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US priest killed at church

Phoenix prayers

Stunned: Parishioners, including Jennifer Gustke (right) with her children, pray the Rosary near Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission in Phoenix the morning after a priest was killed and another critically injured during an attack at the mission’s rectory the night before.
Photo: CNS/Nancy Wiechec

AN attack at a downtown Phoenix church in the United States left one priest dead and another critically wounded.

Fr Kenneth Walker, 29, died of a gunshot wound in the June 11 attack, while Fr Joseph Terra, 56, survived the attack and was hospitalised in critical but stable condition, Sgt Steve Martos, of the Phoenix Police Department, said.

Both priests are members of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. The order of priests is dedicated to celebrating the Mass in the extraordinary form, commonly known as the Tridentine rite.

The attack stunned the parish in Phoenix, where the diocese issued a statement asking for prayers for both men, the religious community, their families and the parish.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, who was attending the annual spring meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in New Orleans, offered a prayer as the bishops began the day’s agenda on June 12. The bishop said Fr Walker was ordained a year ago.

Sgt Martos said police received an emergency call about 9pm from Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission reporting a burglary. Responding officers found the two priests severely wounded and immediately called for an ambulance.


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