Future Navy Chaplain Influenced by Father Capodanno

The Guild continues to explore new and creative means of spreading the word about Father Capodanno and his life. Recently George Phillips, the Guild’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, was requested to be part of a Veteran’s Day event at St. Anastasia’s Parish in Queens, NY. Read about his experience and learn about a new priest that was influenced by Father Capodanno below:

“Gaeta, Italy is a small town near Rome on the west coast of Italy and it was the hometown of the Capodanno family. In 1901, Vincent Robert Capodanno, Sr. immigrated from Gaeta to New York, married Rachel Basile in 1907 and had ten children. The youngest child became Father Vincent Capodanno.

Almost a century later, the U.S. Sixth Fleet command ship, USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), is homeported in Gaeta, and there was a young enlisted sailor on board, Mark Bristol. Mark was surprised to find that there were so many tributes to Father Capodanno in this small Italian town, and this caused him to take an interest in Father Vincent’s life.

Fast forward many years later to November 12, 2018. I was asked to be part of a Veterans Day event at Saint Anastasia Parish in Queens, New York to discuss Father Vincent life, his Cause for Canonization and to show “Called and Chosen.” I was met by Father Mark Bristol, USNR, the Parochial Vicar, in his Navy uniform. In the years since his time in Gaeta, the young sailor studied to be a priest and was ordained. He told me that Father Capodanno was a major influence in discerning his vocation to the priesthood and the chaplaincy.

Around 11:30 folks started showing up and were treated to a fantastic deli lunch and soft drinks. Eventually, there were well over 100 people present including many veterans and their wives, current supporters of our Cause and presenters of Father Vincent’s life, many of whom I had never met, as well as families and children. Father Bristol gave a brief introduction and we proceeded with showing our DVD, “Called and Chosen.” The audience was quickly brought to a peaceful silence during the showing.

After the film I was asked to provide some comments and answer questions. It was clear to me that those present had gained a true appreciation for and understanding of the life of Servant of God, Father Vincent Capodanno, and his Cause for Canonization. Father Bristol and I stayed for over an hour talking to folks, getting our pictures taken, and answering questions. Everyone had prayer cards when they left, and there were many contributions to the Cause.

Thus far, this was the best group of folks I have had the privilege of presenting the life of Father Vincent to.

Later, upon reflection, I see the Grace of God, working through Father Capodanno, changing the life of that young sailor on the Mount Whitney, and the lives of the many supporters at this event – we were all overwhelmed with a feeling of community and grace.

On December 3, 2018 we were informed that Father Bristol was released by the Brooklyn Diocese and will report as an active duty Navy Chaplain on June 30, 2019.”