On May 6, 1915, a baby boy was born in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland.
That baby boy was named Anthony McGowan, although everybody in his life simply called him Tony. He was the third youngest of ten children.
Tony was ordained a priest in 1941 at the start of WWII in his homeland of Ireland. He wanted to be a missionary priest to Africa and Asia but instead responded to a call for priests to go to California in 1942. He came to America in 1943 on board the Queen Mary (now permanently based in Long Beach) and traveled with the military as a Chaplain, arriving in Boston. He then took the train to Los Angeles, where he was assigned his first parish at Saint Anselm from 1943-1956. He was Associate Pastor at St. Mary Magdalene Church from 1956-1960, both of these parishes are in in Los Angeles. Moving to Orange County (but still part of the Diocese of LA) he was founding Pastor at St. John the Baptist Church from 1960-1976.
In 1976 he was handed the keys to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in San Clemente. While serving as pastor there in 1981, he was designated monsignor, an honorary title given to a priest who has distinguished himself and he has been honored by the Pope for his service to the church. He remained at Our Lady of Fatima until his retirement in 1987 as a result of health issues but continued afterward until well into the new millennium saying regular Mass and performing other priestly duties.
Msgr. McGowan’s life has been one of service to others. Msgr. Tony has been a supporter of the work of “Wells of Life” for two years, having recently used his “Millennium Bounty” gift from the President of Ireland to fund a well in memory of six Irish students tragically killed in Berkley in 2015. The well is located at St. John the Baptist Parish where Fr. Max Ssekiwala is the priest, who was introduced to Wells of Life by Fr. Jim Reis.
In 2014 Our Lady of Fatima dedicated their new Hall and named it after Monsignor Anthony McGowan as fitting tribute to his many years of service to God, the Church, and Our Lady of Fatima. He has left an indelible mark on so many lives as he travel the road of his calling.
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