“Servant of God Fr. Vincent Capodanno will be a great inspiration to Christendom students because they are young, have high ideals, and are looking for a challenge,” says Arlington Diocese priest Fr. Daniel Mode, the progenitor for Fr. Capodanno’s cause for sainthood. Fr. Mode recently initiated a project with the college to dedicate a stained-glass window of Fr. Capodanno for the new Christ the King Chapel.
Fr. Capodanno’s story began in 1929 when he was born to Italian immigrant parents, who raised him in a faith-centered home, igniting within him a desire to serve others through the priesthood. Answering his call to foreign missionary work, Fr. Capodanno joined the Maryknoll Fathers and was sent to Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Entering the chaplaincy for the United States Navy in 1965, he distinguished himself through his heroic sacrifices for those young men in his care, his personal holiness, and selfless dedication to his duty. His dedication came to ultimate fruition during his 18-month tour in Vietnam from 1966-1967 when he died from 27 bullet wounds while administering medical and spiritual care to a wounded fellow soldier.
Fr. Mode, who also serves as a Navy chaplain, was thrilled when Dr. O’Donnell asked if he would be interested in lead-ing an effort to dedicate a window in the new chapel to Fr. Capodanno.
“A stained-glass window inspires people. It’s a type of Catholic ‘poster’ that points you to something, involves you in something,” Fr. Mode explains. “So I always thought in the back of my mind that it would be great to have a stained-glass window of Father Capodanno.”
Fr. Mode believes it is necessary for young people to have authentic examples of Christian life, as many college-aged young adults feel incapable of changing things in today’s amoral culture.
“A lot of people give up because they think ‘Oh, I’m only one person – how can I make a difference?’” he reflects. “But we see time and time again how one person can make such a huge difference. Look at Fr. Capodanno – it’s amazing how many people he has inspired, not only when he was living, but also after his death. It’s amazing how ripple effects from one stone thrown into a pond will affect the whole pond. Never doubt the positive effect you can have even as one person.”
For more information on the Christ the King Chapel Project, please visit campaign.christendom.edu.