A documentary chronicling the life of Staten Island native Father Vincent R. Capodanno, M.M., may be of great interest to New Yorkers, as portions of the 90-minute production were shot on location in the archdiocese.
James Kelty, writer and director of “Called and Chosen—Father Vincent R. Capodanno,” told CNY that he strived to emphasize the effects of Father Capodanno’s upbringing on Staten Island at a time, before the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was built, when people “could only get to the big city by ferry.”
“That kind of helped shape life and his attitudes, maybe, a little bit,” Kelty said.
Kelty marveled at the story of Maryknoll, where Vincent studied for the priesthood. “The work those men have done over the years, in far-flung places around the world, is really impressive,” said Kelty, a Catholic from Cambria, Calif.
To capture the essence and scale of Maryknoll, Kelty sent a drone there, including through a corridor where portraits of deceased Maryknoll priests who lost their lives while on mission hang in honor. He also spoke with Father Raymond Finch, M.M., Maryknoll’s superior general.
Walking the grounds where Father Capodanno did was helpful to Kelty, who stayed overnight on Maryknoll’s campus in Ossining during that stage of the production.
“I woke up in the morning looking out, seeing, I would imagine, things that he’d seen.”
Another remarkable moment occurred when they filmed his baptismal registry, Kelty said, and “realized that had been written in when he was being held there as a little baby.”
The drone was also used to document the Staten Island neighborhood, where young Vincent went to grade school and high school, the swimming pool where he served as a lifeguard as well as the bridge his funeral cortege passed over.
“When you touch these primary source places, the documents, and talk to the people who knew him, it’s very inspiring.”
“Called and Chosen” comes from the Scripture passage in Matthew, 22:14, “Many are called but few are chosen.”
“Our idea was that out of many, many people who were called to that life, he was kind of self-selected to go farther, to make the ultimate sacrifice,” Kelty said. “He never quit; he always …rushed toward those in greatest need.”
“Called and Chosen” will be broadcast on EWTN (the Eternal Word Television Network) Wednesday, Aug. 30, at 10 p.m., following an 8 p.m. panel discussion hosted by Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J. The panel will include Kelty; retired Marine Capt. George Phillips, board chairman of the Father Vincent Capodanno Guild, who served with Father Capodanno, and Mary Preece, vice-postulator of Father Capodanno’s canonization cause.
The rebroadcast schedule is: Saturday, Sept. 2, and Monday, Sept. 4, Labor Day, at 3 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day, at 8 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 13, at 1:30 a.m.