Rahway Church Promotes Canonization Of Area Military Chaplain

RAHWAY – Sts.Mary/Mark R.C. Parish, Rahway, will hold a Memorial Mass for “Servant of God”, Lt. Vincent R. Capodanno, on Friday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m., according to Fr. Dennis Kaelin, Pastor.

During the Vietnam War, Lt. Capodanno, who was born in Staten Island, N.Y., Feb. 13, 1929, served as an unarmed, non-combatant in six combat operations, fully embracing his “ministry of presence”, as a chaplain among his Marines.  On Sept. 4, 1967, Chaplain Capodanno laid down his life for his fellow Marines, while tending to the wounded and dying on the battlefield, earning him both the Purple Heart and the Congressional Medal of Honor.


He was declared “Servant of God” on May 21, 2006, after a review of his priestly life revealed he had enjoyed a widespread reputation of sanctity.  And after his death, there was ample evidence of graces and favors granted by God through his intercession.

A decree of “Servant of God” is the first step in the cause of Beatification and Canonization (Sainthood) in the Roman Catholic Church, Kaelin said.

The idea of having a Memorial Mass to promote the Canonization of Fr. Capodanno, in St. Mary’s Church was the result of a chance conversation between Fr. Kaelin and parishioner Sal Mione.   They discovered they both had read “The Grunt Padre”, the heroic life story of Capodanno, written by a fellow priest, Fr. Daniel Mode, whom Kaelin had met several years ago while teaching in Arlington, Va.

“It seemed more than a coincidence,” Kaelin said, “It was as if a ‘Perfect Storm’ of elements had come together, for Fr. Capodanno, right here in Rahway: a man of our times up for Sainthood, a Staten Island native, a priest, a military officer, Congressional Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipient.   And here were Sal and I who both read the book of his life and I knew the author.  We knew we had to do something to promote his Cause for Canonization.”

Everyone is invited to attend the Mass on Friday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. in St. Mary’s Church, 232 Central Avenue – especially veterans, Fr. Kaelin said.
For further information, call the Parish Office at 732-388-0082.

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