Tuesday 1st December 2015

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

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

June 22, 2014 Frontpage No Comments


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:

Police officer killed at Planned Parenthood was pro-life, Christian pastor

Nov. 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Officer Garrett Swasey, the police officer killed during a standoff with a lone gunman at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs Friday, was reportedly a leading figure in his church who was also pro-life.…Continue Reading

In Australia, bishops face legal complaint for defending marriage

Sydney, Australia (CNA/EWTN News) — The Sydney archbishop has strongly defended the freedom of the Catholic Church in response to a legal complaint claiming the Australian bishops’ pastoral letter on marriage violated Tasmania’s strict anti-discrimination law. “Australia is party to…Continue Reading

Obama Just Sent MAJOR Threat To Every US State That Won’t Take Syrian Refugees

The Obama Administration is issuing a showdown with states that are refusing to accept Syrian refugees. The administration sent a letter telling states they would be subject to enforcement action if they do not comply with federal plans to import…Continue Reading

Pope at UN in Africa: We Have a Choice: Either Improve or Destroy the Environment

Says It Will Be ‘Catastrophic’ If Individual Interests Prevail Over the Common Good in Paris Meeting, and Information Is Manipulated to Protect ‘Plans and Projects’ Kenya, November 26, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter Here is a Vatican translation of the address…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell bets against the odds: insists Pope Francis will strongly reaffirm Catholic tradition

ROME, November 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Contradicting the statements of some of the pope’s closest advisors, the Vatican’s financial chief Cardinal George Pell has declared that Pope Francis will re-assert and “clarify” longstanding Church teaching and discipline that prohibits Communion…Continue Reading

‘Bleeding host’ under investigation by SL Catholic diocese

(KUTV) The Salt Lake Catholic Diocese has started an investigation into what is being described as a ‘bleeding host’ at a local parish, St. Francis Xavier in Kearns. Images of the host, given to 2News, showed circles of deep red,…Continue Reading

How did heterodox prelates try to change doctrine at synod?

In this address delivered at the Catholic Voice conference Faith of Our Fathers, Matthew McCusker of Voice of the Family discusses three key elements of the “progressive” strategy deployed at the Ordinary Synod: arguing for changes in the Church’s language,…Continue Reading

Bishop Defends ChurchMilitant.com Against ‘Vicious’ Bill Donohue Attack

by Church Militant • ChurchMilitant.com • November 24, 2015 65 Comments Bishop Rene Henry Gracida is criticizing the Catholic League The bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas is defending ChurchMilitant.com against what he calls the “vicious attack” by Catholic League’s…Continue Reading

Pope Francis to German Bishops: Your Church is a mess! Fix it and … GO TO CONFESSION!

The German bishops are making their ad limina visit. Every few years diocesan bishops have to go to Rome to meet with offices of the Roman Curia and, usually, the Pope. Pope Francis gave an address to the German bishops…Continue Reading

Germany’s bishops discuss decentralizing the Church in meeting with Pope Francis

ROME, November 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — The German bishops, sixty-seven of them, recently visited Rome together for their obligatory Ad Limina visit with the pope from November 16-20. This Ad Limina visit, which is obligatory for all bishops of the…Continue Reading

In Australia, Catholic Bishops Face Court Action, Huge Fines Over Traditional Views on Marriage

Australians have always viewed America’s litigious culture with suspicion. Our “no worries mate” approach to life means we tend not to rush off to court at the drop of a hat. So last week when a state government commissioner ruled…Continue Reading

Cardinal Wuerl’s Embassy Row Penthouse

Walking through the posh neighborhood of Embassy Row in October, I stumbled across a scoop: that Washington, D.C.’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl lives in a penthouse atop a mansion priced north of $40 million. That Embassy Row mansion is the Our…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 su
bscribe 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 celebrates closing Mass of African Journey

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday celebrated Mass at Bangui’s Barthélémy Boganda Stadium for thousands of the faithful from the Central African Republic. Speaking of Paul’s missionary zeal in the Letter to the Romans, Pope Francis in his final Mass in the Central African Republic reflected on the great missionary effort which first brought the Gospel to the people of Central Africa. Times of difficulty, trial and suffering remind all of the Lord’s call to…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Arrives in Central African Republic

Francis Will Open Holy Door in Bangui Before Inauguration of Jubilee of Mercy in Vatican Bangui, November 29, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov Pope Francis has arrived in the Central African Republic, the final leg of his first Apostolic Visit to Africa, after having visited Kenya and Uganda. The Pontiff arrived at the M’poko International Airport in the war-torn nation’s capital of Bangui around 10 a.m. local time, after a nearly three-hour flight from Uganda,…Continue Reading

Pope to young: Jesus can transform walls into a path


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday encouraged young people in Uganda to turn negative experiences into positive ones with the help of Jesus and his grace. In an address where the Pope ditched his prepared remarks and spoke off-the-cuff in Spanish, he urged the young people to open the door of their hearts to Jesus. More than 150,000 cheering and dancing young people had gathered at an airstrip near Kampala to hear the Pope and…Continue Reading

Pope Gives Youth Choice: Do You Want to Overcome Challenges or Be Overcome by Them?

Throwing Aside Script, Pope Francis Asks Kenya’s Young People If They’ll Allow Difficulties Destroy or Use Them As Opportunities Nairobi, November 27, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov Pope Francis has asked Kenya’s young people how they will respond to the challenges they face, including those of bad tribalism, corruption, and desperation, and challenged them to get out of vicious cycles. Speaking to tens of thousands gathered in Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium, this morning, the Pope listened…Continue Reading

The Catholic Origins of Thanksgiving

Did you know that Thanksgiving is a Catholic holiday? True, it’s not on the Church calendar. And it is celebrated only in America, whereas Church holidays are universal. Our national holiday is certainly an event that has taken on a life of its own, with an established tradition involving turkey and mashed potatoes, football, shopping, and a four-day weekend—which is fascinating since none of those things have anything to do with the original event that…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Professor . . . Forced To Leave Project Aimed At Faithful Catholic Education

By JUSTIN PETRISEK (Editor’s Note: Catholic Education Daily, an online publication of the Cardinal Newman Society, published this report on November 24. All rights reserved.) + + + In an unexpected turn of events, University of Notre Dame professor Fr. Bill Miscamble, CSC, has been forced to disassociate himself with a new project recommending Notre…Continue Reading

Conversion To Pro-Life

By DONALD DeMARCO Before Roe v. Wade, but when the abortion issue was being hotly contested, certain pro-life leaders in Canada, as well as in the United States, told me that once people realized what abortion entails, the controversy would be settled solidly in favor of life. The plausible assumption in the minds of these…Continue Reading

How An Americanist/Modernist Continued To Undermine Catholic Teaching

By JAMES LIKOUDIS The author of Pilgrim Church: A Popular History of Catholic Christianity (Revised & Expanded; Twenty-Third Publications, 1989) that continues to circulate in Catholic parishes is Fr. William J. Bausch, who may be remembered by veterans of the sex education battles of the 1970s for his book A Boy’s Sex Life when he…Continue Reading

The End Of Obamaworld

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In denouncing Republicans as “scared of widows and orphans,” and castigating those who prefer Christian refugees to Muslims coming to America, Barack Obama has come off as petulant and unpresidential. Clearly, he is upset. And with good reason. He grossly, transparently underestimated the ability of ISIS, the “JV” team, to strike…Continue Reading

The Fictional Islamic State

By JUDE DOUGHERTY There is reason to believe that the so-called “Islamic State” is a fictional being rather than a reality. A state has borders, a central government, and a bureaucratic structure. None of this has been claimed for ISIS, although some have spoken of ISIS as a proto-state. What we have in fact is…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . Critique Of Church Art Is Not Comment On Sponsors’ Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK I recently received a phone call in which I was informed that a tweeted comment of mine on the Twitter social network about the interaction between some chapel visitors and sacred art recently installed therein had, in effect, called into question the faith of that chapel’s proprietors in the Real Presence. Although I did not…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . The Rule Of Faith Is The Church’s Teaching Authority

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 30 In order to finish the discussion on the revolution caused by Martin Luther nearly 500 years ago, let us consider his first major dogma, namely, sola Scriptura. Any Catholic — especially The Wanderer readers — who want to take their faith seriously and apply the criteria laid down by John Paul II in…Continue Reading

The Communion Of Saints

By DON FIER For the past six weeks, we have examined and elaborated upon the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on a state of life embraced by many loyal followers of Christ who have freely responded to a special call to follow with radical fidelity the way of life that the Lord Himself led. These generous…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I know the word “friend” appears many times in the Bible, but sometimes it is capitalized. For example, at daily Mass today there was a reading from 1st Maccabees which said that King Antiochus, who was about to die, “called in all his Friends” to tell them of his tribulations, and he chose Philip, “one of his Friends,” to…Continue Reading

The New Jerusalem

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Advent (YR C) Readings: Baruch 5:1-9 Phil. 1:4-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6 In the Gospel reading today we hear about the preaching of St. John the Baptist. However, unlike what we read in the other Gospels, St. Luke does not record the Baptist as saying that he is the voice in the desert calling…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Maria Virgo

By CAROLE BRESLIN When I visited my aunt in St. Louis, Mo., we would visit the basilicas, the museums, and other places of interest. She had many sites near her that were particularly special to her, such as her parish, The Little Flower, in Richmond Heights. In addition, she described a place where she frequently went for eucharistic adoration at…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Raphael Kalinowski

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many terms we use in our language which are clichés. We hear people say that somebody “kicked the bucket,” meaning that he has died, or “I’ll send you to outer Mongolia,” meaning that they will ship you so far away no one will find you. Fr. Kalinowski not only went to a place just north…Continue Reading