Father John Waiss has been a Catholic priest since 1987. He studied mechanical engineering from the Universities of Notre Dame (Bachelor) and Stanford (Master), and worked three years as a design engineer and software developer. He went to Rome to study in philosophy and theology, completing a doctoral thesis on Thomas Aquinas in September 2013.

In 1987, at the shrine to Our Lady of Torreciudad in Spain, he was ordained a priest for Opus Dei, a personal prelature of the Catholic Church dedicated to applying Christian principles to secular life and the workplace. As a priest, Father John has served as chaplain for various Opus Dei centers in Northern and Southern California, San Antonio, Texas, and New Rochelle, New York. His extensive work of guiding souls has included junior high and high school students (and their parents), college and young working men and women, and married people. 

He has been the pastor of St. Mary of the Angels Church since May 2014, after gaining much experience from its longtime pastor, Fr. Hilary Mahaney.

  • 2014: Pastor of St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois.
  • 2012: Associate Pastor of St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois.
  • 2011: Assistant Chaplain of Northridge Preparatory School (Niles, Illinois) and Willows Academy (Des Plaines, Illinois).
  • 2007 - 2011: Chaplain of Overlook Study Center and Vancourt (New Rochelle, New York). I preach spiritual conferences and give personal spiritual guidance to high school, college, and adult  women and men.
  • 2005 - 2007: Chaplain for Montevista Study Center and Antonian College Prep.  (San Antonio, Texas).
  • 1997-2005: Chaplain for Tilden Study Center and for Westfield Residence (Los Angeles, California). 
  • 1994-1997: Chaplain for Garber House (Berkeley, California).
  • 1992-1993: Chaplain for Charwick Center and Menlough Study Center (Menlo Park, California).
  • 1988-1992: Chaplain for Westwood Study Center (Mill Valley California) which has after school and summer programs for junior high and high school boys.
  • 1987: Chaplain-in-Training at Gaztelueta (Las Arenas, Spain), K-12 school.

     My primary duties as chaplain consisted in helping adults and young adults to deepen their life of prayer, to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to grow in their understanding of scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church, and to feel a greater responsibility for spreading the Gospel and witnessing to their family, friends, and colleagues at work. I do this principally through one on one counseling, sacramental confession, small group classes and conferences. I also give weekend retreats, classes, and conference at a local conference center.

Other Employment:

  • 1982-1983: Technical Support for Boeing Computer Services (Sunnyvale, California).  Software Developer for Software and Structural Technology (Sunnyvale, California; this was a venture capital startup developing software for engineers that could run on PC's).

  • 1979-1981: Mechanical Engineer for Teletype Corporation (Chicago, Illinois). First job out of college designing "high-speed" printers for computers. 


  • 1983-1986: Seminary Studies: Roman College of the Holy Cross, where I did doctoral thesis in Christian philosophy: "The Object of the Intellect in Thomas Aquinas."* Doctorate granted by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, January 2014.
  • 1981-1982: Stanford University: M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 1981.

  • 1976-1979: University of Notre Dame: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 1979.

Ordained to the Catholic priesthood:

  • 1987: in Torreciudad, Spain, for the Prelature of Opus Dei 

UPDATED: July, 2015

* Under the faculty that would become the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross