Fr. Martin de Porres Walsh, O.P.
Director, 2003- present
Fr. Martin, born John (Jack) Walsh in Vallejo, California, attended St. Vincent Ferrer grammar and high schools, graduating with his beloved Class of 1956. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree from USF in 1961, he returned to his hometown high school to teach English for two years. It was then that he first became involved in his passion— ministering to the third world—as one of the founders of Amigos Anonymous, now a nationwide program directing college students in social work among rural villagers in Mexico. Concurrently he was working toward a Bachelor of Philosophy degree at St. Albert College in Oakland, which he received in 1966, and continued on to a Master of Divinity degree from Berkeley’s Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in 1976.
Since ordination to the priesthood in 1969, Fr. Martin has served in a wide variety of endeavors: He ministered at St. Dominic Priory in San Francisco, serving as parochial vicar, and later he served as pastor for eight years, during which he oversaw the highly successful church restoration project. He served eight years at our mission in Mexicali and six years as novice master for the Western Dominican Province. Concurrent with his ministries, he was on staff at Mt. Zion's Westside Mental Health Center in San Francisco as well as St. Albert College Program for Career Development of Clergy. He has served on the boards of directors of the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society; the Dominican Biblical School of Jerusalem (Ecole Biblique); and the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. He also consulted for the Mexican government on the restoration of the Dominican missions of Baja California and was a contributing editor to the African American Heritage Bible. From 2007 to 2011, he served simultaneously as director of San Francisco's Shrine of St. Jude and of our Dominican Mission Foundation. He continues to hold the latter position today.
While Fr. Martin is officially in residence at the Mexicali parish of Santa Maria de Guadalupe, he visits our mission office in San Francisco regularly to perform his administrative duties. And much of his time is spent preaching weekend mission appeals, in both Spanish and English, at parishes throughout the west at the invitation of their dioceses’ Propagation of the Faith offices. All of the financial proceeds of his itinerant preaching go directly to support our missions. It is due to Fr. Martin's enthusiastic guidance and unstoppable energy that the spiritual health and quality of life of those in our mission areas continue to improve.