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Priest slain in Phoenix to be buried in Kansas

  • Eagle staff and wire reports
  • Published Thursday, June 19, 2014, at 11:48 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, June 19, 2014, at 12:05 p.m.

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The Rev. Kenneth Walker, killed during a break-in at his Phoenix church last week, will be buried Friday in Kansas.

A funeral Mass for Walker will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Paxico, according to the funeral home handling the arrangements. Walker, 28, will be buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery in St. Marys.

Walker was killed June 11 in Phoenix after being shot during a break-in at Mother of Mercy Mission church in downtown Phoenix. A homeless ex-convict with a history of violence and drug abuse was arrested Monday in connection with Walker’s death and the beating of another priest at the church.

Police say the Rev. Joseph Terra went to investigate noises in a church courtyard and was attacked by 54-year-old Gary Michael Moran with the piece of metal before the priest fled and got a .357-caliber gun from his bedroom. Moran wrestled the weapon away from the injured priest and killed Walker, after Walker rushed to the aid of his colleague, court records show.

Walker, who was born in upstate New York, was ordained a priest in 2012.

Walker had 10 siblings and was drawn to the priesthood after attending traditional Latin Mass with his family in high school. He later joined the seminary, made good grades and enjoyed playing soccer, said the Rev. Joseph Lee, academic dean at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska.

Walker eventually joined a Catholic order that specializes in Latin Mass and became a priest in downtown Phoenix. He recently officiated a younger sibling's wedding in Kansas — the last time he saw many of his relatives.

Contributing: Associated Press

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