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Father Bill Walker OMI

Fr. William J. Walker, O.M.I.

When I was in High School, I remember seeing a picture of a man standing in front of a donkey. In the picture he had: a full beard, dirty white shirt, baggy pants with a rope belt to hold them up, and dirty, scarred boots. The caption read: "Oblate Missionary brings Good News to people in Cambodia." "To Evangelize the Poor," was the motto under that. I said to myself, this is what I am meant to do. This is what God is calling me to.

I come from a family of orange and green. My father, an orphan, had been adopted by a Presbyterian minister and my mother as Irish Catholic as you can get without being in Ireland. It was a terrific mixture which has been a blessing all my life. Dad converted to Catholicism when he married Mum and brought with him an earthiness and familiarity with God I will always cherish. Between the two of them they planted the beginnings of a Faith that would respect others and a compassion to help the Poor. Growing up in Prince George, B.C. was a blessing as well. I started in Catholic Schools and finished in Public Schools. This was another good mixture for my future ministry. I remember when my parents visited me in the novitiate, the place where you decide if you want to be an Oblate and the Oblate's decide if they want you. They asked me one question: "Are you happy? Because if you are not, you can always come home." I was happy. I had found another home. Since that time I have lived and served in Communities of Oblates in, Kitimat, Smithers, Arnprior, St. Albert, Fort St. John, Prince George and now in Vancouver. Each place has been different, especially the needs and the people. The places and the people revealed to me another side of the face of God. Each place challenged me to faithfulness to the motto of the Oblate, and my calling to "Evangelize the Poor."