Is God real? Not an idea, but a real, true God? That eternal question, posed by his high school diving coach, helped trigger the journey by Rev. Dan Reim, S.J. of a life dedicated to God. Now that faith journey has led him to Saint Ignatius High School, where he serves as Vice Superior of the Jesuit Community, minister of the Spiritual Program for Adults (SPA) and in Campus Ministry.
Fr. Reim enjoys talking about his spiritual journey as well as his new duties at Saint Ignatius. Born in Cleveland Heights, Fr. Reim’s family moved to Erie, Pa when he was very young. He was the fourth oldest of 10 children. He and his brothers attended an all-boys Catholic high school in Erie, where, as a member of the swim team, he was deeply influenced by the diving coach’s question “Is God really real?”
“I was not clear on how to answer, but I knew it was an important question,” shared Fr. Reim.
With that question and all its ramifications planted in his mind, Fr. Reim traveled back to Northeast Ohio to attend John Carroll University. At the end of his freshman year, he took part in an eight-day silent, directed retreat. “It took my faith to a whole new level,” he says. He also was part of a discernment group during his sophomore year. Following that experience, Fr. Reim took his first steps toward the Society of Jesus, leaving John Carroll to begin the 13-year path to becoming a Jesuit priest. He was ordained in 1995.
His journey led him to two master degrees (counseling psychology and theology), and more than two decades working in Campus Ministry at John Carroll University and the University of Michigan.
One of the most satisfying aspects of his ministry at the University of Michigan was in coordinating service/immersion trips for the students during their Spring Breaks. Students were challenged to go out of their comfort zone and often returned transformed in their attitudes about life and faith.
After leaving the University of Michigan and spending four months studying Spanish in Mexico, he was sent to a Jesuit Hispanic parish in Chicago for two years. He began his assignment at Saint Ignatius in July 2017.
“After 20 years in college settings, I love working at the high school level,” he says. “This is a prime opportunity to help students shape their character - to help them become what God hopes for them. They are moving from a childhood level of faith to an adult level of faith.”
He adds, “There is a formative difference between believing in God and knowing and experiencing God.”
As he reflects on his own life and faith formation, Fr. Reim is struck by an important thought: “At the end of my days, there will be S.J. following my name. That is very consoling.”