Thursday evening, when I returned from my mother’s funeral, I was asked to offered a Requiem Missa Cantata for the Repose of the Soul of Fr. Kenneth Walker who was shot to death in the rectory of Mater Misericordiae FSSP Parish here in downtown Phoenix, Arizona USA. Picture of Fr. Kenneth Walker from one of his first Masses at OLSW Academy, Canada
We had practiced the Requiem Mass with 10 of our altar boys, when we hear that 2 of Fr. Walker’s altar boys were coming to help. Ten minutes before the Holy Mass, 8 of them arrived, very sad and distraught, wishing to serve. Our altar boys humbly let Fr. Walker’s boys serve. They did a great job, in spite of their obvious sorrow. One had been trained by Fr. Walker to be M.C. and was scheduled to be his M.C. for the first time this Sunday. While offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the whole idea of the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary, re-made present at that Requiem Mass, really became evident. I could not help thinking about his death, but also his sacrificial life as a traditional Catholic priest while he lived. Father Ignacio Flores, a martyr for Jesus in the Mexican Masonic Persecution in Mexico
We priest are called to be Alter Christus and Victim Souls with the One and Only High Priest, Jesus Christ. Every time we offer the sacrifice of the Holy Mass, we are to offer our lives, in union with Jesus, for the salvation of souls. That means we are to literally suffer with Jesus, in His passion, to save others. At the consecration, the priest says: “This is My Body”, “This is My Blood”, because it is Jesus, in us, offering Himself to the Father for the salvation of souls and forgiveness of sins. We priests are truly acting in “Persona Christi”, the person of Jesus Christ. For this reason we do not say: “Jesus said this is My Body”, or “Jesus said this is My Blood”. As a selfish, spoiled priest, I abhor suffering and avoid it. But I also know that I am “supposed to” live a sacrificial life with Jesus, like all the saints taught and lived. I know I am suppose to be a living victim with Jesus, for the forgiveness of sins and the winning of souls. Fr. Walker, as a traditional priest, was trained in the traditional understanding of the Holy Priesthood. He knew what it meant to be a priest. I am sure his family can tell you, his classmates from Seminary can tell you and Fr. Terra can tell you, he correctly understood the gravity of being a Catholic priest. He was shot and died wearing his priestly Cassock. All of of us priests are touched by the life and death of Jesus and priests who are murdered, like Fr. Walker. We wonder, could I be next? But I also know that many many holy lay Catholics live sacrificial lives too, out of love for Jesus Christ and His Church. Hopefully all priests are as prepared as Fr. Walker was to die. He actually died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. When the paramedics opened up his collar to work on him to see if they could save him, the saw the scapular and medals around his neck. May many, many young men think about giving up their lives in a sacrificial way as priests.
This Monday, June 16th, at 10 am, here at my parish of St. Catherine of Siena, 6200 South Central Ave. Phoenix Arizona, will be a Requiem Solemn High Mass for Fr. Walker’s soul. It will be offered by priests from the Fraternity of St. Peter and the choir will be from Fr. Walker’s parish. I think it was chosen because we have only a high ad orientam altar, (no Last Supper table), a large sanctuary and an altar rail. As you can imagine, there will be hardly any room for anyone to get inside. Just the priests from the Phoenix diocese will take up a lot of space. So if you are thinking of coming, be sure to come 3 hours early. I have often said that when I die, I want to leave a huge wake behind my life and death. Thanks be to God, Fr. Walker has left a huge holy wake of traditional Catholicism behind his life and death. His death is being reported in the news all over the world. May each one of you, who are reading this, meditate on the way you may die and what you would like to leave behind. Hopefully people will see how you lived your Catholic faith, remember your good deeds and still feel your love. I also want to encourage you to video tape your final message of your life and words you would like to be remembered for. Have that video played at the reception after your funeral and have copies for your family to keep.
Fr. Terra had an operation yesterday and is doing well. He told a priest yesterday, who visited him in the hospital: “Much good will come from this.”
We continue to pray for the person who beat and stabbed Fr. Terra and who killed Fr. Walker. Like St. Maria Goretti, who forgave her murderer, and her mother who prayed for his conversion, we also mush forgive and pray for whoever is responsible for this terrible crime. If one soul is saved by the death of Fr. Walker, his life was well worth it. St. Maria Goretti’s mother adopted the man who murdered her, as a son, after his conversion. He was present at the Vatican when she was canonized.
Continue to pray for Fr. Walker’s family, especially his mother. You can just imagine what Mary felt watching her son be tortured to death. Mrs Walker, I am sure, is going through much of the same grief right now, as all of you mothers can well imagine or have already gone through some thing similar. May Our Lady of Sorrows be close to her and all his family.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.