Fr. Dorwart Promoted to Lieutenant Commander

Father William Dorwart

Rev. William Dorwart, C.S.C., was recently promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy for the second time.

Fr. Dorwart has actually served in the Navy three times. He first entered in 1967, serving as an aviation electronics technician 3rd class. He spent four years in the Navy and then left to attend the University of Notre Dame, where he earned his bachelor’s and M.Div. degrees.

“I grew up in a small farming town in the ’50s and ’60s where the center of life was the church and school,” Fr. Dorwart said. “When I enlisted in the Navy, culture shock inspired a lot of soul-searching and challenged me to make choices. Life in the Navy was nothing like it was in rural America. However, all along the way there were dedicated chaplains who patiently listened, offering encouragement and support. Some life choices I made during those days then led me to the University of Notre Dame, the Congregation of Holy Cross and the priesthood.”

Fr. Dorwart was received into the Congregation on Aug. 15, 1973; professed First Vows on Aug. 2, 1975; made his Final Vows on Sept. 15, 1978; and was ordained a priest on April 12, 1980.


He reentered the Navy in 1985 and served in Okinawa, Subic Bay and was deployed to Japan on the USS Midway. Fr. Dorwart also served in Korea, the Philippines and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1991, he returned to Holy Cross to work with seminarians. While he continued to serve in the reserves for a time, he eventually resigned, having achieved the rank of lieutenant commander. After 17 years in service of various types with the Congregation – including provincial superior – Fr. Dorwart returned to the Navy in 2008. He served aboard Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia, USS Ronald Reagan and USS Makin Island.

He now serves as Roman Catholic chaplain for Naval District Washington at Arlington National Cemetery, where he was promoted to lieutenant commander for a second time. He is seeking an age waiver to allow him to continue serving sailors and Marines for several more years.

Read more about Fr. Dorwart and his Naval career on the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System website.

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