Father Patrick J. Donovan, MM
Born: July 24, 1927
Ordained: June 8, 1957
Died: January 22, 2011
Father Patrick J. Donovan died on January 22, 2011 at St. Teresa’s Residence. He was 83 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 53 years.
Patrick Joseph Donovan was born on July 24, 1927, in Bayonne, New Jersey, son of Patrick and Rose O’Donnell Donovan. He had one brother and one sister. He graduated from St. Mary’s School in Bayonne, Regis High School in New York City and St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey. In July 1945 he enlisted in the United States Navy and was honorably discharged in July 1946.
Patrick became acquainted with Maryknoll through sports competition with the seminarians at Maryknoll Junior College in Lakewood, New Jersey. Feeling called to the missionary priesthood and impressed by the spirit of Maryknoll, he entered the seminary. He was ordained at Maryknoll, New York, on June 8, 1957 and assigned to the Maryknoll Mission Region of Peru.
Except for two years on development work in the United States from 1970 to 1972 and three years in the Office of Society Personnel from 1980 to 1983, Father Donovan spent his entire mission career in Peru. He had a variety of assignments there: teaching in the seminary in Puno; parish work in Juli and Lima; and as Superior of the Society Center House in Lima. He was elected three times as a member of the Regional Council.
For a number of years in Lima and in Tacna, Father Donovan was involved in programs of formation for lay pastoral workers. He found this work both challenging and fulfilling, seeing it as responding to a need of the local Church to call, form and empower people in ministry. Tacna was a missionary diocese and Father Donovan felt that the formation program helped to promote awareness of that reality, especially in motivating people to serve not only in their own communities but also in mission.
While in the United States in 1990, Father Donovan worked in the diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, sharing his mission experience in pastoral formation with the Church there. Although assigned to the Special Society Unit in January 1995, he continued to live and work in Peru. As part of his sabbatical in 1995, he worked with the Hispanic migrant workers in St. Clement’s parish in Plant City, Florida, in the diocese of St. Petersburg. He appreciated both the time in New York and in Florida, seeing it as a way of serving the Church that sent him to mission through Maryknoll.
After his sabbatical in 1996, Father Donovan returned to Tacna and work with the Formation Team. In 1998 he took the Renewal program in the Holy Land, after which he again returned to the diocese of St. Petersburg and work in St. Joseph’s parish in Tampa. Three years later Father returned to Maryknoll, New York and in February 2001 was assigned to the Retirement Community with residence at the Society Center. In May 2008 he moved to Mission St. Teresa’s.
Wake services were held at 4:30 p.m. on January 27, 2011 at St. Teresa’s, and at 7:30 p.m. in Queen of Apostles Chapel at Maryknoll Center where Father Martin Keegan officiated. Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated in Queen of Apostles Chapel on January 28,2011 at 11:00 a.m. Father Robert Lefebvre was Principal Celebrant and homilist. Burial followed in Maryknoll Society Cemetery.