Bishop Paul V. Donovan

Photo of Pope John Paul II with Bishop Paul Donovan, Diocese of Kalamazoo

From left, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II and the Most Reverend Paul V. Donovan, Bishop of Kalamazoo. Having served under the leadership of three Popes, Bishop Donovan retired in 1994. He is the only American Catholic bishop to have met with Pope John Paul I on official business.

PAUL V. DONOVAN is the son of John and Loretta Carew Donovan. He was born in Dubuque County, Iowa, on September 1, 1924, and baptized Vincent Paul Donovan at St. Patrick’s Church, Garryowen, Iowa, on September 7, 1924.

When the Donovan family moved to Lansing, Michigan, Paul attended St. Mary’s Cathedral High School. Discerning a vocation to the priesthood, in 1941, he entered St. Joseph Seminary.

In 1946, Paul moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he earned a BA in philosophy at St. Gregory Seminary. He then entered Mount St. Mary Seminary in Norwood, Ohio, where he studied theology.

Paul was ordained a priest by Bishop Joseph Henry Albers, Diocese of Lansing, on May 20, 1950, and was assigned the position of associate pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish in Jackson, Michigan. In 1951, he left St. Mary to serve as assistant to Bishop Albers, a position he held for five years. In 1957, Paul departed to Rome to study at the Pontifical Lateran University where he earned a Licentiate of Canon Law.

Following his return to Michigan, Paul was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish near Jackson. He served as pastor there from 1959 to 1968. In 1968, he was appointed pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Flint, Michigan.

On June 15, 1971, Pope Paul VI named Father Paul V. Donovan the first bishop of the newly created Diocese of Kalamazoo. Paul was consecrated bishop on July 21, 1971, by Cardinal John Dearden. Co-consecrators were Bishops Alexander M. Zaleski and Michael Green. Bishop Donovan choose as his episcopal motto, “To Serve Rather Than Be Served.”

In 1994, Paul submitted a request to resign from his post due to declining health. On November 22, 1994, Pope John Paul II accepted Bishop Paul Donovan’s resignation as Bishop of Kalamazoo.

Paul Donovan died at age 86 on April 27, 2011. He is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Links to news stories about Bishop Paul Donovan’s installation

Links to news stories about Bishop Donovan’s retirement:

Former Roman Catholic Bishop Paul V. Donovan, who led the Diocese of Kalamazoo for 23 years, dead at 86

Bishop Paul V. Donovan’s legacy

More information from the Diocese of Kalamazoo is available here.

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