord, and be men and women for others. The celebration of the greatness of a figure gone before us is implicitly an invitation to imitate the virtues of that individual. Father Capodanno teaches us the value of commitment and belief. He invites us to give our all in the pursuit of our vocation which is the path the Lord has set for us to share in the joy of His Kingdom.”