Laurence Higgins

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Monsignor Laurence Higgins is the founder and Pastor Emeritus of the St. Lawrence Catholic parish of Tampa, Florida and the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg. Higgins served as pastor from 1958 to 2007. A celebrated member of the Tampa Bay community, Higgins received the 1994 Outstanding Citizen of the Year award from the Tampa branch of the Civitan Club. Upon his retirement, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio proclaimed the week of June 21 to June 30 2007 as "Higgin's Days."

Higgins was born September 3, 1928 in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland. He was ordained a Catholic priest on June 21, 1953 at All Hallows Seminary in Dublin, Ireland. He was transferred to the Florida Diocese of St. Augustine where he worked in Miami, and then in Tampa where he founded St. Lawrence Catholic Church in 1958. As a priest he has served as the Vicar General of the Diocese of St. Petersburg under the late Bishop Thomas Larkin. In 1983, Pope John Paul II gave him the title of Monsignor Prelate of Honor and subsequently in 1988 Protonotary Apostolic, the highest rank of Monsignor.

As pastor, Higgins oversaw the development of the St. Lawrence Parish and the St. Lawrence Catholic School. He led fund-raising efforts for local high school communities as well, including a donation from his friend George Steinbrenner for the building of...
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