Born in Worcester, the son of James F. and Mary (Guihan) McGovern, he was a 1935 graduate of St. John's High School, then in Worcester. He graduated in 1940 from the College of the Holy Cross and in 1942 from Worcester State College, with a master's degree in education. In 1970, he received a master's degree in counseling from Assumption College. He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, serving in the 9th Army Air Force in England from 1942 to 1945.
Father McGovern studied for the priesthood at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and was ordained May 19, 1955. He was Pastor at St. Joseph Church in Barre and St. Theresa the Little Flower Church in Harvard. He had been an Associate Pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Worcester, St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Westborough, Christ the King Church in Worcester, Our Lady of the Lake Church in Leominster, St. Anne Church in Southborough and St. Stephen Church in Worcester. He retired in 1983, but continued his ministries at St. Mary Church in Uxbridge from 1983 to 1989, and then at St. Leo Church in Leominster, from 1989 to 2005.
His four sisters, Mary E. McGovern, Anne O”Halloran, Josephine Forden and Catherine Feeley, and his brothers, Frederick J. McGovern and Philip McGovern, all predeceased him. He leaves many nieces and nephews.
A funeral Mass was held April 11 in St. John's Church of Worcester, with burial in St. John's Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Clergy Benefit Fund, P.O. Box 498, North Uxbridge, MA 01538. The Athy Memorial Home of Worcester assisted with arrangements.