Father Walter Bracken SVD, former chairman of the Techny Land Committee, died in Gulfport, Miss., on July 1 at age 77.
At the time of his death, Father Bracken was a member of the SVD Southern Province. He spent much of his life in the Chicago and Southern provinces.
Born in Belle River, Ontario, Canada, in 1945, Walter Bracken was the younger of Bertha (nee Derdacle) and Edward Bracken’s two sons. He entered Divine Word Seminary in Perrysburg, Ohio, in 1959 and professed vows in 1968.
During his priestly career, Father Bracken worked in parish ministry and community leadership.
Ordained to the priesthood in 1971, Father Bracken served as associate pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Jackson, Miss., for his first assignment. He later served as associate pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church and taught at St. Stanislaus Preparatory College in Bay St. Louis, Miss., before being named associate dean of St. Augustine Seminary in Bay St. Louis.
In 1986, Father Bracken was assigned as pastor of St. Bartholomew Church in Little Rock, Ark., and in 1996, he was assigned to the Chicago Province, where he served in several administrative roles and furthered the development of Techny land.
He served as superior delegate for the Chicago Province, as a member of the North American provinces retirement and medical committees, a board member of Divine Word International, and rector of Divine Word Residence at Techny. Father Bracken also succeeded Father Francis Kamp SVD as chairman of the Techny Land Committee, which developed and managed hundreds of acres of leased land north of Chicago.
In 2009, Father Bracken returned to the Southern Province, where he fulfilled co-op speaking engagements, served as director of the William J. Kelley Retreat Center, served as a Provincial Council member, and facilitated 30-day retreats for novices. In 2017, he retired due to health reasons.
A statement released by the Southern Province read, “Walter lived his life with humility, love for God and for all people. He emulated the importance of keeping it simple, living life on life’s terms and sharing in the company of those whom he loved and loved him.”
Father Bracken was preceded in death by his parents and older brother Charles. He is survived by a niece and a nephew.
Father Bracken’s wake was July 4, followed by a funeral Mass and burial in Bay St. Louis on July 5.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in the name of Father Bracken can be made for the care of elderly and infirmed missionaries and may be sent to The Rector, St. Augustine Seminary, 199 Seminary Dr., Bay St. Louis, MS 39520.