Minnesota Catholic Conference Mourns Passing of Former Executive Director Monsignor James D. Habiger


St. Paul, Minn (October 10, 2012)—Monsignor James D. Habiger, former executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, passed away Tuesday.  He was 85.

Monsignor Habiger was named executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference in 1980 and held the position for 15 years, representing the Catholic bishops of Minnesota on social, legal and political issues and lobbying the legislature on their behalf. He also served as chaplain of the Minnesota House and Senate.

“Monsignor James Habiger was a beloved friend to those on the margins of society,” said Jason Adkins, Minnesota Catholic Conference executive director.  “He was and will continue to be an inspiration to many social justice advocates who carry on his legacy.  For example, it was Monsignor Habiger’s committee testimony that finally elicited the votes to pass MNCare legislation, providing health insurance for low-income Minnesotans.  His work left a lasting impact on the state of Minnesota in many areas.  He will be missed.”

Under his direction, the Minnesota Catholic Conference was one of the founding members of Minnesota FoodShare, and an active participant in the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition.  Always stating his own positions clearly and fully, he cherished the opportunity to learn from those of other traditions as well.

Msgr. Habiger is perhaps best known for his work in the public arena, but he was always first a priest—and proud to wear the roman collar.  Through his years at MCC, and in diocesan school administration, there were few Sundays or weekdays that he was not in a parish celebrating Mass.

The people of Holy Name parish in Medina, St. Peter’s in North St. Paul, St. Joseph’s in Lino Lakes, and Lumen Christi in St. Paul, all remember him as a friend and gifted homilist.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 15, in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of St Thomas with visitation in the chapel at 9 a.m. There also will be a visitation from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in North St. Paul, with prayers at 4 p.m.

CONTACT:  Jessica Zittlow O: 651-256-7579/ C: 651-368-1043 [email protected]



Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) coordinates the Catholic Church’s non-partisan lobbying and public policy activities on behalf of the bishops of Minnesota. It supports the ministry of the Minnesota Catholic bishops by: working with political and community leaders to shape legislation that serves the common good; educating Catholics and the public about the ethical and moral framework that should be applied to public policy choices; and, mobilizing the Catholic community to makes its voice heard in the public arena. MCC advocacy areas include economic welfare, human trafficking, immigration, education, bio-ethics, religious liberty, and marriage and family. On the grassroots level, MCC’s MN Catholic Advocacy Network (MNCAN) and Parent Advocacy Network provide opportunities for Minnesota Catholics to carry out their responsibility to participate in political life. For more information or to join MNCAN, including the Parent Advocacy Network, visit mncatholic.org. Follow MCC on Facebook and Twitter.

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