Trinity congratulates Father Dave Zettel ’58! Fr. Dave will be honored at the 2017 Salute to Catholic School Alumni celebration sponsored by the Catholic Education Foundation. The event will be held on Tuesday, March 14 at the Galt House Hotel. Below is the biography for Fr. Dave. Trinity is PROUD of you, and we thank you for your abiding service.
Father Dave Zettel, a product of our local Catholic schools, has devoted his entire life and ministry to Catholic school education.
Born and raised in Louisville, Father Dave graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Elementary School and Trinity High School (a member of the second graduating class). As a Trinity student, Father Dave participated in a variety of activities, especially The ECHO newspaper and The Shamrock yearbook.
He enrolled in St. Mary’s Seminary and University, in Baltimore, and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville in 1966. He earned a graduate degree from Spalding University and took graduate level courses at Georgetown University and the University of Louisville.
Upon assignment from Archbishop John Floersh, he returned to Trinity to work as teacher, counselor and assistant principal. He retired in 2012 after 46 consecutive years of service. At the time of his Trinity Hall of Fame induction, he was the longest-serving priest, college counselor and senior class moderator in school history.
He has served on Trinity’s School Board since its inception in 1980. He served ably and devotedly to the convents of the Mercy and Ursuline communities. He is a leader among his brother priests and has made presentations at their Presbyteral Assemblies.
After retiring, Father Dave has remained resident chaplain at Trinity and works closely with the school’s Campus Ministry Office in areas involving prayer, public worship and retreats. He still says Mass each day before classes begin in the school’s Chapel.
In 1974, Father Dave co-founded Trinity’s Christian Awakening Senior Retreat program, which is still in use today. Thousands of Trinity alumni recall their Senior Retreat as pivotal in helping them to more deeply explore their faith and relationships with God and people.
In 1987, Father Dave received the Alumni Association’s prestigious Honor Alumnus Award, presented to graduates who distinguish themselves in their professional life, demonstrate values and ideals taught at Trinity, and maintain a strong loyalty to their alma mater.
In 2000, he received an award from his brother priests for outstanding pastoral service.
In 2011 he was a St. Matthews Area Chamber of Commerce Community Pride Service Award recipient.
In the past decade Father Dave has been a pastoral minister to many embroiled in addiction and alcohol abuse, borne out of his own journey in recovery.
Father Dave has been a pastoral minister to thousands of Trinity students, alumni, co-workers and community members. He answered the call from the Lord. He taught. He served. He counseled. He ministered. His work continues.