Fr. Jeff Calia, C.O., Parochial Vicar
I was born in 1980 and grew up in Hazlet, NJ, where I graduated from Raritan High School. My wonderful parents, Ruth and Jerry, taught me by example to be respectful and compassionate towards others. As an only child, I was always comfortable around my elders and very close to my family. From my maternal grandparents I received two special gifts – from my Grandma, a devout Lutheran, the seeds of faith, and from my Grandpa, a lifelong interest in auto racing. Always interested in music, I played clarinet in various ensembles during high school, and for one season with the Rutgers Marching Band. I was also a competitive bowler, with a 200 average during my last season in 1997-98.
As an undergraduate at Rutgers, I was introduced to the Catholic faith by my girlfriend and her family. Attending Mass with them and participating in community service activities at the Catholic Center helped me to find a true spiritual home in the Catholic community, and after participating in the RCIA I was received into the Church at the Easter Vigil on April 14, 2001. By the time I graduated from Cook College in 2002 with a BS in Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behaviors, I was beginning to consider a vocation to priesthood and community life. I was profoundly affected by the work of the Oratorians in campus ministry and by the experience of community at the Catholic Center, especially in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. While working on campus as a research aide, I spent time in discernment with the Oratorian community, and in August of 2004 I left my job to enter the novitiate of the Oratory.
I studied for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, NJ. When I completed my studies, I was ordained by Bishop Bootkoski on May 29, 2010 and have been serving at St. Peter’s Parish as full-time Parochial Vicar since then. Having come full circle, I now direct the RCIA process in our parish! In my spare time, I enjoy serving as an occasional chaplain for the Verizon IndyCar Series, and have served at races in Milwaukee, Baltimore, Pocono, and Toronto.
Being a priest is very interesting and challenging. No two days are alike, and you never know what you might encounter next! I feel privileged to have been called to be a part of the Oratory and to serve the Lord and His Church as a priest, and I seek to imitate in some small way the pastoral zeal and compassion of the founder of the Oratory, St. Philip Neri. The Lord has given me the great gift of sharing in His love for His people (cf. Psalm 16), and it is a joy to serve the wonderful people of St. Peter’s Parish.