Fr. J. Kenneth Walker has been appointed as pastor of the Martin County Catholic Churches effective Jan. 22. He is the son of the late John E. (Jack) and Dolores (Dages) Walker, formerly of Montgomery. Fr. Walker graduated magna cum laude from St. Meinrad College and received his master’s degree in Divinity from St. Meinrad School of Theology in the Spring of 1981. Father was ordained a priest on May 29, 1981, by the Most Reverend Francis R. Shea, at St. John Catholic Church, in Loogootee, and said his first Mass there on May 31, 1981.
He was assigned as associate pastor to St. John the Baptist Church on June 16, 1981, in Vincennes, with teaching duties in the Vincennes Catholic Schools at Rivet and Flaget.
In the fall of 1986, The Most Reverend Francis R. Shea appointed Father Walker to study Canon Law at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In the spring of 1988, he received a master’s degree in Canon Law from the University of Ottawa and his Licentiate (Pontifical degree and license) in Canon Law from St. Paul University, Ottawa.
On May 24, 1988, he was appointed Adjutant Judicial Vicar by Bishop Shea with full-time duties in the Diocesan Tribunal. Fr. Walker was reappointed to this position by the Most Reverend Gerald A. Gettlefinger in April of 1989. On Sept. 1, 2002, he was appointed Judicial Vicar by Bishop Gettelfinger and reappointed to that position by Most Reverend Charles C. Thompson in June 2011.
Father Walker’s position of Judicial Vicar for the Diocese entails overseeing the operation of the Tribunal regarding the granting of dissolutions and annulments as well as assisting the bishop on canonical matters. Canon Law governs not only marriage, but every aspect of the life of the Church
While working in the Tribunal, Father Walker provided weekend assistance at Holy Rosary Church in Evansville, served as Administrator of All Saints Church, Cannelburg, and St. Mary, Barr Twp. , and was later appointed to St. John Newburgh in November 1993 for eight years, then St. Benedict Cathedral, and Sacred Heart in Evansville. He has provided weekend assistance to the Martin County Catholic Churches since 2003.