Assaulted Phoenix priest served in Denver

A pastor who remains in critical but stable condition after surviving an attack in a Phoenix church that took the life of a fellow priest had served in Denver for nine months.

Father Joseph Terra, F.S.S.P., 56, was critically wounded in the June 11 evening assault at Misericordiae Mission that took the life of his associate pastor, Father Kenneth Walker, F.S.S.P., 28. The two are members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter order, which celebrates the extraordinary form of the Latin Mass.

Father Terra had served the Latin Mass Community in the Denver Archdiocese from April 1999 to January 2000.Father Joseph Terra, F.S.S.P.

“Father Terra is a very dear man,” said Jean O’Brien, a parishioner of Holy Ghost Church in Denver, as she recalled his service to what is now Our Lady of Mount Carmel Latin Mass Community in Littleton.

Archbishop Samuel Aquila sent a morning tweet urging prayers for the priests and for the Phoenix Diocese.

“The police are still gathering information and trying to sort through the details of this senseless act of violence. We ask that people offer prayers for both priests, the religious community, their families and the parish,” the Phoenix Diocese said in a June 12 statement.

Police responded to a burglary call from Father Terra shortly after 9:30 p.m. June 11 at the Mater Misericordiae Mission.

Despite being seriously beaten in the attack, Father Terra administered last rites to his dying brother priest, Father Fred Adamson, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Phoenix Diocese, said at a press conference.

The Catholic Sun contributed to this report.




COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.

Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash