Name: Don Kremer
Parish: St. Joseph Church
Family: Late wife Cherie, who died in 2015; four children
Education: Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, General Motors Institute, 1976; master’s degree in business administration, Michigan State University, 1978; master’s degree in theological studies, University of Dallas, 2014; doctorate of ministry, Fordham University, 2022
Why you want to know Don Kremer: For the past 20 years, Don Kremer has been working to make the world a better place by bringing people closer to God. The cradle Catholic is a member of the Mission Committee and organized the first community volunteer day for the parish this spring. He taught religion at St. Joseph School for a year and has taught a variety of adult faith formation courses. Kremer taught at the former Little Rock Theology Institute at the Diocese of Little Rock for three years and became a certified spiritual director in 2016. He helps coordinate spiritual direction formation for the diocese with director Father Daniel Velasco. In October, Kremer began teaching theology courses at St. Joseph that mirrored the former theology institute classes. He retired from Axiom in 2015.
What feeds you spiritually?
One of the things that really made a difference in my life was the adoration chapel. Back in the days that my wife was going downhill and I was going through some struggles, I started going to the adoration chapel during the day when I was working over at Axiom. And it was there where I kind of rediscovered God. I’ve struggled because my kids, like so many other kids, have left the Church after they went to college. So I've been struggling over time as to what does that mean? So that kind of led me down the path of learning more about my faith, getting involved in catechesis for kids and working at the school.
Why did you decide to teach theology courses at St. Joseph?
I felt called to do it. I felt it was a vocation to do this. I have lots of discussions with the Holy Spirit, especially about “What am I supposed to be doing in life?” When I got my doctorate, my thesis was on my kids deciding not to stay with the Church. And so it wasn't on how do I bring the kids back to the Church, but how has that affected my own faith journey? So many parents whose kids have left the church struggle with their own faith. “Well, if it's not good enough for my kids, why am I even sticking around?” So at first we had to confront that kind of stuff and really clarified to me what my own faith was. And as part of that process, my dissertation was basically about that: What kind of impact did my children leaving the Church have on me as a Catholic? And part of that discernment, and along with Ignatian spirituality, was that I felt called to do classes.
What is your best advice for Catholics about living their faith?
I think the best advice is actually living the faith. What are you going to do to make the world a better place? We debate about, “Well, do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins? Do you accept Jesus as your personal Savior?” Which are all important decisions to have, but I think maybe the best way to get that is, “What are you doing to make the world a better place?” And, “What are you doing to raise the level of hope in the world?” Because I feel like we live in a world that has lost all hope. One of the ways to find God is through what is your vocation for bringing hope into the world in whatever way you can. I think that's even a better way to find God than studying theology or the rosary or going to Mass.
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