Msgr. James J. Heslin, a retired pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Jacksonville, and a diocesan leader died Thursday morning, July 23, 2020. He was 89.
He retired as pastor of Holy Spirit on June 30, 2006, where he served for more than 20 years. His long and distinguished service began with his ordination at St. Patrick’s Seminary, Thurles County, Tipperary, Ireland, in 1954.
He arrived at the Diocese of St. Augustine in Sept. 1954. He was pastor of St. Paul’s Parish, Jacksonville Beach from 1958-1969, overseeing the expansion of the parish school. He was rector of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine for nearly eight years. In 1977, Msgr. Heslin was appointed pastor of Resurrection Parish in Jacksonville, and in 1985, he was appointed pastor of Holy Spirit. He watched that parish grow from a few hundred families to more than 1,000 by 2006.
Msgr. Heslin also served as dean of the South Jacksonville Deanery in 1977, a position he held until 1991. And he contributed to the St. Augustine Catholic magazine while serving on its editorial board from 1995-2006.
In retirement, Msgr. Heslin volunteered at Arlington Community Services and continued his stead-fast work protecting the sanctity of life.
Msgr. Heslin is survived by several nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Tuesday, July 28, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 11665 Fort Caroline Road, Jacksonville. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 29th in Holy Spirit Catholic Church with Bishop Felipe J. Estevez as Celebrant and Reverend William Kelly as homilist. A Private interment will be at San Lorenzo Catholic Cemetery in St. Augustine.
The service will be streamed live Wednesday on https://www.facebook.com/HolySpiritJax and https://HolySpiritChurchJax.org