Home Diocesan News Deacon Zachary Coulter: ‘Excited to go and get to work’
Deacon Zachary Coulter: ‘Excited to go and get to work’ Print E-mail
Written by Pete Sheehan   
Friday, 16 June 2017 14:23

Deacon Zachary Coulter feels that he was called to the priesthood, but he doesn’t think that he is anything special.

“God uses normal people,” Deacon Coulter said as he prepared for ordination to the priesthood. He and Deacon Scott Kopp (see related story, this page) will be ordained by Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., at 10:30 a.m. June 17 in St. Columba Cathedral, Youngstown.

“No matter where you are in life, God can use you,” Deacon Coulter said. He reflected on his life and calling in a recent interview at Scarsella’s Restaurant, Boardman.

He was one of nine children born to Dan and Kim Coulter. His father runs a livestock website which sells alpacas and his mother is a special education teacher in Bristol. He grew up in Stow, Ohio, and had a combination of Catholic, public, and homeschooling.

In 2000, his family moved to North Jackson. For seventh- and eighth-grade, he attended Austintown St. Joseph School and progressed to Youngstown Ursuline High School. “Ursuline was a good community with a lot of extracurricular activities. I was involved in theater and the speech team.”

He first got a sense that he might have a calling to the priesthood during his senior year in high school, when he visited his older brother who a student at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

“I didn’t really tell anyone about it for two or three years,” Deacon Coulter said, but he followed his brother to Steubenville, began his studies, and kept thinking about his vocation.

“At Steubenville it got more serious,” Deacon Coulter said, commenting that the university, known for its Catholic identity, proved a good venue for his discernment. “There was a real emphasis on prayer and others interested in a priestly vocation. It wasn’t weird to want to become a priest. It was normal.”

After his third year at Steubenville, Deacon Coulter said, he transferred to the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus to begin his formal studies for the priesthood. “By the time I got into the seminary, I knew that was where God was calling me,” he said.

“The Josephinum was an adjustment because, as a seminary, it had a more formal structure.” Still he adjusted and after two years he graduated and went on to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati for his advanced theological studies.

He took the usual break after his second year to serve his parish internship year at Ravenna Immaculate Conception Parish. “It was a good year. I got to go out and work on RCIA and Bible studies. Father William Kraynak, the pastor, was very good at inviting me along for hospital calls and his other duties.”

After his fourth year, he was ordained a deacon. “It was great to begin actually doing things that a priest does,” helping out during the summer at Immaculate Conception and on weekends at parishes in the Cincinnati area. He has baptized babies, presided over a burial service and other funeral services, and preached at Mass.

“I also had the opportunity to baptize three of my nieces and nephews,” Deacon Coulter said.

Now that he has graduated from Mount St. Mary’s and completed his studies and formation, Deacon Coulter is looking forward to his ordination.

“I’m excited to go and get to work,” he said, “to get into the trenches and do what I have been training to do for the last few years and to be with the people who need me.”


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