Catholic War Veterans of the USA

About CWV

Our Mission

The Catholic War Veterans of the USA and Auxiliary advocate for and support all veterans, their families, and our communities through fellowship, charitable activities, and veteran services.

The Catholic War Veterans of the USA and Auxiliary advocate for and support all veterans, their families, and our communities through fellowship, charitable activities, and veteran services.
From engaging youth programs and providing scholarships to organizing memorial services and participating in various community initiatives, the Catholic War Veterans exemplify extensive involvement and dedication to serving their communities.
Catholic War Veterans work with local veteran services to provide outreach and assistance to our nations veterans.

The Catholic War Veterans organization stands as a testament to the intersection of faith and service, embodying the principles of Catholicism in their commitment to veterans and their families. Founded on the cornerstone of faith, the organization’s ethos is deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition, fostering a sense of camaraderie, compassion, and duty. Through their actions and initiatives, they exemplify the teachings of their faith by providing support, advocacy, and resources to those who have served their country, reflecting the belief in service to others as a core tenet of Catholicism. In honoring the sacrifices of veterans and upholding the values of their faith, the Catholic War Veterans serve as a beacon of hope and solidarity within both the veteran community and the wider Catholic Church.



Since the conclusion of World War I, America faced threats from political movements aiming to undermine Christianity, known as the “Ism” movement. Despite the presence of the Knights of Columbus, a lay organization supporting Catholic soldiers, there was no specific veterans’ group representing Catholic servicemen and women. Responding to Pope Pius XI’s warning against the dangers of these movements, Reverend Edward J. Higgins, a former Army chaplain, recognized the need for an organized Catholic veterans’ group. With support from CWV’s first National Commander John M. Dealy, the Catholic War Veterans of the United States was incorporated in New York on May 19, 1935.

Father Higgins, motivated by the Pope’s call to action, journeyed to Rome in May 1935 and received a private audience with Pope Pius XI. The Holy Father blessed the organization and its flags, expressing his support for its mission. He presented Father Higgins with an autographed photograph, encouraging members to continue their efforts in defending democracy.

Over the years, the Catholic War Veterans gained recognition, officially becoming a Veterans Organization in July 1940 and receiving a Congressional Charter on August 17, 1984, under President Ronald Reagan. In April 2021, the organization acknowledged the significant support of its Auxiliary and began operating under the name “The Catholic War Veterans and Auxiliary of the United States.” Throughout its history, the Catholic War Veterans have remained committed to serving God, Country and Home, embodying the spirit of Catholic Action and defending the principles of democracy.

True Patriots

“We American Citizens, members of the Catholic Church, under the spiritual authority of our Holy Father, the Pope, Bishop of Rome, and who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, in order that we may be bound by a greater spirit of faith and patriotism, and that we may be of greater service to God, Country, and to one another, and in order to perpetuate our ideals and ideas, establish a permanent organization.”

Preamble to the Catholic War Veterans Charter

Your questions answered

Common Questions

The Catholic War Veterans (CWV) engage in a variety of activities and initiatives aimed at supporting veterans, their families, and their communities. Learn more about Our Programs here. 

Local posts are essential branches of the Catholic War Veterans (CWV) organization, operating within their respective communities while upholding the CWV’s overarching mission. They serve as vital connections between the national organization and local veterans, offering tailored services and activities to address community needs. These posts organize events, advocate for veterans’ rights, and foster camaraderie among veterans, playing a crucial role in supporting veterans and promoting the values of the CWV at the grassroots level.
See a list of local posts here.

The Catholic War Veterans (CWV) holds a unique distinction as one of just forty-five Veterans Service Organizations in U.S. history to receive an Official Charter from Congress. Among these, it stands out as one of only three with a distinctly religious membership. Additionally, the CWV garnered the Apostolic Blessing of Pope Pius XI upon its establishment in 1935, further highlighting its unique historical and religious significance.

The Catholic War Veterans (CWV) is a  non-profit organization, recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(4).

Our primary mission is to support veterans in need. Unlike other religious charities, CWV is distinct in its focus on aiding all military veterans and their families without discrimination. While we respect and acknowledge the valuable work of various Catholic and non-Catholic religious charities, CWV operates in the service gap between secular veterans’ organizations and general religious charities.

The CWV is made up of military veterans and citizens of the United States who adhere to the Catholic faith. Many of our Post and Auxiliary members are heavily involved with and volunteer within their parishes. However, the CWV is not “under, a part of, or controlled by” the local parish or the Catholic Church at large. As such, our Posts and Auxiliary Units are not “parish organizations” in a strict sense. We ensure service to the Church through our Catholic Action Programs.

Specific “war-time” service is not a requirement to become a member. Any baptized Catholic currently serving in the Armed Forces or discharged under honorable conditions from any component of the U.S. Armed Forces and has served on Active Duty for a period of 90 days or longer (includes training time for Reserves and National Guard) is eligible for membership in the Catholic War Veterans (CWV).
The Catholic War Veterans Auxiliary is open to baptized Catholic men and women, related within 2 degrees, to a veteran or currently serving Armed Forces member of ANY faith. We were the first VSO to open Auxiliary membership to men.