Death notice, week of February 12, 2022

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The priest “exuded a certain simple holiness”

Msgr. Lawrence E. Hincha retired priest from the Diocese of Brooklyn, died Thursday, January 27 at the age of 88.

Msgr. Lawrence E. Hinch

Born September 11, 1933, in Brooklyn, Father Hinch attended Cathedral College in Douglaston, NY, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in May 1955. He attended Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, NY, and was ordained a priest on May 30, 1959. He completed his post-ordination studies at the Catholic University of Ponce, Puerto Rico.

On February 25, 1988, Father Hinch was appointed Honorary Prelate (Mgr.) of His Holiness.

Msgr. Hinch served the Brooklyn Diocese as Parish Vicar of Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Brooklyn (1959); as director of the Saint Paul Cursillo Center (1966); and as pastor in the parishes of Saint Laurence, Brooklyn (1979), Saint Therese, Woodside (1985) and Saint Therese of Avila, South Ozone Park (1985). Later, Msgr. Hinch has been an active senior priest at the parish of Holy Child Jesus, Richmond Hill (2005) and temporary administrator of Saint Anthony of Padua, South Ozone Park (2007). In 2003 he retired to Holy Child Jesus Church, and in 2007 he moved to Bishop Mugavero Residence for Senior Priests in Douglaston, then to Sunrise of Holbrook Residence, Holbrook, New York.

“I had known him for almost 40 years. He was a humble priest and a wonderful human being,” said Susana Villegas, a longtime parishioner from St. Teresa, Woodside, and Holy Child Jesus parishes who often performed Spanish translation duties for Bishop. Hinch. “He didn’t care where you were from…he just cared about you as a person.”

Msgr. Hinch is survived by one sister, Kathleen Dunphy; nephews Edward Dunphy, Thomas Gallagher, James Dunphy and Shawn Dunphy; and nieces Patricia Yetman and Barbara Ann Freeman. A funeral mass was held on February 5 at Holy Child Jesus Church in Richmond Hill. Interment took place at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn.


Father Francis John Labitaa retired priest from the Diocese of Brooklyn, died Jan. 31 at age 98. Father Labita was born on May 28, 1923 in New York and was ordained a priest on June 11, 1949.

Father Francis John Labita

Father Labita served the Brooklyn Diocese as pastor of Saint Patrick Parish, Long Island City, (1977-1983). He also served as Parish Vicar for the parishes of Our Lady of the Angels, Brooklyn (1949); St. Mel, Flushing (1965); and Our Lady of Grace, Howard Beach (1983).

“He was a kind and generous priest, very charitable, who exuded a certain simple holiness,” said Father Robert Powers, the current pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Long Island City.

A funeral mass was celebrated on Friday February 4 at the Immaculate Conception Center, Little Neck, New York. Interment was in St. John’s Cemetery, Middle Village, New York.


Sister Helen McTaggart, SC., born September 26, 1932, Manhattan, died January 28, Cabrini of Westchester, Dobbs Ferry, New York. Sister Helen was 89 years old and in her 71st year of commitment as a Sister of Charity.

Sister Helen McTaggart, SC

Sister Helen was one of two daughters and a son born to Michael and Catherine Walsh McTaggart. She graduated from Saint Rose of Lima Elementary and Cathedral High School, both in Manhattan, and attended Saint John’s University in Queens for a year before entering the Sisters of Charity on September 8, 1951. She graduated his BA in History from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, an MA in European History from Fordham University, and earned New York State Permanent Certification in Social Studies grades 7-12. She went on to earn a JD from Saint John University School of Law and was called to the New York State Bar in 1978.

Sister Helen has divided her 52 years of active ministry between teaching in the classroom (20 years) and practicing law (32 years). She taught elementary school at St. Charles Borromeo in Brooklyn and Saint Peter in Staten Island, and was Director of Education at Saint Agatha Home in Nanuet. His high school assignments were at Bishop McDonnell in Brooklyn, Xavier College and Saint Augustine College in the Bahamas, and Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx.

In 1990, Sister Helen developed a private law practice. In 2001, she entered full-time private practice until her retirement in 2006. Her first nine years of retirement were at the Convent of Mary the Queen in Yonkers. In 2015, she joined the retired Sisters of Charity at Schervier Nursing Care Center in the Bronx and later moved to Cabrini from Westchester, where she died.

A funeral mass was celebrated on February 2 at St. Margaret of Cortona Church in the Bronx. Interment was in St. Joseph Cemetery, Yonkers, New York.


Sister Eleanor Nishio, RSMmember of the Sisters of Mercy, Mid-Atlantic Community for 73 years, died on Wednesday, January 12 at McAuley Hall Health Center in Watchung, New Jersey, at age 93.

Sister Eleanor Nishio, RSM

Born in Passaic, New Jersey, she attended St. Gerard Majella Elementary School, Hollis, New York, and Mercy Juniorate High School, Brooklyn.

She entered the Sisters of Mercy novitiate in Syosset in September 1947 and made her final vows in September 1953. Sister Eleanor earned a BS in education from Fordham University and an MA in education and art history from SUNY New Paltz, New York.

His ministry as a teacher began in St. Gregory, Crown Heights (1950-51) and continued in St. Thomas Aquinas, Flatlands (1951-57); Queen of Angels, Sunnyside (1957-61); Saint Therese of Lisieux (1961-62); Sacred Heart, Adelphi Street (1962-64); Catherine McAuley HS (1964-68); Bishop McDonnell DHS (1968-73); DHS of the Holy Trinity, Hicksville, New York (1973-75); Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Syosset (1975-84); and St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn (1985-89).

From 1990 to 2005, Sister Eleanor served as archivist at the Convent of Mercy in Brooklyn.

A funeral mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Mercy Church, Hicksville, New York, and interment took place in St. Charles Cemetery, Farmingdale.

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