Army chaplains visit Vatican for movie screening, meet with Pope Francis

By Paul StampsOctober 5, 2023

Army Chaplains visit the Vatican and meet with Pope Francis
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Brandon Moore, Chaplain (Capt.) Peter Pomposello, and Chaplain (Maj.) Jason Hohnberger present an Army Chaplain coin to Pope Francis. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Vatican Media) VIEW ORIGINAL

ROME — Three U.S. Army chaplains — Lt. Col. Brandon Moore, chief of Army chaplain recruiting and accessions; Maj. Jason Hohnberger, director of religious programming for the American Forces Network; and Capt. Peter Pomposello, a Catholic priest recruiter — made a historic visit to the Vatican Sept. 27, 2023, for an exclusive screening of "Fighting Spirit: A Combat Chaplain’s Journey," an upcoming documentary film by multi-Emmy winning Paulist Productions.

The film delves into the challenges faced by military chaplains worldwide. 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 have quietly supported Soldiers.

When the chaplains had the honor of meeting Pope Francis, they were able to convey the Army’s respect for the Pope’s unwavering dedication to peace and interfaith dialogue, and to show gratitude for his assignment of Catholic priests to serve as military chaplains by presenting the Pope with an Army Chaplain Corps coin.

Army Chaplains visit the Vatican
Chaplains Hohnberger, Moore, and Pomposello visit the Vatican. (Photo Credit: Jason Hohnberger) VIEW ORIGINAL

“I’m honored to represent the Army as a priest here at Saint Peter’s,” Pomposello said. “We came to give a gift from the Army Chaplain Corps to my Church’s leader — it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

"The emotional power of 'Fighting Spirit' left an impact at the Vatican,” Hohnberger added. “Witnessing the collaboration of all faiths in the Chaplain Corps on the film has been humbling. This film beautifully captures the true essence of military chaplaincy, and the strength faith gives our brave Soldiers.”

“It has been an extreme privilege to partner with Paulist Productions to tell this story,” Moore said. “We have been collaborating for over three years to bring this story to life. Traveling to the Vatican for the special screening of ‘Fighting Spirit’ has been inspiring. It has been two years since Chaplain Emil Kapaun’s remains were found, after 70 years as a POW/MIA, and laid to rest in his hometown in Kansas. It seems fitting to honor him and the service of so many others by sharing this story in Rome. 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.”

Army Chaplains visit the Vatican for movie screening
Chaplain (Capt.) Peter Pomposello speaks to participants attending a special screening of “Fighting Spirit,” along with Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Brandon Moore, and the director of “Fighting Spirit,” Richard Hull. (Photo Credit: Jason Hohnberger) VIEW ORIGINAL
Army Chaplains visit the Vatican for movie screening
Screening of “Fighting Spirit” documentary film at
the Vatican, Sept. 27, 2023 (Photo Credit: Jason Hohnberger)

"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 serves as a tribute to their selflessness, dedication, and unwavering commitment to Soldiers and their families. “Fighting Spirit” will debut as a feature documentary at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California on Oct. 13, at 6 p.m. PST.

For more information about "Fighting Spirit" and the remarkable work of Army chaplains, view the film’s website.