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New film recalls faith, sacrifice of Maryknoll chaplain killed in Vietnam


Maryknoll Father Vincent R. Capodanno, a Navy chaplain who was killed while serving with the Marines in Vietnam, is pictured in an undated photo. Fifty years after he put himself between a wounded Marine and fatal enemy gunfire, a new documentary recalls the life, faith and sacrifice of the priest, who is a candidate for sainthood. (CNS file photo)

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MARYKNOLL, N.Y. (CNS) -- Fifty years after he put himself between a wounded Marine and fatal enemy gunfire, the story of Maryknoll Father Vincent R. Capodanno's faith and sacrifice is being retold in a new movie.

His memory is cherished by those who knew him, his cause for canonization is promoted by those with whom he served and a new generation of young Catholics in his old neighborhood has come to know the Staten Island native.

Father Capodanno's story may reach its largest audience yet when "Called and Chosen," a 90-minute movie of his life, premieres Aug. 30 on EWTN.

The priest was serving a second tour of duty in Vietnam as a Navy chaplain ministering to Marines when he was wounded during a North Vietnamese ambush in the Que Son Valley Sept. 4, 1967.

Despite his injuries, he went to the aid of a fellow corpsman who was pinned down by an enemy machine gunner. While he administered medical and spiritual attention, the unarmed chaplain was struck by 27 bullets and died at age 38.

He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969, in addition to the Purple Heart, Navy Bronze Star and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.

"He was an amazing man. You couldn't talk to him and ever forget it," George J. Phillips told Catholic News Service. Phillips, a retired Marine Corps captain, was with the chaplain's Marines unit and "on the knoll when Father Capodanno was killed."

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