BOSTON — A Mass of Christian Burial was offered for Donan McGovern, OFM, on Oct. 18 at St. Anthony Shrine. The 82-year-old, a professed friar for 60 years and a priest for 55, died Oct. 12 apparently of a heart attack in his room.
Donan was born Sept. 24, 1928, in Forest Hills, N.Y., to Thomas and Mary McGovern, and was baptized Robert. He attended PS 144 in Forest Hills and graduated from Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1947. Later that year, he enrolled at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., where he studied for two years.
Robert entered the Holy Name Province novitiate on Aug. 12, 1949, at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., receiving the name Donan. He professed first vows there Aug. 14, 1950, before Thomas Plassmann, OFM.
Donan studied philosophy at St. Stephen Friary in Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., receiving his bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University in 1952. He then studied theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. He professed final vows Sept. 17, 1953, and was ordained a priest by apostolic delegate Archbishop Amleto Cicognani on June 9, 1955, at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington.
Following ordination, Donan served briefly as assistant pastor at St. Richard Church, Emporia, Va., and St. Thomas Parish, Beach Haven, N.J. In 1959, he volunteered for the Province’s mission in the Alto La Paz region of Bolivia, where he served for 12 years.
Donan returned in 1971 to the United States, serving as assistant pastor in St. Joseph Parish, East Rutherford, N.J.; St. Francis Chapel, Providence, R.I.; and Holy Cross Parish, Bronx, N.Y. From 1979 to 1989, he served as promoter for the Franciscan Missionary Union, based at St. Francis Friary in New York City.
In 1989, Donan moved to New England to serve on the pastoral staff of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston. He remained at the shrine until his death except for a two-year interval (1993 to 1995) spent at the Franciscan Center in Wilmington, Del. Besides serving on the daily schedule of Masses and confession, he was active in working on retreats for Engaged Encounter and with people in Alcoholics Anonymous.
A wake and wake service were held Oct. 17 at St. Anthony Shrine. The shrine’s guardian, David Convertino, OFM, presided and Raymond Mann, OFM, preached.
The Oct. 18 Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM. William Beaudin, OFM, preached the homily. Burial followed at St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury, Mass.
Donan is survived by his sister, Margaret Mary Lemieux; cousin, Fred Dilger, OFM, and many nieces and nephews. Condolences will be passed along to the family if addressed to: Fr. David Convertino, OFM, St. Anthony Shrine, 100 Arch Street, Boston MA 02110-1111.
Memorial contributions can be made to: Franciscan Missionary Union, 135 West 31st St., New York NY 10001-3403.