Fr. Loyola Amalraj talks about himself.
In May 1981 I was ordained a priest of the diocese of Coimbatore, India and served as Associate and Pastor for nine years. In the last four of the nine years my ministry was mainly and intensely concerned with the formation of the youth as Youth Director when I felt the need for training in Counseling. So in 1990 I came to the US enrolling for my graduate studies at Marquette University, a Jesuit school in Milwaukee, WI. In the Department of Education I took a Master’s in Counseling and a doctorate in Counseling with a minor in Clinical Psychology graduating in 1999.
In my research I investigated how contemplative prayer exercises affected human body and mind. In my psychological understanding I was awed to realize that praying contemplatively affected the brain hemispheres and the central nervous system creating in one a state of calm and deep relaxation in body and mind and leading one farther to a state beyond. I examined the mystical traditions from Shamanism, the Royal Yoga of Hinduism, Buddhism, Kabbalah from Judaism, Christian Mysticism and Sufism from Islam. The study enabled me to capture a psychological and spiritual theory which flowed from the practices of many of these prayer practices.
In 2002 the Edwin Mellen Press published my findings of the doctoral dissertation as a book titled “The Place of Mental Imagery in Physical, Psychological and Spiritual Healing: Perspectives from Religious and Mystical Traditions,” marketing it for worldwide university libraries in over 60 countries. In 2010 the same Press published another of my book titled, “How to Experience the Spiritual Meaning of the Gospel Texts,” solely focusing on how to practice Christian contemplative prayer methods and their impact on gospel reflections.
In 2004 I offered a graduate course as an adjunct faculty in the Department of Religious Studies at Fordham University in the Bronx, NY using my first book as the text. Since then I have offered a number of presentations and seminars in retreat Centers, churches and hospitals in NY and New York on theory and practice of contemplative prayer; to many college students in India and schools in the US on how to learn to focus the mind through prayer exercises; in a number of parishes in India and the US about how to pray contemplatively to calm and relax and move beyond to the soul. To date during my vacation in New Zeleand in February 2020 I made several presentations to different groups of parishioners in St. Therese Parish in Three Kings, Auckland on how to pray contemplatively to experience calm and relaxation and move beyond to a state to be set free from obsessions, compulsions and addictions of life.
In May 2021 I will be priest for 40 years. I lived in Milwaukee for 12 years mostly as a student and a help out priest. I have also served in NY Archdiocese for 9 years as Associate Pastor while doing presentations, teaching and writing. Since 2011 I have been serving in Milwaukee Archdiocese in Wisconsin and I got incardinated (fully belonging to) as priest of the Archdiocese since 2013. I served as Pastor in St. Boniface Parish for 7 years since June 2011 and since June 2018, I serve as Pastor of two parishes: St. James in Mukwonago for nearly 1,200 families and St. Theresa in Eagle for nearly 500 families.