Fr. Donan McGovern OFM

Fr. Donan McGovern, OFM, 82 years of age, a professed Franciscan friar for 60 years and a priest for 55, died in his room at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, on Tuesday, October 12, 2010, apparently of a heart attack.

He was born Robert E. McGovern on Sept. 24, 1928 in Forest Hills (Queens), New York to Thomas and Mary (Rutledge) McGovern. He attended PS 144 in Forest Hills and graduated from Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn in 1947. Later that year, he enrolled at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary where he studies for two years.

Fr. Donan was received into the Order of Friars Minor in Holy Name Province August 12, 1949 at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed his first vows there August 14, 1950 before Very Rev. Thomas Plassmann, OFM.

He then studied philosophy at St. Stephen Friary in Croghan, N.Y. and St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., receiving his BA from St. Bonaventure University in 1952. He then studied theology at Holy Name College in Washington, DC., from 1952-56.

He made his final profession of vows there Sept. 17, 1953, and was ordained to the priesthood at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, June 9, 1955 by Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the US.

Following his ordination to the priesthood, Fr. McGovern served briefly as assistant pastor at St. Richard Church, Emporia, Va. (1956-57) and St. Thomas Parish, Beach Haven, NJ (1957-1959), and then volunteered for the Province’s mission in the Alto La Paz region of Bolivia, where he served for twelve years (1959-71).

He then returned to ministry in the United States, serving as assistant pastor in

St. Joseph Parish, East Rutherford, N.J. (1971-75), St. Francis Chapel, Providence, R.I. (1975-77), and Holy Cross Parish, Bronx, N.Y. (1977-79). He then served for ten years (1979-89) as promoter for the Franciscan Missionary Union, based at St. Francis Friary, New York, N.Y.

In 1989, he came to New England to serve on the pastoral staff of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, Mass., where he remained until his death, except for a two year interval (1993-95) at the Franciscan Center in Wilmington, Del. Besides serving on the daily schedule of Masses and confession, Fr. McGovern was very active in working on retreats for Engaged Encounter and with people in recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.

He is survived by a sister, Mrs. Margaret Mary Lemieux, and many nieces and nephews.

The Friars will greet the body on Sunday, October 17th at 4:00 PM in the First Floor Church of Saint Anthony Shrine, 100 Arch Street, Boston. Viewing will conclude with a Wake Service at 7:00 PM in the First Floor Church. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the Second Floor Church Monday, October 18th at 11:00 AM. All are invited.