NARRAGANSETT — Reverend John E. Watterson, 82, Pastor Emeritus of St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish in Narragansett, died Sunday, December 22, 2019.
Born in Newport, son of the late John E. and Edith M. (Rafferty) Watterson, he attended St. Mary School and De La Salle Academy, both in Newport.
In preparation for the priesthood, he studied at Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Warwick, at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, and at the American College in Louvain, Belgium. He was ordained a priest on July 1, 1962 in Louvain, Belgium by Bishop Honore Van Waeyenburgh.
After ordination, Father Watterson served as Chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital in Providence (1962-66). In 1966 he became a Chaplain in the U.S. Army and served until 1992 in various parts of the world with the rank of Colonel. After his return from the Army he became Chaplain at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket with residence at St. Mary Parish, Pawtucket (1992-94).
In 1994, Father Watterson was appointed part-time Chaplain at the R.I. Medical Center in Cranston and part-time Director of the Office of Health Care Ministries of the Diocese of Providence, while remaining in residence at St. Mary, Pawtucket. In 1996, he became pastor of St. Mary, Pawtucket, while continuing as part-time Chaplain at the R.I. Medical Center and part-time Director of the Office of Health Care Ministries. In 2001, he was appointed pastor of St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish in Narragansett, and was named Dean of Deanery VIII in 2006. Father retired as Pastor Emeritus of St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish in 2008.
During his retirement years, Father Watterson resided within the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts.
A Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial for the repose of his soul was offered on January 4 at St. Theresa Church, Tiverton with diocesan Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia Msgr. Albert A. Kenney as the main celebrant and homilist. Bishop Louis E. Gelineau concelebrated the funeral Mass with other clergy in attendance. Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans attended and led prayers of Final Commendation. Burial was in the Rhode Island Veterans’ Cemetery in Exeter.