Faith elevates Assumption grad’s career goals

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Dixie Whitty
Grant Whitty stands outside the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington’s chancery building. Whitty currently serves the Spokane Diocese as director of Catholic media.

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

Grant Whitty used to dream of traveling throughout North America as a ski photographer. “I wanted to live in a van and photograph things,” he recalls.

After graduating in 2015 from Assumption High School in Davenport and moving to Colorado, his dreams seemed as close as the snow-capped mountains. While studying journalism and media communications at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Whitty started building a name for himself in the creative side of the ski industry.

The closer he came to his dream, however, he felt God pulling him away. Last year, Whitty, 25, began using his multimedia skills to serve the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, as director of Catholic media. “I’m the one-man band of the communications department,” he explained.

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Whitty’s journey to the West Coast began 10 years ago when his older sister, Emma, encouraged him to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis. The cradle Catholic stopped going through the motions and began to seek a personal relationship with Christ. “When I walked into the stadium I saw all of these joyful people. I didn’t have that kind of joy,” he said. NCYC “started the adventure of me figuring out who Jesus was in my life,” he said.

The adventure continued in college as he built relationships with young adult FOCUS missionaries on campus and began leading Bible studies. FOCUS is a Catholic collegiate outreach whose mission is to share the hope and joy of the Gospel with college and university students. Each year, approximately 800 FOCUS missionaries are sent in teams to serve at 180 college campuses at the invitation of the local bishop and with the support of the local campus ministry.

Whitty also enjoyed participating in eucharistic adoration and being part of the lively Catholic community on campus. “The spark (of faith) was set back home … but it excelled in college. I was more mature at the time and could take it more seriously,” he explained. College “was my time to be real with Jesus … he became more real to me and that affected how I experienced Mass and the Catholic community.”

Whitty felt torn as graduation drew near. He was chipping away at his dreams, but unhappy. “I had encountered Christ and desired to live a life that was oriented toward him.” He initially rejected an offer to become a FOCUS missionary, but had second thoughts after spending time in prayer and changed his mind. He served the organization for about three years, first as a missionary and later as a team leader.

In early 2022, Whitty began to feel an inexplicable pull toward the Spokane area. “I felt a draw that I couldn’t describe. I took it to prayer and the perfect job came weeks later.” He and his wife, Dixie, moved to Spokane that summer. “There is a strong young adult community here, lots of young families,” he said. The Whittys welcomed their first child, Hazel, in December.

In his new role, Whitty maintains Inland Catholic’s news website, writes press releases and manages the diocesan social media pages. He relaunched the diocese’s magazine, noting that an online-only approach is not ideal — even for young adults who grew up with internet-based news. “It can be easy to come out of a journalism program where almost everything was digital” and assume that people don’t want print media, “but there is no set rule on how to reach someone.”

Whitty no longer dreams of living in a van but does hope to take his family to the nearby ski slopes someday. “We (he and his wife) do desire to have a van and camp, but I don’t think it would be a lifestyle, we still like our house,” he quipped. “We just hope to have it for family adventures.”


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