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Monsignor John W. Higgins


Posted By: Anthony Hill (email)
Date: 8/27/2021 at 16:14:08

The Winterset Madisonian
Winterset Madisonian Page 1 April 12, 1972
Bishop Conducts Requiem
Mass for Father Higgins
Bishop Maurice Dingman of the Des Moines diocese of the Roman Catholic church conducted the requiem mass Friday at St. Joseph’s Catholic church in Winterset for Msgr. John W. Higgins, pastor of the church, whose death had occurred Tuesday, April 4, at Mercy hospital in Des Moines.
The Rev. Charles Phelan, pastor of St. Theresa’s Catholic church in Des Moines, a close friend of Monsignor Higgins, gave the eulogy. Other priests assisting with the Mass included Monsignor Higgins brother, the Rev. Daniel Higgins of Omaha, and Monsignor Thomas Costin of Council Bluffs, the Rev. John Hart of Council Bluffs and the Rev. John Ryan of Cummings and the Revs Mark Neiman and Daniel Ryan of Omaha.
Rosaries for Monsignor Higgins had been recited last Wednesday and Thursday evenings at St. Joseph’s church. Burial was made in the Winterset cemetery.
Msgr. John W. Higgins was a native of Chicago, where he was born July 17, 1907, a son of Hugh C. and Teresa Murray Higgins. Most of his early life was spent in Council Bluffs, where he graduated from St. Francis High school. He started his studies for the priesthood at Creighton university in Omaha, where he graduated in 1930. He then studied at St. Marys’ seminary in Baltimore, Md. and was ordained into the priesthood in 1934 by Bishop Gerald Bergan of the Des Moines diocese. He took graduate work at Harvard university in Massachusetts and the State University of Iowa in Iowa City, and taught at St. Anthony’s school in Des Moines in 1934, and at Iowa City in 1935 and 1936. From 1936 until 1953 he taught and served as registrar at Dowling High School in Des Moines. He then served two years as pastor at Lacona, before coming to Winterset in 1955 where the last 17 years of his life were spent as pastor of St. Joseph’s church.
Monsignor Higgins served as chaplain for the Catholic Deaf association in the Des Moines area, and his outstanding work in that field over a long period of years was a major factor in his elevation to the title of monsignor, by Pope John XXIII, after coming to the Winterset church.
Monsignor Higgins also served as chaplain to the Des Moines chapter of Serra International, and to the Des Moines Knights of Columbus.
After coming to St. Joseph’s parish Monsignor Higgins helped organize the Pope John XXIII fraternity of the third Order of St. Francis, and served as its spiritual advisor until his death.
During his 17 years of residence in Winterset Monsignor Higgins took an active and leading part in many phases of community life. For many years he had served as chairman of the annual fund drive of the American Cancer society in Madison county. He was active in the Winterset Lions club, president of the Winterset Ministerial association and member of the Madison county Health Planning council.
Monsignor Higgins is survived by three brothers, the Rev. Daniel J. Higgins of Omaha, Hugh M. P. Higgins of Omaha, and William J. Higgins of Council Bluffs; and two sisters, Mrs. James E. Carr of Chicago and Mrs. Robert J. McCabe of Denver, Colo.


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