On September 4, 2018, the anniversary of Father Capodanno’s heroic death in Vietnam, the annual Memorial Mass was held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.
In his homily, Archbishop Broglio reflected on the essential need we have for the Eucharist, the Sacrament which allows us to enter into “a profound relationship with Jesus which orients our whole life.” He writes: “If we partake of Communion with open heart, we seek to accomplish work of Jesus and to glorify Him and through Him the Father. Henri Nouwen reminded us: ‘God does not only want to enter into human history, converting Himself into a person who lives in an epoch and in a specific country, but also wants to be our daily food and drink in every time and place.’
We look for signposts on that journey to the fullness of life. Father Capodanno is one of those missionary disciples who recognized the Lord Jesus in those who needed him. He sought to protect those who were in danger or uncertain. He exemplified the description that Pope Francis offers of a military chaplain whose role ‘is to accompany and support [the military] ..on their journey, to be a comforting and brotherly presence for them all. You can pour upon these people’s wounds the balm of the Word of God which alleviates suffering and instils hope; and you can offer them the grace of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation, so as to nourish and regenerate the afflicted soul.'”
Later in the homily, the Archbishop cited notes of Father Capodanno’s which can be found in the new biography which was recently published, Armed with the Faith: The Life of Father Vincent R Capodanno, MM. Archbishop Broglio said, “Father Capodanno wrote some notes about trying to give meaning to the mystery of death. Perhaps they are notes for a funeral homily or a memorial service. ‘At an event such as this, willingly or no, consciously or no, our minds grope amid the tragedies and complexities of life looking for an answer. It is with hesitation that we accept the fact: There is no easy answer, there is no glib answer. We are human beings and our view and our knowledge are limited because of our human limitations. We gradually realize we must face these events with Faith in God. Knowing that somehow they work for the good of the persons involved. We cannot fully comprehend how but only that they do.‘”