Trent Lawson Watts, 67, pastor of Little Flower Parish

Trent Lawson Watts

WILMINGTON — The Rev. Trent Lawson Watts, 67, died Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. He was born Aug. 20, 1953, in Roswell, New Mexico, to the late Elsie (Edge) Watts and the late Mack Guilford Watts.

He is survived by his sister, Celeste (Watts) Byrd; niece, JoBeth Byrd Riker (Justin); nephew, Alexander Byrd (Hannah); extended family members; and special friends, Pat Ciemnicki and Joe Biancio.

Father Watts graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. After discerning a vocation to the priesthood, Father Watts entered formation and studies for the Priesthood for the Diocese of Raleigh in 1988, completing his M.Div. Degree at Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1992. Father Watts was ordained to the priesthood Jan. 30, 1993, at the Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary, Wilmington, by the Most Rev. F. Joseph Gossman, Bishop of Raleigh.

In the Diocese of Raleigh, Father Watts served as parochial vicar of Good Shepherd Parish in Hope Mills; parochial vicar of Saint Thomas More Parish in Chapel Hill; parochial vicar of Saint Patrick Parish in Fayetteville; as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Dunn; pastor of the Saint Therese of Lisieux Parish in Wilson; pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Southport; and pastor of Saint Therese, the Little Flower Parish in Wrightsville Beach, where he was currently serving at the time of his death.

The funeral arrangements for Father Watts are as follows. Reception of the body and vigil for the deceased will be held at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 20, at Saint Mark Catholic Church, Wilmington, with the Very Rev. John McGee, OSFS, V.F., presiding. Visitation and private prayer will then follow until 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 21, at Saint Mark Catholic Church, Wilmington, with the Most Rev. Luis Rafael Zarama, Bishop of Raleigh, principal celebrant. Interment will take place at a later time and will be private to the family, as per the wishes of Father Watts.

In these days of precautions, seating for the funeral Mass will be limited, but you may also pray the Mass via the live broadcast. Kindly see the parish website for information on seating and for the link to the live broadcast at If attending the Mass in person, kindly note and respectfully observe the described parish health safety protocols, also found on the parish website.

Memorial contributions in Father Trent’s memory may be made to the charity of your choice. Mass cards may be sent to Saint Therese, 209 S. Lumina Ave., Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480.

Share online condolences with the family at White Funeral and Cremation Service.

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