Obituary: Father Ronald Walls

Father Ronald Walls

Father Ronald Walls

Father Ronald J Walls, priest at Our Lady and St Joseph's, Kirkwall and formerly parish Priest in Caithness, Banchory and at Woodside, Aberdeen, as well as writer and broadcaster, died on 2 January, 2010. He was 90 years old.

Ronald Walls was born in Edinburgh in 1920. He began adult life as a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. In 1948, with his wife and three sons, he was received into the Catholic Church. In a road accident in 1974 he was badly injured and his wife Helen was killed. In 1977 he was ordained priest by Bishop Mario Conti. now Archbishop of Glasgow. His inspiring autobiography, Love Strong as Death, and two volumes of daily meditations on the Gospel readings at Mass, Stairway to the Upper Room, are published by Gracewing.

From an early age, long before a Hungarian policeman described him as a 'Knoxist', Ronald Walls felt himself called to serve in the ministry of the Scottish Church. His book: The One True Kirk (Burns & Oates 1960) tells the story of how he became a minister, of the joys, sorrows and problems he encountered in his first and last parish and of how he finally left the ministry to face an uncertain future as a Catholic.

Other books by Fr Walls include: Christ Who Lives in Me: Rosary Meditations by Ronald Walls (ISBN 0879738537

Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II by Herbert Vorgrimler, Hilda Graef, WJ O'Hara, Ronald Walls Hardcover, Continuum International Publishing Group, Limited, ISBN 0223294314

The Glory of Israel: Scriptural Background on the Mysteries of the Rosary by Ronald Walls (ISBN 0879738138 (0-87973-813-8)

In a review of Fr Wall's autobiography, Love Strong as Death, Cardinal Winning wrote: "To all who read it, this autobiography of Father Ronnie Walls will stand out as a sign of contradiction to the mood of the age. In an era of doubt this is a story of faith. In an era of flux this is a story of commitment. Most of all it is a very moving and inspiring story of love.

"Father Ronnie’s fascinating description of his extended family's lifestyle and genuine religious attachment to the beliefs and practices of the Church of Scotland is the prelude. There's something intensely moving about the kilted youngster making his own way in the world, full of enterprise and goodwill, eager to encounter fellow pilgrims, motivated by a deep awareness of God in his life.

"These pages offer a valuable insight into many 'nooks and crannies' of Scottish life during the 20th century. From the middle class
respectability of Edinburgh 's suburbs to the idyll of Highland rural life in Logic Easter. From the friendly banter of the Glasgow tram to the evocative calm of Nunraw Abbey. Father Ronnie's writing skill is such that the reader will soon feel quite at home in these and many other locations, and will follow with increasing interest the boy becoming a man, finding happiness in an exemplary marriage to Helen, his soul-mate, and settling down to parish ministry.

"Outwardly, the young minister had it all, hut inside the burning desire for truth would not be extinguished. The pursuit of truth meant running the risk of losing everything.

"In many ways the title of the book sums up everything. Love, to Ronnie Walls, is indeed as strong as death, perhaps even stronger. I have no hesitation in declaring that this inspirational, funny, fascinating and moving book is one of the best of fruits produced in recent years."

A Mass, lead by Bishop Moran of Aberdeen will take place in Kirkwall in St Magnus Cathedral on Friday. Fr Wall's body is being brought to St Peter's in Morningside, Edinburgh, at 6pm on Sunday evening. The funeral proper with Archbishop Mario Conti, will be on Monday at 11am at St Peter's, followed by burial at Mount Vernon beside his wife Helen and son Nik. Plans for a reception afterwards are to be announced.

Many thanks to Father Donald for this information which was originally published on his blog.

Dom Donald's blog is at:

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