NORTH PROVIDENCE — Reverend Edward J. McGovern, 93, Pastor Emeritus of Mary, Mother of Mankind Parish, North Providence, died Tuesday, October 20, 2020.
Born in Providence, a son of the late Francis J. and Mabel C. (Whelan) McGovern, he attended St. Patrick School and LaSalle Academy, both in Providence. In preparation for the priesthood, he studied at Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Warwick, St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, and at the North American College in Rome, Italy. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Providence on December 8, 1951, in Rome by Archbishop Martin J. O’Connor.
In 1952, Father McGovern returned to the Diocese of Providence and was appointed assistant pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Providence, and also assistant director of the Diocesan Bureau of Social Services. From 1955 to 1957 he made postgraduate studies in social work at Boston College. In 1957, Father McGovern became chaplain at St. Vincent de Paul Infant Home in Providence, and director of the Diocesan Bureau of Social Services. In 1972, he was appointed Vicar for Financial Affairs for the Diocese of Providence and served in that capacity until 1984, when he was appointed pastor of St. Margaret Parish, Rumford. In 1991, Father McGovern was named pastor of Mary, Mother of Mankind Parish, North Providence, and remained there until his retirement in 1997 as pastor emeritus.
Father McGovern also served as chaplain of the Civil Air Patrol, Providence, Squadron #38 (1955); moderator, Catholic Charity Fund Appeal (1958-72); member of the Advisory Commission on Public Assistance and on Refugee Relief for Rhode Island (1959); board member of Social Welfare (1961); coordinator, Bishop’s Campaign (1964-69); coordinator, Catholic Charities (1969-72); member of the Commission on Project Clergy Renewal (1970); member of the Board of Continuing Education of the Clergy (1974); administrator, St. John Vianney Residence (1978-2017); dean of Deanery #2 (1980); member of the Diocesan Board of Consultors (1981); Vice Chairman of the Priests’ Personnel Board (1982, 1984); member of the Council of Priests and College of Consultors (1984, 1987, 1990, 1992-93); dean of Deanery #6 (1991-97); president, RI Conference of Social Work; president, RI Chapter of NASW; chairman, Ecumenical Council of East Providence; and advocate for diocesan Tribunal (1997-2005).
After his retirement from parish administration, Father McGovern returned to St. John Vianney Residence, Providence, and continued to serve as its administrator until 2017. He resided there at the time of his death.
He leaves numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family members. He was predeceased by his brothers, Francis McGovern and William McGovern and his nephew, Edward J. McGovern.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin served as the main celebrant, and Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans served as the homilist, for a Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial offered on Monday, October 26, in St. Margaret Church, Rumford, with burial at St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Saint Patrick Academy, 244 Smith Street, Providence, RI 02908 in Father McGovern’s memory are appreciated.