By Jessica Easthope
Deacon Dragan Pusic has waited his entire life to get to this point, and later this month he’ll be ordained a priest.
“To recognize the call it took me long. 42 years to recognize a call for the priesthood,” Deacon Dragan explained. “It’s something that forms slowly in some people, and I’m a kind of late vocation, as you would say.”
Growing up in Croatia, a mostly Catholic country, Deacon Dragan doesn’t know a life without the Church. Commitment to God runs in his family.
“There are several priests in my family and a religious sister who served here in Manhattan lifelong,” he explained.
For for most of his life, the priesthood never entered his mind — he imagined something much different.
“I didn’t wish to be a priest and I planned to marry, have a wife and lots of children,” Deacon Dragan said.
But God had another plan for Deacon Dragan, looking back he believes the seed was planted long before he even realized.
“A missionary priest was coming to our parish from Africa and I was begging my brother to take me to the talk, so from that early moment I was interested in those things, and I didn’t know why,” Deacon Dragan said.
Part of his early involvement in the Church revolved around his first love: music.
“When I was 16 I was in the church band, at that time rock and roll was really popular in the church,” Dragan said.
Deacon Dragan says church gave him an outlet to showcase his talents on the guitar, so he kept coming back.
“Guitar is my love and a refuge in moments of difficulty,” he told Currents News. “Guitar for me, it’s difficult to explain. When you touch the strings, there’s a special feeling.”
Decades after his old church band members went their separate ways, Deacon Dragan still plays, now for the others serving with him at Most Precious Blood Church in Astoria, Queens.
As a priest, Deacon Dragan says he’s hoping to draw young people into the Church by giving them a purpose, just like he had in his church band.
“To help young people today to stay in the Church, you have to give them work to feel useful, like we need them,” he said.
As Deacon Dragan takes his final steps toward a religious life, is he excited? No.
“It’s not that I am not excited, I am just in perfect peace with what I am doing now,” Deacon Dragan said.
Now, God is the song in his heart.