Fr. Gary Walsh - Requiescat in Pace

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 08 December 2013 - 20:59:53 | by admin

It is with great sadness that we must relate the death of another orthodox, young and hardworking priest in Liverpool. Fr. Gary Walsh passed from this life on Thursday, fortified with the Last Rites of the Church. He was 53 years old.

Fr. Gary is known and loved throughout Merseyside and beyond as the superior of the Blessed Sacrament Shrine in the city centre of Liverpool. He has been integral to the mission of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers there for decades and has been part of the faith journey of many of us. It is painful to think of the shrine on Dawson Street being without him.

Like his brother priests at the shrine, Fr. Gary spent many hours - week-in and week-out for years - ministering to souls in the busy Confessionals and celebrating the Sacred Liturgy. With them, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament was at the heart of his life, home and mission and he offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with sincerity and reverence.
Fr. Gary was a strong defender of orthodoxy and he used his homilies to instruct the laity in the authentic teachings of the Church and to exhort them to grow in holiness. I remember hastening to him for Confession in the 1990's after he posed the penetrating question to the congregation, 'Am I closer to God and to holiness than I was this time last year?'

In recent years he signed up to a number of on-line initiatives which bear witness to his faith. In 2009, he signed the petition calling on the Bishops of England and Wales not to acquiesce with the Labour Government's plans to force Catholic schools to take on even more morally relative sex education. Fr. Gary signed his name with the comment 'Just for one more St. John Fisher'.

In 2010, he signed a petition defending the sacred character of the Catholic priesthood from theological reductionism and supporting His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in preparation for his Papal Visit to Britain. Only this year, Fr. Gary signed up to a letter to Parliament which defended True Marriage and the rights and liberties of the Catholic Church in this country. Anyone who knew Fr. Gary was aware that he was himself a well-spoken and thoroughly patriotic Englishman. He often encouraged people to pray for the health and guidance of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and he was delighted when she met with the Holy Father in 2010. I was at the Blessed Sacrament Shrine with (then) Mike (later Fr. Mike) Williams when Diana, Princess of Wales, had been tragically killed in 1997 and Fr. Gary consoled the people and led them in prayers for her immortal soul.

As superior of the Blessed Sacrament Shrine in Liverpool, Fr. Gary was keen to support the Shrine Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena which was established, across the River Mersey, by Bishop Mark Davies in 2012, as a centre for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite, under the care of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

In May 2012, Fr. Gary handed us his I-Phone during a Marian Procession on the Wirral and asked us to get a picture of him with Canon Olivier Meney (ICKSP) who was at that time in charge of the newly opened Shrine Church. We managed to snap this shot during the Rosary.

Later on, Fr. Gary preached a brief homily on Our Lady of Fatima at the outdoor altar and he asked everyone to intercede to Our Lady for lapsed Catholics to return to the practice of the Faith.
A few months earlier we had met Fr. Gary in Liverpool and he was quite tearful about the death of our mutual friend Fr. Mike Williams who he thought very highly of. As we departed, Fr. Gary called after us, 'I read your blog you know... May God bless your ministry'. It was a great encouragement for us to be warmly supported by a priest like that. It gave us strength to keep doing Torch of The Faith.

Also in May 2012, we attended the annual Marian procession through the streets of Liverpool and took this photograph of him at the head of the procession along Bold Street. He was very happy that day and enjoyed the chance to do some time-honoured street evangelization.

It is so sad for Liverpool to lose such a good and young priest as Fr. Gary Walsh S.S.S. For all of us, another light has gone out on this earth.

In his frailty the grace of God had shone through Fr. Gary in a deeper way with a perceptible increase in gentleness of spirit. He had become somehow more 'little' and Christ shone through still more.

Having long worked for the Kingdom of God and having suffered under his own crosses we now commend him to the Divine Mercy of God - May he be given a share in Christ's Resurrection.

Thank you Fr. Gary - for all you did.

Fr. Gary's funeral will take place at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King on the Feast of St. Lucy this Friday, 13th December. Please pray for him, his loved ones, his brother priests and the souls who were in his care.

Eternal rest grant unto Fr. Gary dear Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him and may he rest in peace. Amen.