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Murdered Priest Had ‘Singular Love for Christ,’ Recalls Former Classmate

Father Kenneth Walker, FSSP, a graduate of Newman Guide-recommended Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Ontario, Canada, was tragically shot and killed during a robbery in the living quarters of his parish in Phoenix, Ariz., on June 11, Fox News reported.

Another priest, Father Joseph Terra, FSSP, was physically assaulted and was recently in critical, but stable condition, according to the Diocese of Phoenix website.  Both priests served at Mother of Mercy Mission, an apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, which celebrates the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Fr. Walker, who was ordained to the sacred priesthood in 2012, is fondly remembered by former classmates and professors at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, according to LifeSiteNews.com.  One of his former classmates, Jenna Craine, said that Fr. Walker had a “singular love for Christ.” 

LifeSite reports:

[Craine] recalled that in one writing class that was populated with only women apart from Kenny, the female professor instructed the class to write about ‘your perfect wedding proposal.’ After an initial private protest from Kenny, he was permitted to write a story on his being called to the priesthood.  Craine, who Kenny asked to proofread his essay prior to its submission, recalled, “It made me cry it was so beautiful, it was so sincere and expressive of who he was.”

Frances Platt, another OLSWA classmate, recalled that Kenny spent his mornings praying in the Church and served Mass daily – as Professor John Paul Meenan recalls, “each and every day.” Craine says that that habit of prayer was so ingrained in Kenny that he would say grace “for cookies” rather than for meals only. He said those prayers with great devotion, clutching the miraculous medal he wore constantly around his neck. 

His example of prayer and focus on Christ was made all the stronger by his friendliness, kindness, and thoughtfulness.  Professor Meenan recalls, “He enjoyed to laugh and joke; indeed, his joy and laughter were infectious in the best of ways.  I’m not sure there was a social event or trip that Kenny missed.”  Platt said her former classmate was “a really great and thoughtful friend, and a wonderful example of faithfulness to everyone around.”

In the college year book for the Academy, according to LifeSite, Fr. Walker wrote, “My time at the Academy has proved to be well spent and an important event in my life.  The people here are warm and generous beyond my original expectations, and this kind heartedness was, to me, most expressed through the Catholic spirit of the faculty and students.”

And in a closing reflection on him, Professor Meenan reportedly wrote, “Father Kenneth, you will be missed, but our consolation, to paraphrase Saint Therese, is that you will do much greater good in heaven.  Requiescat in pace, et ora pro nobis, frater meus.” 

The Cardinal Newman Society is asking for prayers for the repose of the soul of Fr. Walker, for the speedy recovery of Fr. Terra, and for their families, religious community and parish.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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