Monsignor Laurence E. Higgins, longtime Tampa Bay parish priest, dies at 87

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Monsignor Laurence E. Higgins, an Irish priest who spent nearly a half-century as a pastor along Florida’s West Coast, has died.

The church confirmed the 87-year-old Higgins died Wednesday.

Higgins was sent to Tampa at age 29, less than five years after he took his vows. In the six decades that followed, he not only created a community of faith at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, but helped build Tampa’s commercial and social service infrastructure, serving on so many charitable boards he lost count.

The Tampa Bay Times reported he died at his rectory home at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. He was originally from Derry County in Northern Ireland.

The church announced his funeral will be next week. Further details weren’t immediately available.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.