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Immediate Release

U.S. Army Chaplains Attend Screening at the Vatican and Present Pope Francis With Gift From the Army Chaplain Corps

Three U.S. Army Chaplains recently made an historic visit to the Vatican to attend a screening of, "Fighting Spirit: A Combat Chaplain's Story". The documentary film delves into the challenges faced by military chaplains worldwide. 

Attending the screening in Rome was the Director of Religious Programming for the American Forces Network, Chaplain (Maj.) Jason Hohnberger.

"The emotional power of 'Fighting Spirit' left an impact at the Vatican," said Hohnberger. "The film beautifully captures the true essence of military chaplaincy, and the strength faith gives our brave soldiers."

Also attending were U.S. Army Chaplains, Lieut. Col. Brandon Moore, Chief of Army Chaplain Recruiting and Accessions, and Capt. Peter Pomposello, a Catholic Priest Recruiter.

During their visit, the military Chaplains had the honor of meeting His Holiness, Pope Francis. The Army Chaplains presented Pope Francis with a gift from the Army Chaplain Corps, symbolizing the gratitude and respect of the entire Corps.  

They thanked the Pope for his unwavering dedication to peace and interfaith dialogue. On behalf of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps, they expressed the Corps' deep appreciation to the Pope for his approving of the service of Catholic priests.

Chaplain Pomposello presented Pope Francis with a gift from his leadership.   

"It was an incredible honor to represent the U.S. Army as a priest here at Saint Peter's," said Pomposello. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience." 

The film, "Fighting Spirit", is gaining critical acclaim for its honest portrayal of the challenges faced by military chaplains and the resilience they demonstrate in the line of duty. The film is a poignant tribute to the selflessness, dedication, and unwavering commitment of military Chaplains to servicemembers and their families around the world. 

Combat chaplains, distinguished by their uniforms but carrying no weapons, exemplify the essence of bravery and compassion. Their service often involves the ultimate sacrifice. For nearly 250 years, in every battle throughout our nation's history, they've been there…quietly supporting soldiers while bullets flew by.

Chaplain Moore said the making of the film and its screening at the Vatican were remarkable and inspiring experiences. 

"It has been a great privilege to partner with Paulist Productions to tell this story," said Moore.  "We have been collaborating for over three years to bring this story to life."

Two years ago, the remains of World War Two Chaplain Emil Kapaun, whose story is featured in the film, were found after 70 years of being listed as POW/MIA. His remains were finally laid to rest in his hometown in Kansas.

"It was fitting to honor him and the service of so many others by sharing this story in Rome," said Moore. "I know this film will touch lives and I pray it will inspire the next generation to consider the call to serve as a Chaplain." 

"Fighting Spirit", by Paulist Productions, debuts as a feature documentary at the Newport Beach Film Festival, at 6 p.m., October 13, 2023.   

For more information about "The Fighting Spirit: A Combat Chaplain's Story" and the remarkable work of Army Chaplains, please contact:

Paul Stamps
Public Affairs Liaison & Brand Manager
HQDA, Office of the Chief of Chaplains
2700 Army Pentagon, RM 1D143A
Washington, DC 20310-2700
Office: 703-614-9192