About the lives of Fr. Walker and Fr. Terra

There is a long piece at AZCentral today about Fr. Walker, recently murdered, Fr. Terra, recently assaulted, and the Extraordinary Form they celebrated.

Here is some of it.  Read the whole thing there. My emphases and comments.

Before attack, ancient rite defined priests’ lives

Haec commixtio et consecratio Corporis at Sanguinis Domini nostri Jesu Christi fiat accipientibus nobis in vitam aeternam. Amen.

May this commingling and consecrating of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ avail us who receive it unto life everlasting. Amen. — From the Tridentine Mass

There is a moment in every Catholic Mass when the priest consecrates the bread and wine.

At that precise instant, Catholics believe, the elements become not only symbols of the Last Supper but the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.

In theological terms, the moment is called transubstantiation. To Catholics, it is the holiest of moments as Christ’s presence in heaven becomes one with his presence on Earth, erasing all time and space. It is a moment of reverence and awe, one of the “mysteries of faith.”

This moment, Father Kenneth Walker once told his sister, was his favorite part of being a priest: “When I say the words,” he would tell her, “that make the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord.”

Walker found that one thing made that moment even more reverent. Speaking the words in Latin, the tongue of the early church, imbued the mystery of faith with the majesty of ancient language.

Hoc est enim Corpus Meum … For this is My Body …

Walker’s colleague, Father Joseph Terra, also was in awe of the Latin Mass. He had told others he found it humbling that a sinner like him would be granted the grace to lead the rite.

Together, the two men would pray the Mass every day in a simple church near downtown Phoenix. It bears a Latin name, Mater Misericordiae, meaning “Mother of Mercy,” and had been created specifically to be a home for the Latin Mass. [As you know, I dislike the term “the Latin Mass” because the Novus Ordo ought to be in Latin as well.]


As members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, both men embraced what they saw as the purest way to express the sacraments, in the language of the early church, Latin, and performed with the priest facing the altar, not the congregants [That is, all of them facing the same way.] — his only job being to glorify God.

Haec quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis … As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of me.

The liturgy the two men celebrated is five centuries old. In the face of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the church codified the liturgy during the Council of Trent. It became known as the Tridentine Mass, after the Latin name for the Italian city.

The Mass was unchanged for 400 more years, until half a century ago, when Pope John XXIII and his successor, Pope Paul VI, literally turned the liturgy around.

No longer was the priest to face away from the congregation. [Inaccurate.  The Novus Ordo, properly, is celebrated also ad orientem.] Instead, he would face the people and speak not in Latin, but in their own tongue. [Inaccurate in point of the law, if not in predominant practice.]

The new Mass, or Novus Ordo Missae in Latin, was part of a set of sweeping reforms in the 1960s by what became known as the Second Vatican Council that were meant to bring the church closer to the people, and the people closer to God. [How’s that working out so far?]

To many, particularly in the New World, the change was embraced and celebrated. [Are those the best words?  “Embraced and celebrated”?  I wonder.  The only people asking for reforms were pointy-headed academics.  People went along because that is what they did back them.  Then they just wanted the chaos to conclude.  They they just got used to it.]

But to others it sapped the beauty, reverence and mystery of the Mass. Some refused to accept the changes and continued the old traditions. Those churches were considered not to be in full harmony with the Vatican. [The SSPX is not its own “church”… yet.]


[Fr.] Salgado said Terra will soon be celebrating 25 years in the priesthood.

“Very deep in his faith,” he said. “A very good priest.”

Both men met while working in the Stockton, Calif., area. Salgado said Terra had been contemplating priestly life for a while. “He’d been thinking about it for many years and finally got around to it,” Salgado said.

In 1994, both men joined the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

“It’s something that you have in your heart,” Salgado said of the Fraternity. “We have a preference for the old rite and the extraordinary Mass.”

But it was a battle to say the Latin Mass in the Stockton Diocese, Salgado said.

Terra started saying a monthly Latin Mass at the chapel of a Catholic high school in Modesto, Calif.

Although Terra received permission from the bishop, “it was frowned upon,” Salgado said. [That’s a mild way to put it.]

Terra would also add orthodox touches to the ordinary Mass, covering the chalice with a veil, for instance, Salgado said. “If you were in any way displaying orthodoxy, they didn’t like you,” Salgado said. “Father Terra went through hell.” [Yep.  Been there.  Done that.]

Terra was soon transferred about 45 minutes east to Angels Camp, Calif. Salgado figured it might have had to do with Terra’s orthodoxy, including his wearing of the cassock, a traditional priest’s robe, and miter, [huh? No… I’ll bet “biretta”.] a ceremonial hat, around town. [It hasn’t been the custom of American priests to use the cassock as street dress since the Councils of Baltimore forbade the practice.]

Salgado, who was equally orthodox, was asked by parishioners to step in and say the Mass. Salgado agreed, joining Terra in his fight to keep the rite going. “We became fast friends,” Salgado said.

A bishop soon allowed weekly sayings of the Latin mass, and the crowds grew, Salgado said.

He said that while the movement started with older priests, it has become a young person’s movement.

[… skipping a lot…

The operator clarifies that Terra cannot describe his assailant, then asks again to confirm that Walker is unconscious.

“We could use an ambulance here,” he says.

Another operator asks if Walker is breathing, and when Terra replies that he is not, she begins to tell him how to perform CPR.

As he begins, the police and paramedics arrive.

After Terra yielded to them, authorities say, he performed one last act of mercy for his young colleague and administered the last rites.

Salgado, Terra’s friend, said last rites are typically administered in the language of the dying person. That way they are sure to understand.

But, although he hasn’t asked him during hospital visits, he is sure Terra would have administered the rites to Walker in Latin. And in the old manner.


In the weeks before he died, Father Kenneth Walker recorded two rosaries and devotions that will be broadcast on Radio Family Rosary.

The first, focusing on the Feast of Sacred Heart, will air June 23. The second, in honor of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, will air the next day.

Both broadcasts begin at 1:30 p.m. on station KIHP, 1310 AM.

Requiem Mass

A Requiem Mass is planned for Walker at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Catherine of Siena, 6401 S. Central Ave., Phoenix.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Clinton R. says:

    May God bless the soul of Fr. Walker. And may He strengthen those who have not fallen into the snare of the ‘spirit’ of the Council.

    It is so depressing how little the new church the progressives sought and thus far have succeeded in building resembles the Holy Church of days gone past. To have divorced themselves from the beauty of the timeless Mass, from the grand cathedrals, churches, prayers, traditions, sound teaching, clerical garb, etc. is just beyond tragic. But I hope and pray small green shoots will sprout from the ground and replace the dried out weeds of modernism and progressivism. Domine, misere nobis. +JMJ+

  2. Tom says:

    I have known Fr. Terra and Fr. Salgado for twenty years. Fr. Terra was the first FSSP priest I ever met. While working in Newark, NJ, I heard from a friend that there was a traditional mass in Pequannock. So we called and asked to speak to the priest, and later took Fr. Terra to a nice local Italian restaurant. We were both so very pleased to have an orthodox conversation with someone besides the two of us! Then I began to assist at mass at OLOF in Pequannock whenever I was able. It was then that I discovered what an amazing preacher Fr. Terra is (among his many other talents). I have been in an FSSP parish ever since. We laity are not usually aware of the trials our priests endure every day to bring us the holy mass of the ages, and through it the faith, passed down to us from the beginning. Let us always remember to pray for them as frequently as possible. Prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude, and for their protection as well.

  3. Jim in Seattle says:

    Our priest today, who knew both Father Terra and Walker gave his sermon on how Father Terra administered last rites to Father Walker and the tie of spiritual fatherhood that both priests and fathers of families share; how they have responsibilities to their congregations or families to lead. Very forceful message that we must be ready to act for Christ in our roles as ‘fathers’.

  4. Legisperitus says:

    “Sure to understand” the last rites? In the case of making a Confession, sure, but how important is it for a dying (often, unconscious) person to understand the words of Extreme Unction? To paraphrase Msgr. Knox, God knows Latin.

  5. Mike says:

    The authors of the AZCentral piece might be postmodern pagans who stumbled into the story, did a little work (or, most likely, more than a little), and tried to get as much as possible right.

    Or one or both of them might be a lapsed, occasional, or even faithful (improbable though it seem, there are still some in journalism) Catholic who has been confused about (a) why there’s all the fuss about the Ancient, Doddering Church that did things like “turning the priest’s back to the people” and “denying people the cup” and “using a dead language,” and (b) why the Novus Ordo haven’t fixed everything, or maybe anything.

    One suspects it wouldn’t be the first time an honest job of news reporting had the capacity to save a soul. I am impelled to say an Ave for the authors. Maybe one for each. Maybe more than one.

  6. capchoirgirl says:

    don’t put too much “blame” on the writers; when writing for a paper, an editor can change a LOT, with or without the writer’s permission.

  7. It makes them sound like a couple of relics. Did they miss the fact that one of them was a very young man?

    It’s the white martyrdom of ridicule – and it’s funny how this is the way many museum displays in the UK used to talk about the pre-‘Reformation’ church in England; like it was some freaky cult or something. That is, until Stripping of the Altars was published …

  8. jameeka says:

    I am gratified that this was published AT ALL–very encouraging and powerful–God bless these Fathers.

  9. Mojoron says:

    This saddens most of us here in Kansas. Fr. Walker’s parents live not far from us in Maple HIll and the whole area has said many rosaries for him. I believe from reading about him that the rosaries are being used for other souls that might be in purgatory; Fr. Walker is certainly not.

  10. HyacinthClare says:

    Thank you, Mojoron. We here in Phoenix grieve with you, and Fr. Walker’s family in Kansas, and pray for you. And several of us are saying to each other what you said: we don’t need to pray FOR Fr. Walker, we can start praying TO him. Our little bitty church in grubby South Phoenix has a martyr. We can only begin to wonder what the graces will be that flow from this. The sermon at 11:00 this morning from Fr. Grismonti, FSSP, was about exactly that… how our sufferings, offered to the Father, are answered with graces we can’t imagine, just as Christ’s were, and our Lady’s were. It was a strong, fine, spine-stiffening sermon. May God’s blessed will be done.

  11. HighMass says:

    Fr. Z,

    Do you know if the Requiem Mass for Fr.Walker will be Televised. May he rest in Peace!

  12. Fr. Pius, OP says:

    A well done article, and the journalists should be commended for the research they did into the extraordinary form. Even so, there is no excuse for errors like this:

    In 1988, about a quarter of a century after Vatican II was formed, the new pope, John Paul II, at the urging of conservative Cardinal John Ratzinger, who would later succeed John Paul as Pope Benedict XVI, allowed a limited return to the Tridentine Mass, but only with a bishop’s approval.

    John Ratzinger? That’s just sloppy journalism.

  13. Fr. Pius, OP says:

    HighMass, This is from the FSSP Website:


    Very Rev. Fr. Berg will celebrate a Solemn Requiem Mass in Fribourg (Switzerland) on Monday, June 16, 2014, at 6:30 PM Local time. The Mass will be broadcast Live on http://www.LiveMass.net and the iMass apps at 11:30 AM Central, 12:30 PM Eastern Time.

  14. ckdexterhaven says:

    I am actually surprised and happy at how good the article is. It is much friendlier to the “Latin Mass” (and the people who attend it) as opposed to an article written by the National schismatic Reporter would be. The Arizona Republic has another writer who is usually assigned to the “Catholic beat”, and his articles are always riddled with errors and liberal bias.

  15. acardnal says:

    I like this quote from the FSSP Superior’s letter about Fr. Kenneth Walker:

    “By now you have read on various news outlets and websites about the virtues of Fr. Walker as a priest and how badly he will be missed by his confreres and parishioners. In an age where we seem so centered upon ‘clerical stars’ and are constantly searching for the ‘newest approach to evangelization’, the life of our confrere gave witness to one of the greatest priestly virtues, a quiet and consistent strength, which is a mark of the Good Shepherd who watches vigilantly over his flock in season and out of season. ”


  16. HighMass says:

    Thanks for providing the link for Father’s Requiem High Mass.

  17. Long-Skirts says:


    Weary, weary,
    On this earth
    Shielding souls
    Beyond their worth.

    Few are grateful
    Some regress
    Others proud
    They won’t confess

    When the waves
    Break on the shore
    Warning them
    What is before.

    You stand on this rock
    ‘Gainst the gales
    Fore those who mock

    Facing squalls
    They cannot see
    But all behold
    Your bended knee.

    Few will follow
    Some deny
    They won’t comply.

    Then a blue moon
    Saffron sun
    Come together
    Almost one.

    Fingers blessed
    With Holy Oil
    You lift the Light…
    Sun moon recoil.

    Blinding many
    Opening eyes
    Most despise.

    But on this rock
    You stand your ground
    Opposing strife.

    Between the storms
    And sheep you block
    The tempest winds
    That hurt the flock.

    With outstretched arms
    The daily crux
    You nail the Truth
    So not in flux

    Never will lie
    Only can free
    Upon this rock

    May he rest in peace…”well done” Fr. Walker, “good and faithful Priest”!!

  18. It hasn’t been the custom of American, Latin clerics to wear the cassock publicly since Baltimore? Really?

  19. benedetta says:

    Walking around town in a priest’s traditional robe and a miter or ceremonial hat is probably going to earn someone more than just a 45 minute transfer east to Angel Camp…LOL…or, on further reflection, maybe not?

    Amazing that these days the vast majority of journalists really don’t much bother for precision and accuracy when it comes to just about any story in the mainstream media relating to the Catholic Church. One wonders if one were to do their own jobs in such a sloppy manner, what would happen…

  20. jesuitschooled says:

    Although it is not terribly important to mention, the Council of Baltimore did not “forbid” the use of the cassock as street wear. It instructed that the cassock be worn in and around the parish and that other appropriate clerical attire may be worn “off campus”. With the CIC 1917 and 1983, the USCCB enacted complementary legislation to accord with Canon 284 in 1999 which states simply that the clerical suit is the usual attire and the use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric. Only in Lincoln, NE could one infer that a priest is not to wear the cassock around outside of liturgical functions.

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