Episcopal Vicar for Veterans Affairs
Bishop Richard B. Higgins is Vicar for Veterans Affairs at the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA (AMS) where he is responsible for over 270 Catholic chaplains in 153 VA Medical Centers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam. Bishop Higgins also serves as the Bishop Protector for the 10,000 members of the Catholic War Veterans of America and shares responsibility for the Eastern Vicariate of the AMS.
Bishop Higgins was born 22 February 1944 in Longford, Ireland. He is a graduate of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome and was ordained a priest for the diocese of Sacramento, California 9 March 1968. Following parish assignments in Roseville and Grass Valley Bishop Higgins entered the United States Air Force in September 1974 and served as a Catholic chaplain until his retirement in the grade of colonel in October 2004.
Bishop Higgins’ Air Force assignments included Lowry AFB, NAS Keflavik, Laughlin AFB, Bitburg AB, Malmstrom AFB, Air Command & Staff College, Maxwell AFB, RAF Lakenheath, Pope AFB, United States Air Force Academy, Nellis AFB, Headquarters United States Air Forces Europe, and Headquarters Pacific Air Forces. The bishop is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College and Air War College. His many military decorations include The Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster and the Meritorious Service Medal with seven oak leave clusters.
Bishop Higgins was named a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) in 1996. In April of 2004 he was named titular bishop of Casa Calanae and auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese for the Military Services by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. He was ordained a bishop 3 July 2004 in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC and assumed his present duties 1 October 2004.
Bishop Higgins is a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and several Flight Instructor Certificates. He is also a seasoned motorcyclist and rides a BMW R1100RT.