An arrest was made in Phoenix on Monday for the murder of a New York-born Roman Catholic priest and beating of another reported the Associated Press. The elder, beaten priest administered the last rites to Reverend Kenneth Walker as he lay dying in the rectory of Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission last Wednesday evening.
The 28-year-old murdered Catholic priest is one of eleven siblings, born in Upstate New York. Kenneth Walker heard his calling due to the “traditional Latin Mass” he attended in high school with his large family. According to CNN both the slain priest and the injured one are members of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, a small order founded in 1988 devoted to the renewal of the “traditional Latin Mass.” Walker was ordained only two years ago.
Last week Father Joseph Terra, 56, called Phoenix police in what was originally a “burglary” that has now ended with a homicide arrest. The area around the Catholic Church has been described as “deserted and dangerous at night.” Reports vary with an “unofficial” church statement that claimed there were more than “one armed burglars.” However, police have only arrested a single individual in the homicide of Father Walker along with other charges, based upon “forensic evidence” from the priest’s car. A 2003 green Mazda Tribute was stolen the night of the murder and later found abandoned.
Richard Walker was fatally shot and died at the hospital. Father Joseph Terra gave the dying Catholic priest his last rites after he was critically injured with an undisclosed weapon.
Father Richard Walker’s devoutly Catholic family was comforted by the fact that the wounded priest was able to give him his last rites. Sasha Keys, Walker’s stepsister, spoke on behalf of the murdered priest’s clan.
For Catholics, receiving your last rites basically guarantees you're going to heaven. That's one of the biggest reasons we have to smile.
The injured Phoenix Catholic priest has since been moved out of ICU and is allegedly in “good spirits.” A Requiem Mass for Father Richard Walker occurred Monday morning at Saint Catherine of Sienna Roman Catholic Church. His funeral will be held in his hometown of Maple Hill, Kansas.