Service to the Church
New St. Cloud Bishop Is a Johnnie Recently appointed St. Cloud Bishop Donald Kettler is a graduate of SJU and Saint John’s School of Theology • Seminary
ishop Donald Kettler had a bird’s-eye view of the modern-day Catholic Church while attending Saint John’s University and Saint John’s School of Theology • Seminary from 1964-70. Kettler, who was named bishop of the St. Cloud Diocese on Sept. 20, was an undergraduate student at SJU for the latter half of the Second Vatican Council, which ran from 1962-65 in Rome. He says it was a “blessing” coming to SJU during the Council. “It was during Vatican Council II, and it was an extremely important experience to be able to hear about Vatican Council II firsthand,” says Kettler, who graduated from SJU in 1966 and the School of Theology • Seminary in 1970. While an undergraduate, Kettler was taught by Benedictine Fathers Godfrey Diekmann, Michael Marx and Colman Barry, who was president of SJU from 1964-71. Fr. Godfrey had a leadership role as a theological adviser with the Council in the drafting and implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. “They actually taught classes then,” Kettler says of the three. “They would go to the Council in the fall, and
come back and teach courses in the spring. That was an unbelievable experience. “However, I also wish that I would have appreciated it a little bit more than I did at the time. Now, I appreciate it more than I did, even then.” Kettler, who served as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska, before being appointed by Pope Francis to come to the St. Cloud Diocese, was very much interested in intramural sports while attending Saint John’s. “Any time that I could, I was involved at Saint John’s in intramural basketball, intramural softball. Part of that was the opportunity to play these sports with college students,” says Kettler. “It wasn’t just intra-seminary stuff. That’s how I got to know a number of priests of the Diocese of St. Cloud. Oftentimes, they would come out on their days off, and we’d have a touch football, basketball, softball game together. Actually, I remember the priests best from that experience, rather than the more formal stuff. I tell people that the athletic side was pretty important at the time.” Kettler says there were two sides to his spiritual formation at Saint John’s.