Newbury, KS (KSNT) – Family and friends said their final goodbyes to a priest who was shot and killed in a Phoenix church by someone who was trying to break-in.
The crime happened hundreds of miles away but Walker’s family lives here in northeast Kansas in Wabaunsee County.
They’re just good, holy, priests. They’ll do whatever they can. Sacrifice their lives for you.” said Fr. John Rickert. Rickert went to seminary with Walker and spoke to Kansas First News after Friday’s funeral mass in Newbury.
Sacrifice is exactly what Walker did that night, says Rickert, when he stepped in to help another priest who was being beaten Walker was shot and killed in Phoenix.
Those who knew Walker say that his actions reflected his character.
“Very light-hearted, had a great sense of humor,” says Reickert, ” Very kind, very, very intelligent. Just a very commendable fellow all around.”
Hundreds came from all over the country to grieve Walker’s death, and to celebrate his life – including some who didn’t even know him
Members of Walker’s seminary class came to serve as ushers at the service.
This is the cemetary where Reverend Walker was finally put to rest,” says Kansas First News reporter Gwen Baumgardner. But those I spoke with say the impact he had during his life and the work that he did will continue for a long time.
With death, life is changed but not ended,,” says Sheryl Clad, a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Omaha. “Father Ken is still alive, so I’m sure he’s praying for this fellow.”
Praying for his alleged killer.
“I don’t see anger and rage and a desire for revenge,” says Reichert. “I who see people who are praying for this fellow who did this, whoever he may be…and all those who were adversely impacted at this point.”
And while his family grieves, those we spoke with say Walker is truly better place.
“He knew what eternity was going to hold so he gave his life.”