Msgr. James Joseph McGovern
Msgr. James Joseph McGovern

Funeral services have been scheduled for Msgr. James Joseph McGovern, a retired priest of the Diocese who died Nov. 2 in Florida. He was 87.

A viewing will be held in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 42 West Main St., Moorestown, from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 12 and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Nov. 13 with the Mass of Christian Burial starting at 10:30 a.m. Msgr. McGovern had served as pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Moorestown, from 1981 until he retired from active ministry in 2004.

Son of the late Joseph H. and Mary Bradley McGovern, Msgr. McGovern was born in 1932 in Philadelphia. His home parish was Sacred Heart, Riverton.

He graduated from Sacred Heart Grammar School, Riverton, and Camden Catholic High School, Cherry Hill. He attended St. Charles College, Catonsville, Md., and prepared for the priesthood in St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree and a licentiate in sacred theology. He also held a master’s degree in pastoral counseling from Iona College, New Rochelle, N.Y., and a fellowship in pastoral leadership at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained a priest May 31, 1958, in St. Anthony Church, Hamilton, by Bishop George W. Ahr.

Parishes in which Msgr. McGovern served as parochial vicar include Immaculate Conception Parish, Spotswood; St. Mary of the Lakes Parish, Medford; St. Anthony Parish (now part of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish), and St. Peter Parish, New Brunswick, where he later served as temporary administrator beginning in 1970.

Msgr. McGovern served as pastor of St. Andrew Parish, Avenel, from 1976 to 1981, when he was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Moorestown. He received papal honors Sept. 14, 1993, and was then invested as a prelate of honor with the title of Reverend Monsignor in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, Jan. 23, 1994.

Msgr. McGovern earned an honorary doctorate of divinity from the Graduate Theological Foundation of Notre Dame University, South Bend, Ind. He served as Burlington County sodality director, a member of the board of diocesan consultors and council of priests, chaplain for the Burlington County Serra Club, and member of the diocesan public policy committee.

Following his retirement as pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, he relocated to Florida and was active in Scripture study at a local senior residence, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults in his parish and preached on behalf of the poor in emerging nations through the Food for the Poor organization.

Msgr. McGovern is survived by his brother, William J. (Donna) McGovern of Cobleskill, N.Y., and sister, Margaret M. (Ronald) McKay of Osteen, Fla.; 13 nieces and nephews, and numerous grandnieces and grandnephews.

Burial will be in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Moorestown.

Memorial contributions may be made to Food for the Poor, 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, Fla., 33073 ( or to the Missionaries of the Poor, P.O.Box 8525, Kingston, Jamaica, WI (