Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, left, the case’s postulator from Rome, places his hand on the Bible as he testifies to the authenticity of the investigation of the alleged miracle by Father Capodanno as conducted by the Diocese of Palm Beach. Father Glen Pothier, right, oversees the execution of signatures and sealing of the Sanctorum Mater. (CECILIA PADILLA | FC)

Local diocese concludes inquiry of Navy chaplain’s alleged miracle

Palm Beach Gardens  |  After a yearlong investigation of the alleged miracle attributed to Maryknoll Father Vincent Capodanno, the Diocese of Palm Beach was honored to preside over the case’s closing session July 1 at the Pastoral Center in Palm Beach Gardens. 

Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito was present, along with Father Glen J. Pothier, the diocese’s judicial vicar and appointed episcopal delegate for this case. Bishop Barbarito and Father Pothier welcomed Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, the case postulator from Rome, and Dr. Anthony Dardano, the medical expert used by the diocese for such instances, to the closing’s proceedings. 

The miracle in question was brought to the Diocese of Palm Beach’s attention in August 2018, with information detailing the alleged healing of a local woman who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had fought a long battle with the disease since the mid-2000s. Her identity will remain anonymous, as per her request. 

Father Pothier explained the woman had adopted a strong devotion to Father Vincent Capodanno, a U.S. Navy chaplain who served with the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War and braved enemy fire to administer last rites to dying soldiers. Father Capodanno died carrying out God’s work in 1967 in Operation Swift, which took place at Dong Son village. He was later named a Servant of God in 2006 for his heroism in faith. 

After hearing of the priest’s story, the woman prayed for his intercession in healing throughout her illness. In 2017, her latest MRI showed that the lesions in her brain were gone. She attributes this miraculous healing to the intercession of Father Capodanno. 

Because Father Capodanno served with the U.S. Marines, his overall candidacy for canonization falls under the Archdiocese of Military Services. However, since the alleged miracle occurred in the Diocese of Palm Beach, the local woman’s case was facilitated by the diocese’s tribunal office. 

“I oversaw a series of 11 sessions with all those involved to gather information and review the alleged miracle. These sessions consisted of interviews with the woman’s family, close friends, doctors and a diocesan priest whom she knew well,” Father Pothier said. The woman’s medical history was also reviewed by Dr. Dardano; digital copies of her MRI’s were scrutinized by the doctor and his professional medical opinion was recorded in the investigation. 

At the closing ceremony, the finalized 300-page document was signed and stamped by Bishop Barbarito, Father Pothier, and Father Albert Dello Russo, was appointed ad hoc as the promoter of justice for this case. Father Dello Russo’s duties entailed validating that the entire case proceedings, in accordance with the legal procedures of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. 

Now that the case has been finalized, Father Pothier reflects on the life and faith example set by Father Capodanno. “The fervor of the saints is a tremendous example of how so many have upheld the faith under dire circumstances. Father Capodanno was a man who put his life on the line for the sake of others. He was steadfast in his faith.”  

Should Father Capodanno be deemed worthy to carry on with canonization by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, he will next be beatified and then declared a saint. Father Pothier remarked, “This process is lengthy and will possibly take years for the Vatican to conclude. In the meantime, we ask for the intercession of Father Capodanno in hopes that he continues to intercede for the faithful.”