TRAVERSE CITY — For 27 years, Jerry Micketti did what priests do.
He said Mass. Presided over weddings and baptisms. Ministered to the grieving. Gave last rites to the dying. Listened when parishioners needed to talk.
And then, he stopped.
In 2011, Micketti left the priesthood after coming to the realization the year before that he didn’t want to do it anymore. It wasn’t an easy decision, coming after several years of soul searching, meetings with the bishop and taking some time off to think it all through.
In the end, he said, it was the only decision he could make.
“I never doubted my faith in God,” said Micketti, now 64, who was pastor at Christ the King in Acme when he left. “That’s never been an issue.
“It was just, I’ve got too many questions, and I don’t have enough answers. I did my homework, and I just realized I couldn’t honestly do it anymore. That’s when I knew it was time to quit.”
Growing up in Rogers City, Micketti said he was probably in grade school when the notion of becoming a priest first crossed his mind.
After graduating from high school, he went to college and came out just in time to expect to be drafted for the Vietnam war. Instead of waiting, he enlisted in the Navy, spending six years in the service — though by that time it was a peacetime Navy and he didn’t have to face combat.
After being discharged, he decided to attend seminary. When it came time to be ordained, he just kept going.
“At the time, I could honestly say this is really what I was supposed to be doing,” he said. “When kids used to ask me (why he became a priest), I usually gave them the answer Pope John Paul II used to give, and that is, ‘It’s what God intended me to do.’ And I still believe that’s why I was there.