Tampa City Council honors Monsignor Higgins
One day after the death of Monsignor Laurence E. Higgins, Tampa City Council honored the Irish priest who was a valued confident to many city and business leaders.
Thursday’s council meeting began with a eulogy written by Steve Michelini, a local political consultant, who has known Higgins since the late 1970s and worked with him to set up Tampa’s cable TV franchise. Higgins baptized all of Michelini’s children and grandchildren.
The eulogy included this poignant passage:
“He walked with kings, presidents, world leaders, popes, senators and governors, and yet never lost the common touch. He filled the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run. His counsel was sought by many when times were good as well as bad. He saw the ebb and flow of prosperity and decline.
Tampa was chosen as his home, no Tampa chose and embraced him and all he has done. Not a native son by birth but rather a native son by acclimation.”
Monsignor Higgins died at his rectory home at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, the parish he was sent to Tampa to found in 1958. He had been in and out of the hospital for the last couple of years, had struggled in recent months and succumbed to heart failure.
He was the pastor at St. Lawrence for 49 years