Father Joseph Waters, SSJ
died: January 5, 2007
The Reverend Joseph L. Waters S.S.J., 86, died January 5, 2007 at St Joseph Manor, Baltimore, Maryland. St Joseph Manor is the retirement and recuperation facility for St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart, the Josephite Fathers and Brothers. The Josephites are a Roman Catholic Society of Catholic service for Evangelization to African American Communities throughout the United States since 1893.
Father Waters, born May 24, 1920 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of Charles E. Waters and Mary E. Ryan Waters, was the middle of five children. He had one brother, Charles Jr., and three sisters, Mary Elizabeth Garty, Helen A. Dixon, and Marie Therese Cummins. Fr. Waters is survived by his sisters Mrs. Elizabeth Garty and family of Philadelphia and Mrs. Marie Therese Cummins and family of Terra Haute, Indiana.
Father Waters was an outstanding scholar. He was educated at Our Lady of Lourdes School and West Philadelphia Catholic High School before beginning studies for the priesthood. He completed college at Epiphany Apostolic College, Newburgh, New York and St. Joseph Seminary in Washington D.C. This major seminary is the Josephite center for studies in Philosophy and Theology. Joseph Waters was ordained to the priesthood on February 3, 1944 at the National Shrine in Washington, DC.
Following ordination, Father Waters was associate pastor at Holy Redeemer parish in Washington, D.C., as well as a student at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He received his Bachelor’s Degree, the Licentiate and his Doctorate in Canon Law in 1951. He continued in this field as a member of the Canon Law Society of America, was also member of the Catholic Theological Society of America, was professor of Canon Law at St. Joseph Seminary, teaching Moral theology as well. He was secretary to the Seminary’s committee for accreditation for Josephite institutions. He wrote many articles for the Josephite Harvest, the Society’s magazine.
Joseph L. Waters was prominent in the Josephite Chapter of Renewal, and worked for many years on the revision of the Society’s constitution. His contribution assured the success of the renewal of the Society. Over the years he served many times as an elected Consultor to the Superior. As pastor in several dioceses he also had successful roles in local diocesan administration: as Dean, Tribunal Judge, diocesan Consultor, School board member in New Orleans and Galveston-Houston dioceses. In 1980, he was elected as Consultor General for
After 1968, Joseph L. Waters served as pastor in New Orleans, Louisiana, at Corpus Christi and Blessed Sacrament parishes, and in Washington, D.C. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish. For a short time he was rector of Saint Augustine High School in New Orleans, and then pastor in Holy Rosary Church in Galveston, and Holy Family Church in McNair, Texas. Hip surgery in 1993 sent him to St. Joseph Manor in Baltimore, Maryland for recuperation. This marked the beginning of a long and difficult series of health issues which gradually worsened. He returned to the major seminary as Rector.
After his term ended, he took responsibility for preaching and fund raising at various parishes throughout the United States, aiding immeasurably the useful work of the Josephites. But continuing difficulties with his hip and other ailments slowly reduced his range of activities. He was always a joyful, positive man, with a lively sense of humor, strong opinions, and not shy about sharing his stories with anyone around him. Joe Waters had many stories.
And he would often regale his friends with renditions from many Broadway musicals, especially “Hello, Dolly” at an immeasurable volume. It became his signature. At heart he was compassionate, kind and humble, belying his ebullient personality. Everyone could see his heart. Well respected in the Josephites and outside, he was a good priest, something he was quite willing in good humor to point out to all and sundry.
Joseph Louis Waters served Christ in his priesthood with devotion and honor. It would not be of the faith and would diminish his life to begrudge his return to the Father after his faithful life, but he will be missed and mourned.
Viewing at St. Joseph Seminary Washington, D.C. 1200 Varnum Street, NE, Washington, D.C., 20017 is at 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday, January 9, 2007. The Mass of Jesus Christ, the High Priest, is celebrated also on Tuesday, January 9, 2007, at 7:00 P.M at St. Joseph Seminary, Washington, D.C. The celebrant is Fr John Filippelli SSJ; the homilist is Fr Howard Johnson. Viewing at St. Joseph Manor, 911 West Lake Avenue, Baltimore, Md, 21210 is from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, January 10, 2007.The Mass of Christian Burial also will be celebrated Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 11:00 A.M. at St. Joseph Manor. Fr. Edward Chiffriller, SSJ, Superior General, will celebrate the Mass and Father Steven Brett will be the homilist. Burial is in the Josephite plot in New Cathedral Cemetery, Baltimore.