The Monsignor Mulligan Story
By Don Dvornik
Founding Pastor, Rev. Monsignor Edward J. Mulligan, was bom in the small town of Arva in Cavan County, Ireland. He has two sisters, Maura and Kathleen, and a brother Patrick. His mother and father are both deceased.
As a young man of eighteen, he made the decision to follow Christ and entered the seminary. His family was most supportive of his choice to become a man of the cloth. The Vincentian Order ran All Hallows Seminary where they trained young men to become Diocesan priests. It was a rigorous six-year religious training program and Monsignor Mulligan relieved stress by playing Gaelic football. He enjoyed a hard-hitting game and earned the nickname Dirty Eddie. As the goalkeeper, he was coached to save one kick for the ball and one for the opponent.
Following ordination, Monsignor Mulligan was sent to Miami where he was assigned the duties of Assistant Pastor at Corpus Christi Church. He also taught religion and basic math to sophomores and juniors at Archbishop Curley High School.
In 1958, he was appointed Parish Priest at St. Mary of the Lakes in Eustis. His parish had about 500 families and he did double duty by saying Mass in Claremont at a mission church built in an orange grove. The church owned twenty-seven acres and sold the fruit to pay off the church debt.
A few months later, Monsignor Mulligan was called to St. Augustine as Assistant Pastor at the Cathedral and also served as Secretary to Archbishop Hurley. In 1960, he was sent to establish a parish, The Church of the Transfiguration, in north St. Petersburg. This church was also located on ten acres in an orange grove. Monsignor Mulligan said daily Mass in an old two-story building in the grove and on Sundays he held Mass in a nearby high school auditorium.
In 1961, after selling lots of oranges, the parish built a temporary church, a small school and a convent. Monsignor Mulligan found a wonderful home there and stayed one month shy of twenty years. Monsignor Mulligan arrived at St. Brendan's in September 1979 as the new Administrator. St. Brendan's was originally a mission church of St. Cecelia's and had just recently been dedicated. Then in June 1984 he was installed as Pastor. Monsignor Mulligan had no assistant and had to recruit help to say additional Masses.
At the request of Bishop Larkin, our Holy Pope John Paul II named Monsignor Mulligan a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and on October 25, 1985, Monsignor Mulligan was invested in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Another highlight of his life was concelebrating a private Mass with Pope John Paul in Rome in 1987, along with Bishop Larkin (a seminary classmate of the Pope) and others. Monsignor Mulligan hails Bishop Larkin and his cousin Monsignor Trainor as being his role models. He calls them both "the guiding lights of my spiritual life."
In November, 1999, Monsignor Mulligan retired. Soon after, Msgr. James C. Lara joined the parish as Pastor Pro-Tempore. In 2001 Monsignor Michael F. Devine was appointed permanent pastor.