The Reverend Thomas F. Bennett, 68, a native of Waterbury, died peacefully Nov. 6, 2010, at his family home in Amherst, Mass.

Father Bennett was born Feb. 8, 1942, in Waterbury, the son of the late Thomas F. and Gertrude Ann (Powell) Bennett.

He graduated from St. Margaret School and Sacred Heart High School, Class of 1959, in Waterbury.

Father Bennett began his studies for the priesthood, attending St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield and St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester, N.Y.

He was ordained May 23, 1968, at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, by the Most Reverend Joseph F. Donnelly, auxiliary bishop of Hartford.

Father Bennett served many parishes within the archdiocese of Hartford, beginning as an assistant at St. John Church in Watertown in 1968, St. Mary Church in Branford from 1968 to 1972, and at St. Joseph Church in Meriden from 1972 to 1976.

He began in the Family Life Office for the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1976 and was promoted a year later to director, serving until 1984.

Father Bennett was temporary administrator at St. John Fisher Church in Marlborough, until being appointed to his first pastorate at St. Thomas Church in Southington.

In 1992, he transferred as pastor to St. Gabriel Church in Milford, and began his final pastorate in 1995 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Washington Depot and St. Patrick Mission Church in Roxbury, until he began a medical leave in 2008.

Despite challenging health issues, he contributed greatly to the formation of future priests, assisting in the vocation office until his unexpected passing.

Father Bennett is survived by many cousins. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his only sister, Dr. Mary Katherine Bennett.

Family and friends may call today (Friday) at St. Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Ave. in Bloomfield, from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. in the chapel of St. Thomas Seminary by the Most Reverend Henry J. Mansell, archbishop of Hartford.

Burial will be in the priest's plot in St. Thomas Cemetery in Southington.

The Ahern Funeral Homes Inc. is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Vocation Office of the Archdiocese of Hartford, 467 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield, CT 06002.