Jesuit Father Ted Kalamaja has spent the past 25 years of his life working in a New Orleans prison and said he has loved every minute of it.
It’s a ministry he discovered during a sabbatical in Berkeley, Calif. Fr. Kalamaja said he was thinking about what he wanted to do and when he went to a prison it hit him: “There was this huge mess hall and there were all these inmates sitting there in blue denim. I knew then that this was the reason I was brought there. I could minister to these men because there was nothing between me and these inmates. I had free access and felt they needed me.”
It began as a six-week stint as a chaplain to the prison and became his calling.
Today Kalamaja is a chaplain at the New Orleans Parish Prison, where he said, “There has never been any trouble or violence in the prison for me. These are just poor, poor people and our culture has ripped them off.”
There are only two things that can keep these young men out of prison: “their family and the church,” Kalamaja said.
Read more about Kalamaja and his prison ministry at the Wisconsin Province website.