In 1993, a new house of worship was completed on Buffalo's East Side. St. Martin de Porres, located on Northampton Street, opened its doors with a young deacon at the forefront of opening hearts and instilling the word of the Lord to area parishioners. On Monday, June 1, Deacon Ronald Walker celebrated his 40th year of ordination to the permanent diaconate. Deacon Walker has been with St. Martin de Porres since its inception and has been active in numerous ministries throughout the parish, and the Diocese of Buffalo over his four decade service to the Western New York Catholic Community.
Deacon Walker is recognized as the first African-American ordained to the permanent diaconate within the Diocese of Buffalo.
"It started a long time ago at St. Patrick's, a Franciscan Friar approached me about the diaconate. He said I would make a good candidate. I prayed about it for a while and got inspired and decided to do it," Deacon Walker explained. "I am honored to be the first black Catholic deacon to be ordained 40 years ago now. I feel very good about serving the community."
Reflecting on his long journey, which still continues today, Deacon Walker said, "The first place I served was St. Nicholas Church, on Welker Street near Utica Street, it's closed now. Eventually my journey led me to St. Martin's when it opened 17 years ago and I have been there ever since."
When asked about his role in today's changing social climate, Deacon Walker said, "Yes, I still have the mission my heart at the parish. Just this past Sunday, I preached God's love. People forget that we serve God. We should stand up more and say we serve Jesus and God. I feel a strong belief and faith will see us through these hard times."
Deacon Walker is a member of the Holy Name Society, the Secular Franciscans, and the Knights of Columbus. He has also served in the United States Army and the Army National Guard.