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Monsignor John Rowan

March 3, 1936 ~ April 1, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Monsignor John Rowan Obituary

Monsignor John J. Rowan, ordained to priesthood in 1961, died on April 1, 2024. His life as a priest and pastor spanned an active 63 years.  John, called by many titles; son, brother, uncle, Father, teacher, and friend, wasn’t a man who looked for notoriety, though he could command attention in a short amount of time. His life was one grounded in truth and the search for more and more of it. Some think of getting older as a time of resting into a phase, but for this man it continued his search for more knowledge.  With that knowledge through his words and deeds, he would bring those of us he met, into deeper understandings. He was a Roman Catholic priest for 63 years with a commitment to understanding the scriptures. He shared in how it changed who he was and how he lived. He loved the preparation it took to preach and to offer adult education classes, because it changed him.

As the founding Principal at Holy Family High School; now St. Anthony’s, he remained committed to education and in touch with many of the students and teachers through the years.  He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Diocese and Catholic Health Systems, and chaired Finance and Ethics Committees. He used his doctorate degrees in canon law, civil law, and education, in service of the communities’ needs. In Bay Shore, he quickly put his time and talent into working with Nassau Suffolk Law Services. He was sought for his guidance and leadership, not only for Boards, but for the growth of one’s own spiritual life.  That expansion continued to bring him to be a founding member of Mercy Haven Inc., in 1985. Seeing the injustices rendered to the persons discharged from the State psychiatric systems, he helped found this community non-profit that still responds to the needs of people in our communities requiring safe housing, who are also living with mental illness. He also assisted in supporting  Sacrada Familia School by raising funds to help this diocesan mission and vocational school in the Dominican Republic.

John has served as Director on many boards including Mercy Haven, Inc., Catholic Charities and Good Samaritan Hospital, to name a few. He was Pastor at St. Lawrence the Martyr R.C. Church and coordinated the Sunday Masses at Fire Island Pines, for more than 25 years. More recently, he spent his time serving the people of St. Frances de Chantal Church in Wantagh and in his garden.

In the words of Pope Paul, “It is important to remember that where the poor are concerned, it is not talk that matters; what matters is, rolling up our sleeves and putting our faith into practice through a direct involvement; one that cannot be delegated.”  

Msgr. Rowan was pre-deceased by his parents, Dorothy Harding and Joseph Rowan, and by his brother Thomas. He is survived by his brothers; Terry and his wife Rita of California, and Michael and his wife Maria of Bohemia, as well as fifteen nieces and nephews and their families. He was welcomed into the community of Mercy, with Kathy Nolan RSM and Pat Griffith RSM.

Friends and family will gather for his Mass of Resurrection at St. Lawrence the Martyr R.C. Church in Sayville, at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 10th.

Msgr. Rowan can be remembered through donations to either Mercy Haven Inc, 859 Connetquot Avenue, Islip Terrace, New York 11752,,  or Fe y Alegria School in Dominican Republic, c/o St. Paul the Apostle Church, 2534 Cedar Swamp Rd, Brookville, NY 11545.

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Funeral Mass
April 10, 2024

11:00 AM
St. Lawrence RC Church
240 W Main Street
Sayville, NY 11782

Video is available for this event


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