Father Michael J. Waites, a priest for 34 years, who served in the Archdiocese of Toronto and then the Diocese of Trenton, died Sept. 21. He was 72.
Funeral services will be held Oct. 5 in Sacred Heart Church, 103 Fourth Street, Riverton, where Father Waites had served as pastor from June 2009 until his retirement in 2015. Visitation will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at which time a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated.
Father Waites was born in 1945 in Philadelphia and was the oldest of seven children. He received his early education in the former Immaculate Conception School, Levittown, Pa., and Bishop Egan High School, Levittown. After two years in Bishop Egan, he entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Although he spent time working in personnel and human resources at a local retail store in Allentown, Pa., he realized he wanted to continue his studies for the priesthood. He entered St. Michael’s College/St. Augustine Seminary, Toronto, Canada, where he received a master of divinity degree from the college’s school of theology.
Father Waites, in a 2015 interview with The Monitor, told of how St. Michael’s was staffed by the Third Order Religious Franciscan Fathers, priests whom he had been taught by in high school. “I liked the university and I started working in the Diocese there while studying” and ultimately decided to pursue his ministry in Toronto.
Father Waites was ordained a priest Sept. 24, 1983, in St. Michael Cathedral, Toronto, by Cardinal G. Emmett Carter. From there, he began a series of Canadian appointments, starting in 1983 as parochial vicar in Blessed Trinity Parish, Willowdale, Toronto.
Subsequently, he served as associate pastor from 1988-1992 in St. Thomas More Parish, Scarborough, Toronto, from 1992-1995, as pastor in St. Timothy Parish, Orangeville, Toronto, and from 1995-2003, as pastor in St. Patrick, Markham, Toronto.
In 2001, Father Waites returned to the United States to serve as a priest closer to home and his mother whose health had declined. In 2003, he was assigned to the Trenton Diocese, serving as administrator in St. Denis Parish, Manasquan. In 2004 he became administrator of Sacred Heart, Parish, Bay Head, and in 2005, was named administrator of St. Joseph Parish, Toms River. He was incardinated as a priest of the Trenton Diocese in April, 2005.
As pastor, Father Waites served the Diocese of Trenton in St. Rose Parish, Belmar, and then Sacred Heart Parish, Riverton. In retirement, Father Waites resided in Villa Vianney, the diocesan facility for retired priests in Lawrenceville.