Sunday, May 28, 2006

Father (Lt.) Vincent R. Capodanno, USN, CMOH, Servant of God
FINALLY, a Patron Saint for the Marine Corps?

Excellent article concerning the cause for Sainthood has formally been opened for Medal of Honor awarded "Grunt Padre". I know that my eldest brother will be happy to hear this... he was a 0331 (Marine Corps machine gunner) in Viet-Nam, who served more than one Mass for Fr. Capodanno.

The second posting I ever did on this blog was concerning Father Capodanno and his possible Canonization. Deo Gratis his cause has been officially opened. If you're curious, there I have posted his Medal of Honor citation.

Unfortunately, the news story from Catholic News Service has some errors. Father Capodanno wasn't killed by a sniper... he was killed by a communist North Viet-Namese machine gunner less than 5 feet away from him, as Fr. Capodanno was trying to save the life of a dying comrade. Also the writer committed a cardinal sin against Marines... he referred to Marines as "soldiers".

Anyhow, to read about Fr. Capodanno in the words of those who served with him, go here. Below is a bit of the recollection by Former Marine Ray Harton, Mike Company, 3/5 (3d Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment).

If this doesn't bring a tear to your eye, there's something wrong with you.

Sometime late afternoon we heard scattered fire, we had stopped close to a small hill. Sgt. Peters came running up and told us 1st Platoon had been hit hard and we were going to help them. We ran some, walked some and approached the top of the hill and the carnage started. All I can remember is Sgt. Peters screaming, "Get that Gun!" and I was hit in the left arm that spun me to the ground, another shot shattered my rifle. I was screaming, along with other members of my squad, we were being shot at every move we made.

The machine gun was close, 15 to 25 yards away, in a thicket, part way down the far slope of the small hill or knoll I called it. This very hard for me. I can remember seeing the North Vietnamese troops moving and coming toward me, there were Marines lying all around me, and I was calling for help, while with every beat of my fast pumping heart, my life blood was spurting on the ground. I could hear someone holler "Corpsman!" but every time I would move, that gun would shoot at me, and the other Marines. At a distance, I could see Doc Leal moving from Marine to Marine, and he was looking at me. I knew I was going to die, I was not able to defend myself, and the NVA were coming after me, that was my fear.

Through all the noise and hearing myself scream, someone touched me. I had rolled myself on my left side to put pressure on my left arm and elbow, and someone touched me, it was Fr. Vince. As I looked into his eyes, all things got silent. Not a sound could be heard. No screaming, nothing but the sound of his soft voice, and the look of compassion in his eyes. "Stay calm Marine, someone will be here to help, God is with all of us this day!"

I could see Sgt. Peters laying on the ground, blood coming from his mouth, Corpsman Leal moving in my direction, but I was not scared any longer. I was at peace. Fr. Vince was bare headed, blood on his face and neck, his right hand was mangled with a bloody compress hastily attached. He cupped the back of my head in an attempt to raise me off my arm, when all of a sudden I heard a scream, "my leg, my leg!" and I was back in the war. I glanced over and Corpsman Leal was sitting on the ground screaming about 25 feet from me. Fr. Vince blessed me with his good hand and leaped up and darted to Corpsman Leal. I had come to my senses and was ready to fight, the words "Get that gun!" were still ringing in my head. I made an attempt to move when that gun opened up once more, not at me, but had caught Fr. Vince and Corpsman Leal and ended their lives, a long burst killed my savior, and my friends. Fr. Vince was gone, that image remains foremost in my mind today. And the guilt of being the cause of this God-Like Soul's death haunts me today. I got mad at God and mad at the enemy. I will not go into what happened later between me and that gun [crew].

12 Comments:

Blogger DigiHairshirt said...

Caveman, that was a wonderful story to post on this Memorial Day weekend. I will pray for Fr. Vince - perhaps in these times as we (the Church) face more attacks, we need to remind ourselves even more that we are "the Church Militant."

7:35 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Yep, I had to wipe away the tears. Let's all pray for the good Father to intercede for us so he can get credited with this 2 miracles.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous archmich said...

If JPII makes sainthood, and Fr. Vince does not, I am going to more than pi--ed.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous laragh22@aol.com said...

I was at a recent HS graduation at the shrine in Washington, DC. And I picked up the book and DVD about Father Vincent's life. My uncle (Joe)was in Vietnam, and he needs prayers. And I have a buddy named Christian in Afghanistan. I am glad I came across your writings. Thanks! Laragh22@aol.com

4:19 AM  
Blogger dadwithnoisykids said...

Thanks for blogging about Fr. Cappodanno. I read the book about him, 'The Grunt Padre' by Fr. Dan Mode

God Bless You

1:20 AM  
Blogger Bill Hoog said...

My son just graduated Parris Island (PI) the day before Thanksgiving. He had been at PI for nine months due to various injures. (One of his DI's told him he was on the "installment plan".) I started asking for Fr, Capodanno's intercession for my son.

During his Crucible, he injured his knee by climbing over an obstacle. His right knee cap was dislocated to the side of the knee. It looked like he was going to have to go back to the Medical Rehab Platoon (MRP) and possibly be discharged from PI. He was not looking forward to spending another holiday on PI.

During my son's handling by the corpsmen, his injured knee was banged by accident. He screamed in pain, but his knee cap was back in place! He was able to complete the Crucible and graduate boot camp.

I believe that Fr. Capodanno had a hand in helping my complete his training.

11:47 AM  
Blogger WICatholic said...

Ah, so you also have a love for Fr Capodanno and Fr Solanus Casey.

I am praying for both to be elevated to Sainthood, as well as Ven Matt Talbot.

Fr Solanus was ordained 'simplex' by German superiors because he did not do well in Latin and German. My Irish mother would say it was because he was Irish in a German setting...lol. My German father would spout not true, then whisper to me that he agreed, but 'don't tell your mother'. Fr did more for the Lord in his 'humble' role of Porter/Simplex priest than most do with full ordination.

I have the utmost respect and admiration for Fr Capodanno. He was KIA the same year I graduated from HS.

Fr Dan Mode was my sister's Pastor, and he autographed a copy of his book for us when I was visiting.

4:14 PM  
Blogger ------------------------------ said...

They just don't make 'em like that any more. Here is another Shepherd in Combat boots: Fr. Emil Kapaun. If you can be so kind as to post the link on your blog.
http://www.frkapaun.org/

9:39 PM  
Blogger Tom in Vegas said...

I'm so glad you posted this wonderful story. I did create a link to it on my blog.

Tom

9:33 PM  
Blogger Hako said...

I cannot think of two better candidates for sainthood than Fr. Solanus and Fr. Capodanno.

J
http://kingofages.wordpress.com/

10:23 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

In these trying times it gives me great comfort to read the "Grunt Padre's" story again.

We'll get through this and The Holy Cross WILL be Victorious!!!

3:24 PM  
Blogger That's Just Big Texas Talk, LOL said...

Do you know a Catholic soldier? Does he have survival skills or a trade, construction, cooking, cowboy, farmer, veterinarian, etc? Does he have a big heart? Is he willing to do God's work, to evangelize, feed the poor, visit the imprisoned, care for the sick, orphaned? Would he go a step further and carry out that mission where Christian are not always welcomed?

It is a dangerous job. Strong physical men are needed, men devoted to a life of prayer and Eucharist and hard work, who may risk being captured or imprisoned, or chased into the wilderness. But men, nonetheless, who have taken up the sword, and who are now willing to bury it into a plowshare. Men who are willing to live a life of constancy and obedience out of Love for Our Lord Jesus Christ.

"The way I see it, a man is only good for one oath at a time." -John Wayne

What man is ready to make a vow to live for Christ alone? Contact me directly. We'll work in places where Christians are most persecuted do out preaching with our hands. For the Greater Glory of God.

I've felt for a long time, in the traditions if St. Michael the Archangel, St. Augustine, St. Francis, Sts. Peter and Paul, and Fr Capodanno, a certain call of bravery and fearlessness and chivalry. I enlisted in the Army in 1996, got out in 99, remained with the Reserves until 04 while graduating from college. Then attended seminary for Diocesan priesthood. Yet it never escaped me that I wanted to serve the Church in those same places where we do battle. I want to put my soldierly skills to work for Jesus Christ and His Church, to combat heresy, complacency and evil. Fr. Capodanno is a perfect model of service, a la the soldier-saints who went before him.

Michael Roger
Capodanno Missions
michaelwroger@yahoo.com

2:32 PM  

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