Sobering memory of a murdered priest and advice renewed

About three years ago, Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP, was murdered in Phoenix and another priest badly injured by assault.  Pray for Fr. Walker.  RIP.

At that time I posted the following, which seems no less urgent today than it did then.  Indeed, it could be more urgent still, given the trajectory of current events.


Reverend gentlemen, the murder of one priest and the assault on another in Phoenix compels me to remind you to…


Our schedules are busy.  Sometimes we have to drive even farther than lay people.  But go to confession.  Take the time to do this for yourself.  Much has been given to us.  Our accounting before God will be more severe than that of lay people.

Let us not forget the petition in the Litany of Saints:

“A subitanea et improvisa morte… From a sudden and unprovided death, spare us O Lord.”

Moreover, consider well your living conditions and security.

If you haven’t done so yet, begin to develop a situational awareness. Seek advice from professionals.

This is not just a matter of personal concern. It is also a concern for those who depend on you for the sacraments. A priest in the ground or in the hospital is one priest fewer to see to the spiritual needs of people in these darkening times.

You, Fathers, are a precious resource, only slowly “renewable”.

If you are not concerned for the sake of your own person, be concerned for the sake of those who need you.


I might now add to seek, along with advice, perhaps also training.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    We had a beautiful requiem mass for Fr. Walker at his church, Mater Misericordiae in Phoenix, Saturday. Actually, it’s been three years, 2014 … hardly seems possible.

  2. Robert of Rome says:

    Requiescat in pace.

  3. Mary Jane says:

    My husband was, for a brief time, a seminarian at the FSSP seminary in Nebraska. He knew Fr Walker from his time there, and we both know Fr Terra (the other priest who was injured).

    We traveled to Kansas for Fr Walker’s funeral; many, many people (laity and priests) attended from all over the country. It was a beautiful Requiem mass.

    We had an opportunity to visit with Fr Terra a year or so later; he still bore visible scars from the attack. His sense of humor was the same as ever, although (when not cracking a joke) he was a bit more somber than I recalled him to be.

    Prayers for the soul of Fr Walker, and for the continued healing of Fr Terra.

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    Altogether a heartbreaking incident. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. Pray for us, Fr. Walker, we’re in trouble down here.
    Prayers for full healing for Fr. Terra as well, and for the families involved.

  5. Sword40 says:

    We offered our Rosary for him before our 10:30 am sung Mass this past Sunday.

  6. JustaSinner says:

    Is it against Church Teachings/Law for a priest to conceal carry?

    [No. Leaving aside issues of the military, it is not contrary to law or doctrine to carry a concealed weapon. A priest may carry concealed weapon just as a lay woman can. The civil laws of the place must always be obeyed, of course. Also, I think it incumbent on anyone who would choose to do this to seek more than minimum, basic training. Their training and practice should be constantly refreshed and expanded. Also, there are personal issues to consider. Some people just shouldn’t carry, regardless of their rights. For some people, who don’t have the mental landscape that deals well with the exigencies involved, doing so could be dangerous to themselves and others. Again, this is something that can perhaps come forth with renewed, expanded training and practice. Any person who would do this must be clear about possible consequences (including financial). However, no is not again the Church’s teaching or law to carry a concealed weapon.]

  7. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Thank you for reminding us of this important anniversary.

    I include him in the prayers for the departed after the Consecration at (nearly) every Mass I attend. May he rest in peace. My boys were supposed to make his acquaintance the summer he was shot — at the Fraternity camp he was supposed to lead.

  8. Chrissin says:

    My heart just breaks looking at the young face of that priest, Fr Kenneth Walker. The simple smile….he looks so innocent. I remember that incident. And I remember his face. I will remember him at Mass tomorrow which is Father’s Day.

  9. I absolutely agree with the advice to seek training. Many such classes are available today. For elderly priests who are going into questionable neighborhoods–possibly to give a talk on an important subject–I recommend asking a younger priest, or a healthy parishioner to travel with you, in order to ensure your safety.

    …prayers for Father Walker and his family.

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