Deacon Cremers to be ordained a priest
May 15, 2019
For Transitional Deacon Bill Cremers, the realization of his priestly vocation came gradually, steadily encouraged by friends, family and priests, and following what might be considered a traditional path.
That path will culminate in his ordination to the priesthood by Archbishop George J. Lucas June 1 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.
As a cradle Catholic growing up in St. Anthony Parish in Columbus, the faith was always a major part of his life, he said. With his family – parents, Jim and Marlene, and sister, Carly – he attended Sunday Mass. He served and sang at Mass.
“Throughout grade school, I thought about the priesthood,” he said. “People would mention it to me because they noticed the reverence that I had at Mass.”
And his faith was nurtured by the Catholic education he received at St. Anthony Elementary School and Scotus Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School, both in Columbus.
But most of all, he saw the examples of priests modeling what spiritual fatherhood looked like.
One of those priests, Father Lydell Lape, pastor of St. Anthony at the time and now pastor of St. Mary Parish in Bellevue, was a major influence who taught him how to serve Mass and visited his grade school classes, Deacon Cremers said.
“I saw his gentleness, his humility, his joy, his honesty and ability to share the faith. Seeing how Father Dell related to parishioners and how he was a spiritual father for us began my desire to enter into that myself,” he said.
During junior and senior high school, his faith continued to grow, as did his supportive influences. Attending JC Camp, a four-day, Catholic summer camp for rural students, he made friends who also were strong in faith. Together, several formed a regular Bible study group.
While at the camp, Deacon Cremers met Father Dan Andrews, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk, who asked him if had ever considered the priesthood. “And that stirred something in me,” he said.
Deacon Cremers also met Father Jeffery Loseke at JC Camp. Father Loseke, now pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Gretna, was also chaplain at Scotus Central through his junior high school years.
“His wisdom, intelligence and joy, and his ability to present the faith … with enthusiasm and clarity … helped us grow in faith and learn there are good reasons to believe what we believe,” he said.
And through his own spiritual reading and watching EWTN television, he continued to learn more about his faith, Deacon Cremers said.
But it was the guidance of Father Andrew Roza that helped him begin to seriously consider the priesthood.
Father Roza, now associate pastor of the St. John Paul II Newman Center in Omaha and director of vocations for the archdiocese, was a teacher and chaplain at Scotus Central during Deacon Cremers’ sophomore through senior years.
“I was a teacher’s aide for him junior and senior year and I got to know him a lot more being involved in campus ministry and helping with retreats,” Deacon Cremers said.
“And he was my spiritual director my senior year, so I was able to talk with him a lot about the priesthood,” he said.
As Deacon Cremers began considering colleges, and with a growing awareness of a possible vocation, he visited Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri.
The visit was affirming as he experienced the peace and sense of brotherhood present there.
“I began praying, ‘Lord, help me to want what you want for me, and I came to realize I wanted the priesthood,” he said.
“I began considering the real possibility of going there out of high school – I really felt the Lord’s call.”
Now, as he completes his priestly studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, and mindful of the example of those influential priests who were spiritual fathers to him, he looks forward to following in their footsteps.
“God’s faithfulness throughout my life, the graces he’s given me and the relationship he’s invited me into … have helped me see the priesthood in a clearer light,” Deacon Cremers said.
“I’m excited to enter into a spiritual fatherhood, celebrating the Eucharist and confessions, and to be a leader in faith to others,” he said.
ABOUT WILLIAM CREMERS
Background: Home parish, St. Anthony, Columbus. Parents, Jim and Marlene Cremers; sister Carly Cremers, all Columbus.
Education: Scotus Central Junior/Senior High School, Columbus; Conception Seminary College, Conception, Missouri; Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis.
Activities/Ministries: Hospice, soup kitchens, pastoral duties at assigned parishes.
Summer assignments: Catholic Cemeteries, Omaha; visiting residents at nursing home in King City, Missouri, and Northwest Missouri Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center in St. Joseph, Missouri; Totus Tuus summer program; religious education at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in St. Joseph, Missouri; Institute for Priestly Formation, Omaha; pastoral ministry at Holy Cross and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishes in Omaha; youth ministry at St. Joseph Parish, Imperial, Missouri, Lifeteen group, St. Louis; Spanish summer immersion, Antigua, Guatemala; Communion calls at St. Raphael Parish in St. Louis; music ministry at the seminary and various parishes; coordinator of Nazareth Nights at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary; fifth grade religion teacher at The Immacolata Parish in St. Louis; ministry as a deacon at Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk and Immaculate Conception Parish in Union, Missouri.
Reflections on ordination: “St. John Vianney said, ‘The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus,’ and as I prepare for the priesthood, I desire to be continually conformed to Jesus’ own Sacred Heart. God has been so faithful throughout my time of formation, and I trust in his continued faithfulness as I enter parish ministry in the archdiocese. I look forward to seeing how he leads me in sharing the sacraments, especially reconciliation and the Eucharist, and leading his church in accord with our mission and vision. I ask for your continued prayers that the Holy Spirit may lead me and all priests into a deeper love for the Lord and for all of his people.”