BOSTON — Thomas McGowan, OFM, died May 21 at Tufts Medical Center. The 78-year-old was a professed Franciscan friar for 54 years.
A Wake Service was held May 24 at the first floor chapel of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, presided by Francis McHugh, OFM. Emeric Meier, OFM, gave the eulogy.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on May 25 at St. Anthony Shrine. Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, was principal celebrant andChristopher Coccia, OFM, preached the homily. Interment followed at St. Joseph Cemetery in West Roxbury, Mass.
Thomas was born May 21, 1933, in Lawrence, Mass., to Frederick and Grace McGowan. Baptized John, he graduated from Lawrence High School in 1951.
In 1956, John entered Franciscan Order at St. Raphael’s Novitiate, Lafayette, N.J., receiving the name Thomas. The following year, he professed first vows there. Thomas professed his final vows at St. Anthony Shrine in 1960.
Thomas’ first assignment — beginning in 1957 — was to assist in the kitchen at St. Joseph Friary in Callicoon, N.Y. In 1964, he joined the internal ministry at St. Patrick Friary in Buffalo, N.Y. He then assisted in the kitchen at St. Raphael’s Novitiate.
From 1967 to 1972, Thomas served as sacristan at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City, and then at St. Anthony Shrine, from 1972 to 1979.
He was appointed vicar of St. Anthony Residence, Boston, in 1979 and guardian in 1981. He returned to minister as sacristan for the shrine in 1985, a role he remained in for nine years, before being appointed local superior in 1994 at St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass., and in 1995 at St. Francis Friary in Rye Beach, N.H., overseeing the turnover of those properties to new owners.
In July 1996, he returned to St. Anthony Shrine, serving once again as sacristan, until retiring in January 2011 to St. Anthony Residence.
Thomas is survived by his siblings, Grace Donovan of Salem, N.H., and Frederick McGowan and his wife Mary of Lawrence, Mass. Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Grace Donovan, 59 Cluff Road, #21, Salem NH 03079.
Memorial contributions can be made to: The Franciscans — St. Anthony’s Guild, 4 Jersey Street, East Rutherford NJ 07073-1012.
— Compiled by Rebecca Doel and Theresa Bartha