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After 50 Years, Priest Takes a Break

While preparing for priesthood, Msgr. Francis Roughan told himself: “Roughan, you are a generous character to give up marriage and family life to get to heaven.”

He came from a loving family with four brothers, all of them born at home.

After becoming a priest and learning more about what he calls the heroics and challenges of married life, he had another chat with himself.

“Roughan, you were just a coward. It would have taken more courage to be a real fine spouse and parent then to be a priest,” he told himself.

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Now, 50 years later, the recently retired pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in La Habra is even more awed by the rigors of marriage and parenthood.

But he prepared himself well to help the estimated 1,000 couples he has married and counseled.

In the 1960s, Roughan became chairman of a church-sponsored marriage preparation course “and that was the time we were really getting into engagement encounters,” he said.

He was often asked how a priest can be knowledgeable about marriage and its strains.

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“I tell them the story about another priest who would tell his people that he never laid an egg, but he was a better judge of an omelet than any chicken,” he said.

He explains that priests are able to get close to people from infancy through adulthood, and one of the reasons is that priests don’t have marriages or families of their own.

The Los Angeles-born priest said everyone knows they have an equal claim on him.

“Belonging to no one means you belong to everyone,” said Roughan, 74, who was recently honored by upward of 550 parishioners, friends and 65 priests at a “Golden Jubilee of Priestly Ordination” celebration of his retirement.

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He was defined by a fellow priest as “a prince of a gentleman.”

Roughan avoids the use of the word retirement since he daily continues to celebrate Mass and visit hospitals and convalescent homes.

“Retirement indicates inactivity,” said the Los Angeles Loyola High School graduate, and although admitting he has slowed a bit, “I’m not inactive. I’m carrying out most of my duties.

“It doesn’t mean any changes except someone else becomes the pastor,” he explained.

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The one-time Los Angeles College Seminary student is also forthright about his feelings about what he calls “outlawing” the name of God in schools and other places.

“When something is outlawed it makes it sound like it is condemned,” he said. “It’s a tragedy that legislative bodies have gone to that extent to not mention the word of God. They are committing moral suicide.”

Roughan, who once cured a stuttering problem with singing lessons, believes the ruling has even more far-reaching effects.

He claims that when young people grow up lacking a sense of reverence for God, “they are not apt to have much consideration in pleasing a fellow creature. They become self-centered.”

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And while Roughan has spent most of his life counseling others, he has helped himself with a fine golf game.

Roughan, whose parents were born in Ireland but met in Hollywood, once broke par at the Hacienda Golf Club in La Habra.

He claimed it was the luck of the Irish . It happened on St. Patrick’s Day in 1959.

Finally, after delivering an estimated 4,000 babies, Dr. Dave David, 39, got one of his own.

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“Each baby I’ve had the privilege of delivering has been perfect,” he said. “But somehow this one is even more perfect.”

The Newport Beach physician and his wife Jeri named their 6-pound, 11-ounce son Harrison.

For the first time, David will be able to bring his own family to the annual picnic he hosts for the families of babies he has delivered.

David, a Laguna Beach resident, is also the star of “Making Womb for Baby!,” a comprehensive video on pregnancy and childbirth.

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