Catholic War Veterans of the USA


HISTORY of Catholic War Veterans, USA, Inc.

May 19, 1935-- Catholic War Veterans of the United States was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York.

Msgr. (then Father) Edward J. Higgins , with permission of his Bishop Ordinary, Most Reverend Thomas E. Molloy of the Diocese of Brooklyn, gathered together some few parishioners who had served in World War I and fanned the first Unit of CWV.

May 1935 -- Father Higgins journeyed to Rome. Pope Pius XI bestowed his blessing upon CWV, and blessed the American and Papal F lags of the CWV.

July 1940 - - CWV officially recognized as a Veterans group by the Veterans’ Administration in Washington.

Chapter II- “Early History of the Catholic War Veterans"

(Excerpt taken from booklet written on the Catholic War Veterans by Sister Mary Matthias, RSM, in July 1944.)

Ever since the close of World War E America had been threatened by the so-called political heresies commonly known today as the "Ism" movement, their purpose to destroy Christianity.

Incidentally, up until this time the Catholic Church in America had strictly speaking, no militant veteran organization made up of men and women who had served their country in time of war. It is true that the Knights of Columbus saw to the needs of Catholic soldiers in camps and behind the battlefield. However, the Knights of Columbus is not precisely a veteran organization but rather a lay organization, commissioned by the United States Government to render services to Catholics in the Armed Forces of the United States of America.

Our Holy Father, Pius XI, warned the world of the dreadful disaster and danger of the "Ism" movements. In response to this warning, aimed directly at Communism, the Reverend Edward J. Higgins , Pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Astoria, Long I sl and, determined not only to heed the Pope' s plea, but also to do something about it.

Father Higgins, who had served as a commissioned Lieutenant Chaplain in the United States Army, had discovered that Catholic servicemen had very little organized voice in national matters that concerned their God, their Country and their Home. He knew that without some sort of organized action, the Catholic Veterans could not as a specific group, voice their approval or disapproval on any matters of grave importance.

Thus, Father Higgins conceived the vital need for an organized Catholic veteran group. It was due to his priestly guidance, together with the worthy efforts of Past National Commander, John M. Dealy, that the Catholic War Veterans of the United States was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York on May 19, 1935.

The emblem adopted by the organization typifies the ideals of each individual member.

.....The Celtic Cross represents to us the symbol of Christianity preserved and protected by valiant forefathers....the letters U.S. on the star are for these United States and stand for the Constitution on which are based our principles...the Star stands for the glory of victory...the Wreath is for remembrance of those who died that liberty might live...the circle denotes the Perpetuity of the Church which will last until the end of time as guaranteed by its founder Jesus Christ...the Olive Branch of peace signifies our attitude toward all men in fulfillment of our Lord's behest, Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.....

In May 1935, Father Higgins journeyed to Rome and while there had a private audience with Pope Pius XI Father Higgins informed his Holiness of what he had thus far accomplished in organizing and establishing the new veteran group. He elaborated, too, on his plans and hopes for the future of the same. Pope Pius XI was pleased with and intensely interested in this new militant drive for Catholic Action. The Holy Father did not fear for the future· of the organization, but, mindful of our Lord's own words:

.....Where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.... bestowed upon it his blessing. On this same occasion, the Sovereign Pontiff not only blessed the American and Papal F lags of the new organization, but presented Father Higgins with a photograph of himself, specially autographed, as an inspiration ·to urge the members ever onward in their endeavors to make this land of ours safe for democracy.

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