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Rosary group opens lapsed Catholic to possibility of becoming a priest

Dylan Asmus is discerning the call to the priesthood
Vocational call: Dylan Asmus standing with St Joan of Arc’s statue outside Canali House, Herston. Photo: Joe Higgins

DYLAN Asmus always keeps a rosary in his pocket; “you never know when you’re going to need it”, he said.

Mr Asmus, 24, has joined the latest intake at Canali House in Herston where he is discerning priesthood, and credits his vocational call to a Rosary prayed at his home church Our Lady of the Way, Landsborough, in Caloundra parish.

He had been a lapsed Catholic and “perpetual university student” when he started practising his faith in August of last year.

He said like most relapsed Catholics he was hit by a wave of “super holiness” upon returning to Mass.

The local sacristan had gone on holidays and Mr Asmus was nominated by women at the church to take over, thinking that might “scratch the holiness itch” and it would be done with.

After Mass he always stayed for adoration but never went to the prayer group, except on the day he started his sacristan work because he was learning the ropes and didn’t want to seem rude.

“I sat at the back of the prayer group in a little corner at the table and was dragged to the head of the table,” he said with a laugh.

“It turned out that day they were praying for vocations.”

He remembered the group put the Holy Spirit Seminary calendar with a grid of portraits of the current seminarians in front of the group to focus their prayer intentions.

“If you look at it there’s a grid (of portraits) and there’s a space that’s blank; they couldn’t fill the whole grid out but there’s a blank space there,” Mr Asmus said.

“We prayed the Rosary and at the end of it that’s when I said in my head, ‘Okay, I can do this, I can be a priest, I want to be a priest’.”

He said he opened his eyes again and he was looking exactly at that blank spot on the grid – his spot, perhaps.

When he first said “yes”, he said he felt supreme peace.

His mum, who died in 2012, had been the “big Catholic” in his family.

“She got us baptised when we were babies, and First Communion and Confirmation,” he said.

In her stead, Mr Asmus’ dad and his two younger brothers were all supportive of his decision to discern priesthood.

Young men discerning priesthood at Canali House
First steps: Three young men Dylan Asmus, Gabriel Guillaume and Sam Lee have taken their first steps towards potential discernment of priesthood with Vocation Brisbane director Fr Stanley Orji (third from left) outside St Joan of Arc Church, beside Canali House at Herston. The three join another at Canali House and three more in the Canali program who do not live on site. Photo: Joe Higgins

The support the Landsborough church community gave was “huge”.

Mr Asmus said there was no pressure but as soon as he explained his decision, he said everyone was supporting him emotionally and spiritually.

“I don’t know if I would be here if I hadn’t got that support,” he said.

“I would have hit something and there would have been a give-up situation.

“To know that all those people are behind you and all those people there were cheering you on and praying for you, that’s probably the biggest help.”

It was his message to parishes too – support young people.

And to young people, he said “make sure God comes first”.

A lover of history, he said St Joan of Arc was someone he admired because her story of leading “an entire country’s army at the age of 16” was so nonsensical and inexplicable that God had to be behind it.

Coincidentally, the church Canali House connected onto was St Joan of Arc Church, Herston – another welcome coincidence in his vocational path.

Mr Asmus was one of four young men living in Canali House until December. They will be spending time discerning their vocational call.

The four men join three others who are in the Canali program, but do not live on site.

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