Before joining the Missionaries of God’s Love Deacon Adam Crouch, 36 was a carpenter and captain of the footy team. Now he’s six months away from being ordained a priest. While his journey hasn’t always been easy: battling brain cancer, depression and study – some things haven’t changed, namely his knowledge that God loves, a desire to help, and a love of sport.
Q: What lead you to religious life?
A: Footy. When I was captaining a country footy team some of the guys were going through tough times – being beaten up by family members, drugs and trouble with girls and they were looking to me for advice. I found my faith was keeping me strong and I wanted to help others. So I started doing more work around the local parish – it was then I felt “The Call”.
Admittedly when I told the footy boys I was going to be a priest they were shocked but they still respected me.
Q: What drew you to the Missionaries of God’s Love?
A: I was at a Disciples of Jesus Summer School playing sport with the MGL priests and brothers and I really made a connection. This was reinforced by their preaching and the way the guys lived.
Q: Four years ago you battled brain cancer – what were some of the challenges?
A: Over a two-year period I had radiation therapy, chemotherapy and two operations: I became quite depressed. They had to shave my head for surgery, I put on weight from treatment, and I wasn’t able to do much. For a while I thought: “Stuff it God; I’m turning into an fat, bald, disabled man.”
Before this I was really fit and capable so I was sulking. I needed to make a decision to live and if I was going to live I wanted to be a priest who helps people.
Q: What helped with your recovery?
A: People encouraging me and challenging me. Listening to the people who loved me and specialists was important. It took a while for me to decide I wanted God to heal me. Once I had made the choice my vocation was reaffirmed and the brain tumour kind of took care of itself.
I’ve been in recovery for two years and made my final vows – I’m committed for life.
Q: What does day-to-day life entail?
A: MGLs are contemplatives in action, that means we have extended times of silence as well as times of active service. I really enjoy helping the homeless and working in prisons. These people are my friends: I share with them I know what it’s like to stuff things up, get into trouble, and that God loves me.
As a Deacon in a parish I serve at mass, preach, and assist with the Disciples of Jesus Community for gatherings and Sabbath meals. I’m also finishing studies at uni in the lead-up-to ordination.
There’s also sport; at the moment I play soccer, swim and go walking.
Living in community with MGL brothers I’ve learned people really care. This has been instrumental to my healing.
Growing up family life wasn’t always easy and footy was very competitive; the brothers have shown me a different way to live.
Q: What sort of priest do you want to be?
A: I pray for priestly gifts: communicating God’s love, genuinely liking people, increasing in holiness, knowing Jesus and growing in faith.
I want to help people, particularly men going through depression: I can talk footy, I know what it’s like to be angry – and that God loves.
I want to be a man who is a respected leader and fosters more vocations.
We need more vocations in Brisbane and across Australia.
Please pray for vocations. If you are discerning don’t worry if you’re scared – you can still be called.
I’m so happy to be called to this vocation – it’s an adventure.
Q: How can people support you and the MGLs?
A: In Brisbane there is a MGL Spiritual Association. They support us through prayer, sponsorship-finances, and friendship. These lay people inspire me with their faithfulness: daily mass, rosary, adoration, and intercession.
The Association has also been instrumental in helping overseas MGLs feel at home in Australia – they treat many of us like family.
MGLs live providentially so it’s a great blessing when people of faith share their life, which sometimes includes holidays.
If you would like to more about the MGL Spiritual Association contact email@example.com
On October 7, 2016 Adam Crouch, will be ordained a priest with the Missionaries of God’s Love – Australia’s fastest growing religious order. If you would like to know more about MGLs see www.mglpriestsandbrothers.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Clare Burns