Thursday 5th March 2015

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Violent Death At Church . . . Phoenix Priest Follows Christ All The Way To Calvary

June 22, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — Mater Misericordiae Mission here, just north of the complex of Arizona state-capital office buildings, is a good place to see babies, toddlers, and kids, brought to the Traditional Latin Mass of 1962 by their parents.
It’s the type of faith community where hope and trust in the future seem to inspire confidence to have larger families, and where God’s guidance is still assumed.
On Father’s Day, June 15, a poster in the foyer of the adjoining church hall advertised a late-summer pilgrimage to visit sites of the English martyrs.
While a trip to the United Kingdom would consume thousands of miles, a modern martyrdom occurred here the night of Wednesday, June 11, perhaps 50 steps from the poster.
The young associate pastor of the Latin Mass community, Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP, 28, was fatally shot in the contiguous rectory while the pastor, Fr. Joseph Terra, FSSP, 56, was severely beaten by a violent intruder who disappeared into the night.
Although Phoenix police reportedly feared that the battered Terra wouldn’t survive through the night, a miracle seemed to have occurred. The church’s makeshift bulletin for June 15, which also was Trinity Sunday, said Terra was making “excellent progress,” with “a full recovery” expected.
Even though both of the church’s clergymen suddenly had been removed from serving their people, the historic resilience of the Catholic Church swung into action.
Only a few days later, on Father’s Day, Mater Misericordiae’s regular three Sunday Masses in Latin were celebrated, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation was freely provided, by other clergymen with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) who arrived on the scene.
The Sunday congregation recited the rosary, as customary, before Mass. The Glorious Mysteries began hopefully, as usual, with the Resurrection.
Although no proceedings for formal sainthood had been rushed prematurely onto anyone’s calendar, the deceased Walker was described by some people here as a saintly young priest.
Parishioner John Thurau told The Wanderer that he recalled Walker’s “young, bright face, almost an angelic disposition. Holiness exuded from his personality,” and complete faithfulness to the Church. “That was his personal gift or charism.”
Another parishioner, Bill Haley, told The Wanderer that Walker, ordained only two years ago, “just had the joy of entering into his own vocation” and was set on bringing people to Christ and Christ to them.
The Phoenix-based Arizona Republic quoted a Knights of Columbus officer, “If there was ever a person prepared for heaven, Fr. Walker was a good candidate.”
An online story in the diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Sun, quoted parishioner Eileen Mallaire: “Fr. Walker was such a sweet, gentle young man. He was a wonderful young priest.”
No surveillance cameras had been pointed toward the nighttime attack, nor could the badly injured Terra provide much of a description of the assailant, news reports said.
During the Father’s Day Masses, police vehicles and news cameras remained outside Mater Misericordiae Mission. With a suspect still unidentified and motive uncertain, who could know what might happen next, there at Monroe Street and 16th Avenue?
The suspense soon was to end. Strong DNA evidence and the word of a few citizens tied up loose ends. One person reportedly went to the police station and said a man had been bragging about beating and robbing a priest.
On the night of Father’s Day, police arrested career criminal, transient, and all-around loser Gary Michael Moran, 54, who had gotten out of prison only a few weeks earlier and reportedly had already skipped a scheduled parole meeting. Moran had just served eight years for a rather similar crime — breaking into an apartment and stabbing a sleeping man.
When news of the church violence broke, some people noted that even hardened criminals usually avoid attacking members of the clergy. But Moran seemed to be a full-plumed inhabitant of Weird World. Making his initial court appearance for the rectory attack, Moran sat in a wheelchair, although he didn’t seem to need to.
Mater Misericordiae’s contiguous rectory, with its barred windows, plainly was part of the structure anchored by the steepled church, which seats about 200 people. It seemed highly unlikely that any potential criminal would have thought he was merely entering a secular residence or some sort of small business.
The same day that Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia announced the arrest, a Requiem Mass for Walker was held at St. Catherine of Siena Church in South Phoenix on Monday, June 16. To the pleasant surprise of the congregation, the injured Terra was able to leave the hospital to attend in a wheelchair. There was no question why Terra needed a wheelchair after the recent attack.
Both of Terra’s hands had large bandages on them, his face showed signs of the battering, and prominent red lacerations crossed the top of his head that was struck repeatedly with a metal rod. But he was alive and apparently rapidly recovering.
One discordant note was that Phoenix’s liberal Democrat mayor, Greg Stanton, seemed to be putting his face before the cameras as often as he could.
As much as the mayor might seem to be adding a note of reassurance, Stanton makes himself more comfortable in his daily chores by rubbing shoulders with Planned Parenthood and homosexual activists — perhaps the expected environment of liberal Democrats, but hardly of orthodox Catholics who turn to the spiritual strength of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, not abortionists and Sangerites.

Pro-Life Ministry

A person who spent any time around Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission would have been aware of Walker’s and Terra’s self-sacrificing, dedicated lives. Even when no congregants were in the church, I had seen the two priests seated on either side of the main altar, saying and chanting Latin prayers early and late.
They offered Mass twice daily, at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., and twice on Saturday morning, as well as the three Sunday Masses. Confession was offered before each of the daily Masses, on Saturday afternoon, and throughout Sunday morning.
The two priests prayed outside abortion clinics each week, as well as providing all the sacramental and personal assistance expected in a parish. However, as a Latin Mass church, it didn’t have traditional boundaries because it drew people from throughout the sprawling Phoenix metropolitan area.
Parishioner Thurau told The Wanderer on June 14:
“A very important aspect of Fr. Terra is his pro-life ministry throughout his tenure…including forceful sermons against contraception and abortion and as a leader of prayer at local abortion clinics. He is very studied in the cultural dynamics and history of depopulation and the destruction of the nuclear family. He gives dynamic sermons which debunk the theories of notorious depopulation advocates such as Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlich.”
The two priests, Thurau said, were “incredibly devout and focused on their mission as priests of the Church,” as well as being “equally…faithful in presentation of the Latin Mass.”
Word of the attack spread quickly through the close-knit church family. Thurau told The Wanderer that one of his sons, an altar server at the church, got a phone call about 2:30 a.m. from another server about the violence a few hours earlier. “I practically fell out of bed at the shock,” Thurau said.
Parishioner Haley said he quickly phoned a priest friend after his wife, Maureen, awakened him about 12:30 a.m. when she read the news online.
That priest already was at the hospital where Terra was receiving emergency treatment, Haley said, so he dashed over to be near his pastor.
“The most remarkable thing about that night,” Haley said, was that the seriously injured Terra only talked about other people, not himself, when Haley was allowed to go back to see him.
Although Terra had been beaten bloody, he said, “Hi, Bill, how are the kids?. . . [H]is concern was for my children,” Haley said, adding that Terra also “rejoiced with me about a couple that was just able to have a baby. . . . He was just so happy for them.”

Do Not Be Afraid

Terra even saw a positive aspect to the violent attack, Haley said — the Devil is furious over the good works at the church.
The priest “wants the parishioners to know,” Haley said, “there’s good happening at Mater Misericordiae because the Devil doesn’t like it, and we cannot be afraid….It’s so important that we don’t give in to fear,” which would be “paralyzing.”
KPHO-TV news reported that Phoenix Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmsted said of his visit in the hospital with Terra, “We were moved to tears more than once, but we had many smiles and laughs as well.”
Although Terra sometimes could look stern during his day-to-day work, he had a sense of merriment about him, perhaps a leavening from the Holy Spirit.
Thurau recalled Terra’s “very dry, remarkable sense of humor” by recounting that at a recent party anticipating his 25th anniversary of priestly Ordination, Terra recalled Jesus “saying the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church, so Father told the congregation they shouldn’t fear his involvement would have any dire consequences” for Mater Misericordiae.
Terra’s attraction to the Latin Mass apparently had caused him some career troubles earlier as a priest in a California diocese, but that ended when he joined the FSSP to flex his talents.
As in some other U.S. urban centers, there’s a sharp demarcation in Mater Misericordiae’s neighborhood. The mighty lawmaking apparatus of Arizona state government is only a few minutes’ walk away, but lost-looking souls can wander past the lower-class housing along Monroe Street, which the church faces. Nighttime can feel like a dubious time to be afoot on Monroe.
Directly south of the rear of the church is a six-level state parking garage, with the Arizona State Land Department building immediately to the west of the garage. Walk just past the land department and, behold, there’s the Arizona state legislature and governor’s Executive Tower to the west, and Arizona Supreme Court building to the east. But on Monroe, one understands why the church’s rectory has strong bars on the windows.
Still, The Catholic Sun quoted a Phoenix diocesan official that Mater Misericordiae was felt to be “a safe place to live.”
Vicar General Fr. Fred Adamson added that Terra is “a pretty strong man — he’s not afraid of anybody — and if anyone came in there and asked him, he would give them the shirt off his back. That’s the type of priest he is — a real servant of God,” the Sun said.

“God Is Beauty”

A can-do second-career priest built like a boxer, Terra personally helped in the major renovation of the former Hispanic Baptist church that became Mater Misericordiae in 2010, as well as overseeing the project. The church building retained a modest brick exterior, but the interior was re-crafted like a jewel box.
“A reverent traditional crucifix behind the altar is set amid a rainbow of color in the sanctuary, blue, orange, pink, gold, yellow, red, and white,” The Wanderer wrote in a February 2011 story about the new Latin Mass facility.
Sitting down for an interview with The Wanderer then, Terra reflected on architectural beauty expressed in a place where God dwells:
“God is beauty, that’s one of His attributes,” along with other perfect qualities including justice, mercy, and love, Terra told The Wanderer. “. . . And our hope is to see God face to face. . . . What that means is that the house of God must also be beautiful. . . . So beauty is not a luxury, it’s essential for the house of God, and it should be as beautiful as we can make it.”
Although one couldn’t declare that Mater Misericordiae looks exactly like Heaven, one can hope that Fr. Walker is able to say his church on Earth did a good job at preparing him for the glories of the next world.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

‘Quit Catholic schools if you can’t stand our principles’

The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu has dared students who cannot comply with the religious rules and practices in Catholic schools to quit and move to other schools, if they so desire. According to him,…Continue Reading

Robert McElroy Named New Leader of Roman Catholic Church

The new leader of the Roman Catholic Church Diocese in San Diego has been named. Robert W. McElroy, 61, an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco, has been named the new bishop for San Diego, which has about one million Catholics…Continue Reading

Catholic Schools Should Be Catholic, Even in San Francisco

Archbishop Cordileone is predictably blasted for a commonsense policy. If you care to learn how thin our conception of religious liberty has become, look to the Bay Area. In early February, San Francisco archbishop Salvatore Cordileone released a statement “regarding…Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: CARDINAL BURKE INTERVIEW WITH RORATE CAELI

burk10

Last week, Rorate Caeli interviewed Raymond Cardinal Burke via telephone on numerous topics. Nothing was off the table for this interview and His Eminence was incredibly generous with his time. He showed himself to be brilliant and yet filled with…Continue Reading

Hit job on Card. Pell because he’s doing his job

His Eminence George Card Pell was appointed by Pope Francis to oversee cleaning up the finances of the Holy See. He is doing his job. And so as Pell drills into the financial corruption and is getting closer to the…Continue Reading

Oil company hit man has Archbishop Cordileone in his sights

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 27, 2015 / 05:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Sam Singer’s public relations firm spun a Chevron oil refinery disaster in California and fought back a legal ruling in Ecuador that could have awarded billions of dollars to…Continue Reading

What about Henry VIII?

Interestingly, Jesus’ hard teaching that “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt 19:6) follows not long after his insistence to Peter on the necessity of forgiveness (see Mt 18:21–35). It is true that Jesus did…Continue Reading

Sacrificing Priests on the Altar of Insurance

Fr. Bob (that’s what we’ll call him) was a faithful parish priest for more than 25 years. One day, a process server showed up at the rectory door and handed him a summons and complaint. The complaint alleged that some…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Must Save Students from Pornography Epidemic, Says Counseling Expert

Catholic colleges and universities owe it to their students to do everything within their power to help combat the destructive effects of pornography, argued Dr. Peter Kleponis in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. Kleponis, a licensed clinical…Continue Reading

Imagine: A Catholic Archbishop!

If it weren’t so predictable, it would be infuriating, but because of that, it is infuriating to thinking people. It’s happening again as San Francisco drops the hammer – again – on the Catholic Church and especially Archbishop Cordileone. He’s…Continue Reading

As storm brews, San Fran archbishop strikes back at school guideline critics

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 20, 2015 / 03:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Politicians have targeted San Francisco Catholic schools’ teacher standards, but Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone says they are a matter of Catholic mission and common sense. “Would you hire a campaign…Continue Reading

University of Scranton to end all abortion coverage

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – The University of Scranton plans to end employee health care coverage for abortions in cases of rape, incest and to preserve the life of the mother. The Times-Tribune of Scranton (http://bit.ly/1JstU9i ) reports Thursday that the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: Worldliness Blinds Us To The Needs Of The Poor

(Vatican Radio) Worldliness darkens the soul, making it unable to see the poor who live next to us with all their wounds: this was the message, in brief, that Pope Francis had for the faithful gathered for Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican on Thursday morning. Commenting on the parable of the rich man, a man dressed “in purple and fine linen,” who “every day gave lavish banquets,” the…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: An Invitation To Do Good

pope731

(Vatican Radio)  God “generously forgives” those who “learn to do good”, but what he doesn’t forgive is “hypocrisy and fake saints”, said Pope Francis at Mass Tuesday morning in Casa Santa Marta chapel. Pope Francis said that there has never been any doubts that God prefers “sanctified sinners” – people who, despite their past sins, learn how to do a greater good — to “fake saints” – people who are more concerned with appearing saintly…Continue Reading

Pope: Jesus reveals himself, as the perfect icon of the Father

(Vatican Radio) Before the Angelus the Pope recalled Sunday’s Gospel on the Transfiguration in which Jesus “is at the peak of his public ministry. The Holy Father explained that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, where the prophecies of the ‘Servant of God’ will be fulfilled. The crowds, he added, facing the prospect of a Messiah that does not fit their earthly expectations, abandoned him. They thought that the Messiah would be a liberator…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Judge Not

pope730

(Vatican Radio) It is easy to judge others, but we can only progress on our Christian journey in life if we are capable of judging ourselves first, said Pope Francis at Monday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. The readings of the day focused on the subject of mercy. The Pope, recalling that “we are all sinners” – not “in theory” but in reality – said that the ability to judge oneself is “a Christian…Continue Reading

Best Of Times Or Worst Of Times?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Last week, John Kerry seemed to be auditioning for the role of Dr. Pangloss. Despite jihadi violence across the Middle East and ISIS terror in Iraq and Syria, Kerry told Congress, we live in “a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally —…Continue Reading

The Good Pagan’s Failure

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY As Europe faces what seems to be a cultural crisis, a book written in 1939 comes to mind for its present relevance. It is Rosalind Murray’s The Good Pagan’s Failure. (1) Murray was the daughter of the Australian-born, British classical scholar Gilbert Murray, and the wife for 30 years of Arnold…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101… “Birth Control For Teens Who Are ‘Doing It Anyway’?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + If pressed, many “family planners” admit that, in an ideal world, all young people would…Continue Reading

Virginia Parish Calls On Catholics . . . Join In An “Affirmation Of Faith” To Pope Francis

By LISA BOURNE FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — A Virginia Catholic parish is publicly affirming Church teaching on marriage and its fidelity to the Church, while at the same time calling on Pope Francis to proclaim and defend the same. In the wake of the October Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome, St. John…Continue Reading

Egalitarian Chess

By DONALD DeMARCO A high school principal, let us imagine, who is thoroughly devoted to political correctness, summoned the school’s chess coach into his office. In that venue the following conversation took place. P: I think it is time to bring the game of chess into the 21st century. C: But chess is a timeless…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Practice Mercy And Charity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday Of Lent (YR B) Readings: 2 Chron. 36:14-16, 19-23 Eph. 2:4-10 John 3:14-21 In the second reading today St. Paul reminds us that God is rich in mercy. For this we are all most grateful because without that mercy we would all be headed to a very hot eternity. Sometimes, however, we get impatient…Continue Reading

It Looks Like Someone Is Trying To Shout Us Down

By JOSEPH CARDINAL ZEN ZE-KIUN (Editor’s Note: The widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless, according to Cardinal Zen, the archbishop emeritus of Hong Kong. He says that the key issues remain unresolved, namely, episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Root Of Faith Crisis In Rupture Between Life And Love

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Quite a few years ago, I went hiking in the Alps on the border between Italy and France with a group of reformed drug addicts and their family members. One father brought his two sons who observed my delight as I ran up to the snow line ahead of the group and collected fresh snow…Continue Reading

Are Statues Idols? The Meaning Of “False Idols”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 “I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath…Continue Reading

Catechesis In The Twenty-First Century

By Don Fier “In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council.” With these words in his apostolic letter Porta Fidei announcing the upcoming Year of Faith…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Isidore Of Seville

By CAROLE BRESLIN Spain is one of two countries located on the Iberian Peninsula. During the time of the Roman Empire, it was the Romans who first called this land “Hispania.” To this land the Romans brought the Latin language, civil organization, and law, as well as the Christian religion. However, as the Roman Empire began to crumble during the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustus Chapdelaine

By CAROLE BRESLIN Christianity has never been warmly welcomed by the authorities in China, but that did not stop the missionaries over the centuries who have gone there to save souls. Christianity has existed in various forms since the Tang Dynasty (eighth century). The first reports of Catholic priests going to China go back to the 13th century. John of…Continue Reading