The 40th Death Anniversary of Fr. Walter Voordeckers, CICM – One of the Martyrs in Guatemala

Father Walter: a Martyr for the Poor

Father Walter Voordeckers was born in Tornhout, Belgium, on September 2, 1939. He made his first vows in the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on September 8, 1960. He has been ordained a priest on August 1, 1965. On August 30, 1966, he left Belgium for Guatemala, his mission country. He worked in Nueva Santa Rosa, in Escuintla, and in Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa.

Due to his commitment to the poor, he was assassinated in Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa on May 12, 1980, at 09:30 in the morning.

On May 11, 1980, Father Voordeckers commented: “I am terribly afraid because I already received threats, they want to kill me and they are going to kill me, but if they want to grab or drag me, I will run, I will not allow myself to be kidnapped. I prefer to be shot instead of being kidnapped. "

On a Monday, May 12, 1980, four heavily armed individuals had positioned themselves, since seven in the morning, in front of the parish and the headquarters of the National Police in the municipality of Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, Department of Escuintla. Fr. Walter was writing a letter. At 9:30 in the morning, he left to deposit it at the post office, a few steps from the parish house. The four individuals tried to kidnap him and, when they failed to do so, they shot him; Walter received seven 45-caliber bullet wounds, and the attackers immediately climbed into a beige Toyota Land Cruiser with covered license plates and fled.

Walter was mortally wounded. The ambulance arrived a few minutes later, there was still a reaction from Walter giving him oxygen. However, he could not be saved. Seven bullets had hit him. At 9:30 am the assault occurred and at 9:45 he had already entered his resurrection, his liberation, in the Father's House.