Ron McGivern was born in Liverpool on 30 March 1934, the son of Joseph and Lilian McGivern. He attended St John's School, Kirkdale, St Elizabeth's Central School, Liverpool and the printing department of Liverpool Art College. He spent more than 40 years in the printing industry, firstly as an apprentice printer at J Kilburn, Liverpool (1949–54) and then as a printer at H Evans and Son (1954–58), Elliot and Yeoman (1958–59) and J and C Moores Ltd (1959–94).
He married Maureen Doyle at St John's, Kirkdale on 2 April 1956 and together they had six children. In the early 1960s Ron and his family moved to Hindley and he became active in St Benedict's parish. His involvement in various parish activities eventually led to him applying to serve as a permanent deacon. He was ordained deacon by Archbishop Derek Worlock in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King on 4 July 1982. Ron served in three parishes as deacon: St Benedict's, Hindley (1982–84), St William's, Ince (1984–91) and St Marys, Wigan (1991–95).
He retired from the printing industry in 1994, planning to spend more time with Maureen. However, his wife died just weeks later in December 1994 and he then had to reassess how he would spend his remaining years. After careful consideration, and after seeking advice from his family and others, he offered himself for service as a priest. Archbishop Worlock accepted his application and he was sent to the Beda College, Rome for seminary training. He was ordained priest by Archbishop Patrick Kelly at St Mary's, Wigan on 27 March 1999. Later that year he was appointed assistant priest in the parishes of Holy Trinity and St Francis of Assisi, Garston. Two years later he returned to St William's, Ince as parish priest and in 2004 took on the additional responsibility of St Patrick's, Wigan. He ministered in these two parishes until March this year, when the increasing effects of motor neurone disease forced his retirement.
His Funeral Mass was celebrated at St Patrick's Church on Wednesday 27 September.