Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Community to honor Monsignor Higgins with statue

The legacy of the late Monsignor Laurence Higgins will be immortalized in a 6-foot, 300-pound, bronze statue to be installed on Oct. 7.

CHRIS URSO | Times (2007)

The legacy of the late Monsignor Laurence Higgins will be immortalized in a 6-foot, 300-pound, bronze statue to be installed on Oct. 7.

TAMPA — In six decades of guiding St. Lawrence Catholic Church worshipers, the late Monsignor Laurence Higgins' leadership also made life better for countless Tampa residents, a legacy that will now be immortalized in a 6-foot, 300-pound, bronze statue to be installed outside Higgins Hall on Oct. 7.

Bishop Gregory Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg will bless the statue and the city will unveil a sign renaming part of Himes Avenue as Monsignor Higgins Avenue. The public is welcome to attend the 6 p.m. installation which will be streamed live on the parish website, stlawrence.org.

Three plaques will be attached to the likeness. One details his biography below the words Welcome Home. A side plaque includes his sermon-ending catch phrase, "Let's Do it." Another expresses his strong belief in La Familia, the family unit.

"We had some job convincing him," said Bob Best, a longtime parishioner and close friend, recalling the effort to win the ailing clergyman's approval to commission sculptor Linda Ackley. "He really didn't think he was worthy."

Nor did he approve of the expense.

"He would have far preferred the money go to charity, which is why we kept it really quiet," said Best, adding that a handful of influential friends covered the undisclosed cost.

"It was a good deal," Best said. "Linda treated us well, and there's a lot of people who loved him. About six months before he died in August 2016 we convinced him this was a way to keep his mission alive."

Best is organizing a fundraising dinner to follow the public installation, to be emceed by former WFLA-Ch. 8 anchor Gayle Sierens, with 700 guests celebrating his church and civic contributions. Guest speakers will include Monsignor's nephew, Martin Gourley, former mayor Dick Greco and parishioner Mark Donohue. Tickets are $75, with all proceeds providing financial aid to Cristo Rey Tampa High School, St. Peter Claver School, and St. Lawrence Catholic School students — all schools that Monsignor helped found and maintain.

"He did so many things beyond the church," Best said. "He was an incredible guy."

Community to honor Monsignor Higgins with statue 08/11/17 [Last modified: Friday, August 11, 2017 5:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]