Barely a day after celebrating his 53rd birthday on Sunday, Fr. David Hudgins, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Lansing and pastor of the St. Joseph Shrine in Brooklyn, Michigan, was killed in a car crash Monday, devastating family, friends and parishioners who “absolutely adored him.”
The Diocese of Lansing announced his death in a statement on Facebook Monday evening, calling for prayers.
“Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of Father David Hudgins, Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Lansing and Pastor of Saint Joseph Shrine in Brooklyn, who was killed in a car accident this morning,” the diocese said, noting that the crash occurred just before 8:30 a.m. on U.S. 127 between Page Avenue and South Street in Jackson County.
Michael Jester, director of public safety for Blackman-Leoni Township, told Daily Telegram that Hudgins, who was a resident of Brooklyn, was on his way to pick up a family member from the airport when the crash happened. Jester said the pastor, who was driving a 1999 Dodge Ram pickup northbound, lost control of the vehicle on the icy roads, went through a median, rolled over, then landed in the southbound lanes of U.S. 127. He was pronounced dead at the scene and was the only occupant of the vehicle.
Officials at the Saint Joseph Shrine were not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Christian Post on Wednesday, but friends like fellow Michigan priest, Fr. Joseph Krupp, shared warm memories on him online.
“We shared a rectory for 3 years & they were amazing years because of his goodness. He was filled with joy, fueled by prayer & humbly obscured his razor sharp intellect with great humor. We are devastated by this loss in our diocese,” Krupp said in a tweet on Monday in which he also recalled how much Hudgins’ parishioners “absolutely adored him.”
“He loved the Eucharist. He was crazy about Chesterton & Tolkien. His parishioners absolutely adored him. I know with all my heart that this morning, a voice he knew & loved all his life said to him ‘Well done, good & faithful servant,’” Krupp added. “Please pray for our Bishop @BishopBoyea. Pray for the soul of Fr. David. Pray for his parishes. I’ll miss you, brother; I hope to see you in the clearing at the end of the path. Until that day, pray that I’m a good priest.”
The Catholic Charities of Jackson Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties also expressed sadness about Hudgins’ passing, noting how he was a strong supporter of their work.
“We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Fr. David Hudgins,” the group began in a statement on Facebook. “Fr. Dave was a former Board member at Catholic Charities, a member of our St. Teresa of Calcutta Giving Society, and a tremendous supporter of our work. He will be greatly missed by us all. May the angels welcome him this day to paradise. Eternal rest grant unto him, oh Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.”
There will be a visitation on Jan. 7 from 2-7 p.m. at St. Joseph Shrine Church. His funeral will take place on Jan. 8 at 10 a.m., at St. Mary Cathedral located at 219 Seymour Ave. in Lansing.