MAPLE HILL, Kan. -- A priest attacked and killed in Phoenix, 28-year-old Father Kenneth Walker was remembered on Thursday night. Fr. Walker attended seminary in Nebraska and his large family said they moved to Maple Hill to be closer to him during that time.
St. John Vianney Church in Maple Hill held a rosary Thursday night. His family, including some of his 10 siblings attended. Fr. Walker's family says the priest died fulfilling his dream.
The church sits about 20 miles from Topeka and off a dirt road. Thursday, with a blue sky backdrop and religious statues poised to greet guests, the house of prayer welcomed close to 300 people mourning Fr. Walker’s death.
"It's hard to believe even now that I won’t be seeing him walk through my door and throwing my arms around him and joking with him," walker's step-sister, Sasha Keyes told FOX 4.
Keyes said Thursday’s rosary was also a celebration for the brother she calls "Kenny."
"The priesthood was his dream. And when he became a priest, it was the happiest day of his life," she said.
Keyes, along with members of their large family, and hundreds from the Latin mass community filed through the church doors to pray together.
"I’m feeling that while I’m praying for him, I’m also secretly hoping that maybe he went as far as sainthood. I mean, I can hope. I don't know. In my own eyes he was perfect and he did nothing wrong," said Keyes.
During the rosary, one priest said Fr. Walker, only 28, was taken on God's time, not man's.
"He fulfilled his dream,” Keyes said.
A fund is being set up at St. John Vianney to help some of Fr. Walker’s siblings fly home for the funeral. Any donations should be directed to the family of Fr. Walker. Family says a funeral will be held in Topeka and Fr. Walker will be buried in Maple Hill. A date has not yet been set.