Father Donald F. Donovan, MM

Born: January 20, 1929
Ordained: June 11, 1955
Died: April 8, 2007

Father Donald F. Donovan died on April 8, 2007 at St. Teresa’s Residence. He was 78 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 51 years.

Donald Francis Donovan was born January 20, 1929, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of John and Mary Hayes Donovan. He has two brothers and two sisters. He attended St. James Grade and High School in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and St. Anselm’s College, Manchester, New Hampshire, before entering Maryknoll in September 1946.

After ordination on June 11, 1955, Father Donovan was assigned to the Promotion Department and worked out of the Venard, Philadelphia and New Orleans Promotion Houses until April 1959 when he was assigned to the Africa Region and the Musoma Diocese in Tanzania. It was necessary to study the Luo language to work among the Luo people at Masonga Parish, where he was able to build a permanent church. He later learned the Swahili language, the ‘lingua franca’ of East Africa, in order to work among the non-Luo speaking peoples of the Region.

In 1985 Father Donovan was assigned to Kenya and worked in the Umoja and Athi River parishes until 1990 when he was assigned to the Kilifi Parish in the Mombasa Diocese. This parish was turned over to the local church in 1999. His main effort in his various pastoral assignments was to enable the people to take an active part in running their parishes, mainly through Parish Councils and Small Christian Communities.

Having been granted the status of retired Maryknoller on December 1, 1998, he continued to reside in Mombasa and to make a contribution to the Diocese as Chaplain to the Diocesan Sisters. After celebrating his 50th Jubilee in June 2005, Father remained in the United States and in September moved to St. Teresa’s Residence. In April 2006, he was assigned to the Retirement Community.

Wake services were held at 4:30 p.m. on April 9, 2007 at St. Teresa’s, and at 7:30 p.m. in Queen of Apostles Chapel at Maryknoll Center where Father Carmen LaMazza officiated and Father Leo Kennedy read the biography. Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated in Queen of Apostles Chapel on April 10, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. Father William Coy was Principal Celebrant and Father Carroll Houle homilist. Burial followed in Maryknoll Society Cemetery with Father Francis McGourn conducting the graveside service.