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Colton Ketter: Difficult discernment

Former seminarian finds his place as new campus minister at Arkansas Tech

Published: September 12, 2022   
Former seminarian Colton Ketter has found his place as a campus minister at Arkansas Tech.

Sometimes discerning God’s plan can be difficult, if not downright confusing. Colton Ketter, new campus minister at St. Leo the Great University Parish at Arkansas Tech in Russellville, can attest to it.

Ketter, 23, was raised in Charleston where his family attended Sacred Heart Church.  In high school, he attended Search and served on the diocese’s Youth Advisory Council for two years. When he moved to Russellville for college, he said he made most of his friends through St. Leo. After attending ATU for one year, he discerned a calling to become a priest in 2019. He was a diocesan seminarian for about two and a half years, but in November he had doubts about whether he was truly on his correct path. 

“I was dead set on it. I was all in on being a priest,” he said. “In my last year, one of my main goals was to get at the heart of what it means to be a priest. As I did that, I realized maybe I’m not called to be a priest. It’s something I wrestled with for a while.

“I definitely think that God called me to the seminary,” he said. “It changed me. I’m a much better Catholic. I'm a much better man. I see this in my day-to-day life.”

When he left the seminary, he stopped in Russellville to have lunch with St. Leo parish manager Mary Corkins, who asked if he wanted the campus minister job. He accepted the offer immediately.

“When I discerned out, I had two classes left for my degree in philosophy from Newman University, so I chose to stay and finish my degree,” he said. “I’m very excited to start working. I hope that students can find a place that’s going to anchor them. I know it’s very hard going through college. It can be hard to keep our gaze focused on God.”

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