The cause for sainthood for Maryknoll Father Vincent Capodanno, a U.S. Navy chaplain killed ministering to wounded Marines on a Vietnam War battlefield, has moved slightly forward, say those advocating canonization for the man they called the “grunt padre.”
When Capt. Francis Xavier Egan served as a U.S. Air Force pilot in the Vietnam War, he carried a set of rosary beads with him wherever he went. He had those beads on him when he was shot down and killed by the Viet Cong on Dec. 19, 1972.
Mike Rauh, 75, a lifelong Catholic from City Island (the Bronx), runs his 43rd New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 6. A native of Queens, Rauh especially likes running through Brooklyn where seeing the numerous church steeples gives him a boost.
On the 55th anniversary of his death in Vietnam, Maryknoll Father Vincent Capodanno was remembered at a Mass celebrated in his hometown in a chapel that bears his name.
Members of the Father Capodanno Guild recently were startled by a recommendation from Theological Consultants for a “suspension” of the chaplain’s cause for sainthood. The consultants said more information is needed to support the new “offering of life” path to sainthood established in 2017 by Pope Francis.
In 1972, Phan Thị Kim Phúc, then age 9, was horribly disfigured by a napalm strike on her village in South Vietnam. A famous photo of her fleeing the carnage, naked, left her feeling ashamed and isolated. She contemplated suicide. But now, 50 years later, she rejoices in the truth that “God had a plan.”
For the way he lived, and the way he died, there are those who believe that Father Vincent Capodanno deserves to be beatified and ultimately canonized as a saint.