PHOENIX: FSSP priest shot and killed, another critically injured


Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP was shot and killed in Phoenix. He was 29 years old, according to an email from the FSSP, ordained two years. HERE  The other priest, Fr. Joseph Terra, is in critical condition from blunt force trauma.

1 priest killed, 1 wounded in Phoenix attack

A 28-year-old priest was shot and killed and another wounded at a Catholic church Wednesday night near the state Capitol, a Phoenix police spokesman said.

Police were responding to a burglary call shortly after 9 p.m. near 16th Avenue and Monroe Street at the Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission, Sgt. Steve Martos said.

The wounded priest is in critical condition at a local hospital, police said. Police said early Thursday morning that the surviving priest, a 56-year-old man, was “physically harmed” but not stabbed or shot.

The surviving priest called 911, police said.

A car that police were seeking in connection with the attack was found at 17th Avenue and Taylor Street, about four blocks north of the church, Martos said. It was spotted by 12 News reporter Chris Williams, who alerted police.

The car was unoccupied when it was found, and Martos said no suspects have been arrested.


I learned that Fr. Terra was able to give Fr. Walker “last rites”.   I assume that, in that situation, he was able to absolve him and give him the Apostolic Blessing.

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  1. benedetta says:

    Requiescat in Pace, Father Walker.

    Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium. Ímperet ílli Déus, súpplices deprecámur: tuque, prínceps milítiæ cæléstis, Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos, qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in múndo, divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde. Ámen

  2. Siculum says:

    We are constantly reminded to go to Confession. We know neither the day nor the hour.

    I would encourage all those who are able to make a very strong response to newly-ordained Fr. Joseph Heffernan, FSSP’s public invitation to his Solemn High Mass for the Feast of the Holy Trinity this Sunday at Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral Basilica in Philadelphia, PA, and there pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Walker, pray for the recovery of Fr. Terra, and pray for the assailants.

  3. HyacinthClare says:

    These are OUR PRIESTS!! Dear, dear God have mercy! Fr. Walker … mopping the hall floor after the Knights breakfast last week … trying hard to learn to preach without reading and without saying “uh”… Fr. Terra’s jokes about “still being above ground”… Before I opened the emails this morning I was wondering during the rosary what today’s “joys and sufferings” would be. Fr. Walker sees Jesus. What a joy… but what a suffering for us!!

  4. Mike says:

    It was my privilege to assist at Holy Mass at Mater Misericordiae on several days during a business trip to Phoenix last month, and to be confessed by Fr. Walker. My thoughts and prayers are with Fr. Terra, with Fr. Walker’s family and with their parishioners during this very dark hour.

    Cor Jesu sacratissimum, miserere nobis! Mater Misericordiae, ora pro nobis!

  5. dinsdale says:

    Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

  6. acardnal says:

    Terrible news. RIP Fr Walker.

    I can’t help but think of the two FSSP deacons who will be ordained to the priesthood this Saturday in Leesburg, Virginia, Daniel Heenan and Zachary Taylor. A joyous and sad occasion at the same time.

  7. St Donatus says:

    Let us pray for these good priests. I belong to an FSSP parish and can’t imagine the pain of loosing such a good priest as young Father Walker just starting his life of spiritual care and healing. May God bless him in his new home. The parishioners of FSSP parishes are like a family and a lose for those in Phoenix is a deep lose for us all. Let us pray for the speedy recovery of Father Terra has his flock mourns this terrible event.

    Satan is certainly on the loose and doing everything he can to stop the renewal of the Catholic faith through holy men such as these two priests. Mater Misericordiae Mission is a vibrant parish and we will pray for all those there who suffer this loss.

    May our faith and resilience be made stronger, just as the early Church suffered the lose of so many of its priests and Bishops some 2000 years ago, but grew stronger because of it. In the name of God let us do all good, in the name of Jesus let us gain power against evil, and in the name of the Holy Ghost let us gain ever more Graces.

  8. acardnal says:

    CORRECTION to my above: Should read “deacon Zachary Akers.”

  9. gloriainexcelsis says:

    I have heard that Fr. Terra was badly beaten and will need surgery, broken ribs, etc. Does this sound like a mere robbery? Prayers for Fr. Walker, Fr. Terra, their families, and our Church.

  10. ckdexterhaven says:

    I will pray for the repose of his soul. God bless him.

  11. APX says:

    This absolutely sickens me. This just happened in St. Pau,l Alberta, and now it happens again. Who murders and beats a priest?!

    If I understand correctly, the FSSP have a requirement for its priests that all priests are required to offer a requiem Mass within 24 hrs of hearing of the death of one of its members.

  12. robtbrown says:

    When I was on the faculty in Denton, Fr Terra was on staff. I knew him pretty well. If memory serves, he was ordained for the diocese of Fresno, then later joined the FSSP.

    Fr Walker looks familiar but was not a student. Perhaps he was in the first year or philosophy during my time there.

  13. majuscule says:

    This also happened to a priest in Eureka, California, in January.

    Senseless. Demonic.

    Offer a daily rosary for our priests.

  14. NBW says:

    May Fr. Walker Rest In Peace. I pray for a speedy recovery for the other priest. How did one priest get shot to death and the other priest get beaten up and not shot?

  15. moon1234 says:

    In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

  16. LarryW2LJ says:

    Demonic? Certainly yes!

    Our good Priests are a target for the enemy – and we are next. Take note from Fr. Z. – frequent, regular confession is our best armor in this battle.

  17. Sword40 says:

    I am, also, an FSSP parishioner in the Seattle/Tacoma area. I was stunned when I saw this news. Both the Seattle and Tacoma churches are in rough neighborhoods. On occasion we are pressured by people hanging outside the church for a hand out. In fact we hired a security firm to place a guard outside. So far all is well.

    My prayers go up for both priests and their families.

  18. Priam1184 says:

    Requiescat in pace Father Walker.

  19. You hear about these things happening to other people…then it happens close to home, to people you know…this is so sad. My husband knew Fr. Walker and Fr. Terra was our priest before he was transferred to Phoenix.

    Storming Heaven with prayers.

  20. robtbrown says:

    corrigendum: Fr Terra was ordained for Stockton.

  21. sw85 says:

    They just wrapped up the press conference; the diocesan official (I think was introduced as Vicar General) confirmed that he had heard that Fr. Terra was able to absolve Fr. Walker before the latter’s death. They were able to speak to Fr. Terra last night while he was in the hospital so it is possible he told them as much himself. Thanks be to God if so!

  22. sw85 says:

    A local newsman evidently spoke to a parishioner who had spoken to Fr. Terra last night and had likewise confirmed that he had absolved Fr. Walker.

  23. Sonshine135 says:

    You hear about this stuff happening where there is tension between Islam and Christianity, but it never quite sinks in until it hits home like this. Most merciful Father, protect our Priests!

  24. Clinton R. says:

    May the Lord bless the eternal soul of Fr. Walker. May God protect His priests from the workings of satan and his minions. +JMJ+

  25. acricketchirps says:

    Gosh, he’s twenty-eight; he looks fifteen. God bless him and keep him.

  26. CruceSignati says:

    As someone previously mentioned, something like this just happened in St. Paul, AB. I live within the Diocese of St. Paul and last month’s tragedy shook the whole church community. I know that some people are angry at the Church, but do they really need to kill our priests? Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.

  27. NoraLee9 says:

    I’ll never forget Fr. Terra. He was one of the first FSSP priests assigned to OLF, Pequamnock, NJ. He said some things that have stayed with me for 20 years. “Christ promised that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against the church. He did not promise that S@t@n wouldn’t give it a good college try.” And “Either Christ is who He says He is or He’s the most successful huckster of all time.”

    I had gone to the rectory one evening after services to see Father about some matter or other. I was 50 pounds lighter and a lot younger. I was a hall dean at Wingate HS, and I ran 35 miles a week. When I went to see Father, I had a beautiful blue tweed suite on. As it turned out, Father’s dad had been a tailor. He reached over and took the cuff of my suite jackets between his fingers and commented on the fine quality of the cloth.

    They don’t pay teachers well, father, and I have never been a clothes horse. I bought that suit at either Penny’s or Macys. Indeed it was one of the better things I owned. I never would have worn such a thing to work, unless I had an important hearing, because the job I had was to physical and dirty.

    It meant so much to hear my clothing appraised positively by someone who knew what they were talking about.

    Father Terra had been a truck driver. He is super tough and also one of the smartest people I know. I will pray for him.

    Father, if I were a few years younger and not wracked with arthritis, I’d like the opportunity to “forgive” these numbskulls in person. I know that’s not what Christ taught, but folks don’t generally hurt clergy where I’m from. I remember when the crown at Regina Pacis was taken and the local mobsters got it back….

  28. Alan Aversa says:

    Fr. Walker was only 29 and ordained exactly 2 years. He was an excellent, thorough, knowledgeable confessor, too. Requiescat in pace.

  29. Alan Aversa says:

    Where did you learn, Fr. Z., “that Fr. Terra was able to give Fr. Walker ‘last rites'”?

  30. Alan Aversa says:

    Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

  31. Jacob Ryan says:

    In response to an above comment, the Requiems will have to wait (if it is a requirement within the community, not sure if it is) until next week due to the Octave of Pentecost. If it is not a requirement, the charity of the priests will surely spur devotion to offer the requiems. It would be my assumption that many Fraternity parishes are offering extra Masses today in response to this tragedy. We are at the apostolate I attend to pray for the repose of the soul of Father Kenneth Walker and for the recovery of Father Terra.

  32. Pray for the FSSP today. This is a blow to the ENTIRE community, and their day of grief and sorrow. Just as we would pray an entire family at the death of their family member, the fraternal brotherhood of priests in the FSSP need your prayers in a special way today and the coming weeks ahead.

  33. johnnys says:

    I hear ya noraLee9.

  34. HyacinthClare says:

    Alan Aversa, I just spent two hours outside the church with a gathered group of parishioners, (until it got to 109 and the firemen told us to leave) and I talked to the parishioner who talked to Fr. Terra last night. He confirms that Fr. Walker received last rites. Another EF priest in Phoenix gave the Apostolic Blessing this morning at a 7:00 mass. I wasn’t there but I talked to a family that was. Fr. Lankeit of the cathedral in Phoenix drove by while we were there and they’re having a prayer vigil at St. Simon and Jude tonight at 7:00. Fr. Flood of the FSSP is supposed to be here at 4:00. Everyone’s prayers are deeply, deeply appeciated.

  35. Quanah says:

    Fr. Terra was an associate pastor for a couple of years at my parish in California before he joined the FFSP. He trained me to be an altar server and is one of the most important priests from my childhood and teenage years. As is evidenced here he quietly has been making an impact in the lives of a lot of people for decades. Fr. Walker was blessed to have him at his side in those final moments. Prayers for all involved ascending to heaven.

  36. robtbrown says:

    NoraLee9 says,

    Father Terra had been a truck driver. He is super tough and also one of the smartest people I know. I will pray for him.

    One time I started singing Hank Williams, jr, “Family Tradition”–Fr Terra knew the words.

  37. HyacinthClare says:

    More news: Fr. Saens at St. Catherine’s is praying a Requiem Mass for Fr. Walker at 6:00 tonight. Mater Misericordiae is going to be open from 4:30 to 6:30 for prayer. Again and again… bless all of you, all over the world, for your prayers.

  38. Robbie says:

    It’s a cliché to say the world is falling apart because the world has always been falling apart. Then there are days like this and it seems appropriate to say the world is falling apart. How tragic.

  39. RobertK says:

    The SSPX has also requested prayers for the priests of Mater Misericordiae in Phoenix.

  40. marthawrites says:

    We are a PA family who vacations in Scottsdale most summers. Mater Misericordiae had become our church of choice for Sunday Mass for all and daily mass for some. On June 19, 2012–one month after Fr. Walker’s ordination–we were blessed to have him hear our confessions and to be present as he offered one of his first Sunday Masses at his newly assigned parish. My husband also chatted with Fr. Terra after weekday Masses. Having just returned from six days in Rome where we visited 22 churches, in each one praying for priestly vocations, we can only trust that God will provide the FSSP’s with many more worthy men to succeed Fr. Walker and that His healing hand will be on Fr. Terra. Our prayers go out to the Mater Misericordiae community who are experiencing such a devastating loss and the evil invasion of their good and holy lives. We pray, too, for the entire FSSP community who have lost a beloved brother to death and are traumatized by the injuries to another.

  41. Laura R. says:

    HyacinthClare, my sincere condolences to the Mater Misericordiae community and all those close to Fr. Walker, and prayers for the repose of Fr. Walker’s soul and for speedy healing for Fr. Terra. May God’s grace surround you all at this terrible time.

  42. kay says:

    I was always worried about that Church. Let me explain. I had asked for another church to go to and someone mentioned that I should try Mater Miseracordia. That it held High Mass in Latin. Having never heard a word of that dead language I went but was forewarned to ‘dress appropriately’ – something else that was new to me, as I usually went in pants.

    I’ve lived in this city since the beginning of my college days after moving with my family from back east and I had to drive 3 times around the neighborhood until I realized that the strange box on the corner WAS the church. Parking was off to the far side and it didn’t seem to be the church’s parking lot – just general usage. Strangest first encounter so far. I walked to the door where the usher was and said “this is my first time but I am a catholic, is there anything I should know?” He smiled and said I could sit anywhere. I chose the back bencher crowd.

    Amazingly enough I noticed the red light of the confessional box was lit and then someone came out and nobody rushed for the door so I figured, heck, its been x number of YEARS, what could go wrong?

    That’s when I met Fr. Terra. Of course I didn’t know it was him at the time but as I started my confession, and yes, it was rusty like a lug nut on an old tire, he cut to the chase – how long has it been he asked. I answered truthfully – I don’t remember but its been in the years more than the month column. At that point he ran me through an obstacle course of sins where my answers seemed to be yes, yes and yes to the point I was getting pretty despondent. Good GRIEF I thought to myself – I’m not that bad of a person but according to this guy who’s digging into my soul’s history and making me confess everything under the sun – I should be up there with Barabas.

    Finally we were done and I was wrung out. I had the feeling I didn’t know if I was coming or going. He told me to close with act of penance which – thankfully – was written out and taped there for me to recite because my head was mush – and out I went to sit in the bench.

    I listened to a High Mass in Latin, not knowing a word of it, but it was beautiful and when I went for communion, it was at the rails – like when I was first confirmed.

    The church was tiny. The pews needed to be redone as they squeeked and I thought they might break but they had recently been upgraded. I noticed that the door to the rectory was just a door. I always worried about that in that neighborhood. After the sun went down, that neighborhood was known for being high stress. Why the Knights of Columbus – which ran that church – didn’t see fit to put security on it is beyond me. Leaving 2 priests alone in that rectory in that neighborhood always haunted me in the back of my mind.

    I feel so sorry for Fr. Walker. I talked to him near Thanksgiving time. That was the last time I was over there. The neighborhood was just too bad.

  43. Gail F says:

    I’ve never been there, met either man, or been to a FSSP parish or apostolate. I am saying that becasue I want those of you who do know them to know what a terrible blow I think this is for all Catholics. RIP Fr. Walker; and prayers for Fr. Terra.

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  46. RafqasRoad says:

    I offered prayers for Fr. Walker before our Blessed Lord during Adoration this morning. What a tragic blow to Christ’s Church!! May Our heavenly Father in His infinite mercy raise up more mighty yet humble young men to do His work. Let us petition his intercession also – this fine young man is doubtless before our Lord in the company of the Saints.

    For those of you who have known him either as parish priest or confessor, I shall pray for you also; what a devastating blow for his parish. I’ve not forgotten Fr. Terra either.

    For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

    Whenever the hour of three rolls around, let us all pray the chaplet of Divine mercy for Fr. Walker, Fr. Terra and their parish.

  47. kay says:

    Just as an aside, even though St. Catherine of Siena is currently taking some of the parishoners, it can’t take over forever so is the FSSP going to support Miseracordia? And who’s going to pay for Father Terra’s hospital bills? Is someone taking a collection up or is that once again the Knights of Columbus who – SHOULD”VE PUT A SECURITY SCREEN DOOR on that rectory.

  48. kay says:

    Are the KofColumbus going to pay the bills?

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  50. Legisperitus says:

    Last rites – very good news.

  51. AV8R61 says:

    My favorite line from Fr. Terra, on Good Shepherd Sunday:
    “If you’ve ever worked with sheep, you know that when Our Lord referred to us as His sheep, he wasn’t being very complimentary.”

    Had I not found the Latin Mass celebrated by Fr Terra when I did, I might have converted to the Orthodox Church. I was so disheartened by the liturgy in this diocese.

  52. frjim4321 says:

    What a tragic waste.

    Very sad . . . I hope the perpetrators are called to justice.

  53. Pingback: Fr. Kenneth Walker, RIP | Una Voce Carmel

  54. aviva meriam says:


    I read through Kay’s comments, and hope that Bishops encourage (and find the $) to improve the physical security of priests.

    Maybe we need to launch a kickstarter campaign to pay for Fr. Terra’s hospital bills….

  55. APX says:

    Isn’t the diocese/order who Fr. Terra is incardinated into responsible for his medical bills?

    Perhaps at minimum installing good reliable security systems in rectories (at minimum those in sketchy areas) would help by at least giving those inside a heads up that someone is in the premise that shouldn’t be giving a window of time to escape.

    I’m from Canada, so firearms aren’t really an option (unless you are really fast at accessing your locked gun cabinet, removing the trigger lock, accessing and unlocking your ammo and loading the magazine).

  56. Kathleen10 says:

    Rest in peace, dear Fr. Walker, and please God, heal Fr. Terra.
    My heart goes out to everyone familiar with these priests, their families, their community, everyone. How hurtful, how horribly sad and tragic. May God comfort you and sustain you.
    I also hope the perpetrators are brought to justice. And soon.
    A fund to help Fr. Terra would be nice.

  57. marthawrites says:

    This morning I remembered that we had taken Fr. Walker’s ordination holy cards after the Mass we attended–one of his first offered at Mater Misericordiae. I looked through every one in a drawer where I keep cards and bookmarks–not there. My husband showed me his which he has kept in his missal, so I knew what image to look for. Later I opened another drawer, pulled out a stack of leaflets, articles, and cards so that I could see more clearly what was in that drawer, and voila! the ordination card literally flew out of the stack into my hand. It was not on top; I hadn’t seen it–it was like a card trick which I wasn’t quick enough to analyze. But on the Feast of St. Anthony, I know the source of this “magic.” I took it as a sign that Fr. Walker was acknowledging my nonstop prayers for his dear soul.

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