Father Declan Collins, 50, died after being struck on the head Saturday next to the parish of Ennerdale. He was carrying about $50 at the time, authorities said.
"In all probability it was a robbery," the Salesian vicar general, Father Luc Van Looy, told the Misna missionary agency.
Father Collins was a late vocation. He left his banking job and went to South Africa to do missionary work between 1985 and 1986. He was ordained a priest in 1990, and began to work in the Ennerdale parish last year, where he helped young people and the unemployed.