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ABOUT THE PASTOR

REV. WILLIAM G. DONOVAN, PhD

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Father Donovan was raised in Saint Denis Parish, Havertown, PA, the fifth of eight children of the late John and Jean Donovan. All eight children attended Saint Denis School, Havertown, and then Archbishop Carroll High School, Radnor. During his early years at Saint Denis, Father Donovan was involved in cub scouts, served as an altar server, and played on the school football and track teams. During his high school years, Father Donovan was very active, running track, and serving on Student Council, including serving as Student Body President. He was a member of the National Honor Society, Mathletes, and National Spanish Honor Society. He graduated with the Honorary Award for General Excellence.

Father Donovan attended Saint Joseph University, Philadelphia, on a full four-year academic scholarship, graduating magna cum laude with a double major in Philosophy and Accounting. Passing the national examination to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Father Donovan worked for an international accounting firm before entering Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, PA, in 1988 to begin studies for the priesthood.

After graduating from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary with a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree summa cum laude, Father Donovan was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on May 21, 1994, by Cardinal Bevilacqua. Father Donovan served first as a parochial vicar at Saint Joseph’s Parish, Collingdale, PA, for three years and then as a theology teacher for one year at Archbishop Wood High School, Warminster, PA, before being sent to Rome for further studies.


After receiving his Licentiate in Philosophy (Ph.L.) magna cum laude from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and his Doctorate in Philosophy (Ph.D.) summa cum laude from the Pontifical University of Santa Croce in Rome, Father Donovan was assigned by Cardinal Rigali to the Archdiocesan seminary as professor and formator of seminarians. From 2004 to 2013, Father Donovan served respectively as assistant professor, associate professor, and later full professor at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, PA. In addition. Father Donovan served as a formator of seminarians and served on various seminary committees (Middle States, Liturgy, Budget, etc). During the decade of teaching at the seminary, Father Donovan also served as a weekend assistant at Saint Basil’s Church, Kimberton, PA and at Saint John Vianney Church, Gladwyne, PA.

During 2014-2015, Father Donovan lived in Rome and served as the Liaison of the Archbishop of Philadelphia to the Pontifical Council for Family at the Vatican. During those two years, Father Donovan worked closely with Roman collaborators on many aspects of preparation for the Holy Father Pope Francis’ first pastoral visit to the USA and for the World Meeting of Families VIII celebration in September 2015 in Philadelphia.

In January, 2016, Father Donovan returned to the USA and was his appointed by Archbishop Charles Chaput as Pastor of Saint Agnes Parish, West Chester.  Father Donovan was awarded a Doctorate of Human Letters honoris causa from Saint Joseph University in May 2016 for service to the community. Father Donovan was also awarded the Papal Honor Benemerenti Medal from Pope Francis in May 2016, which was presented by Archbishop Chaput.

Father Donovan was appointment as Pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in June 2019.

Father Donovan serves as Archdiocesan Chaplain of the Philadelphia Chapter of Legatus, an international association of Catholic leaders. Father Donovan also serves on the Board of Trustees of Archbishop Carroll High School, Radnor, PA. Father Donovan is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. Father Donovan is also a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, an international association that supports the Holy Land.

In addition to his seven brothers and sisters and their respective spouses who all live in the Delaware Valley, Father Donovan has 19 nieces and nephews and 17 grandnieces and grandnephews.