I am the second of four children of Joseph Loya (Byzantine Rite Catholic) and Anna Marie New (Roman Rite Catholic). Although the roots of my parents were located in western Pennsylvania, they relocated to the Cleveland, Ohio, area to settle and raise their family. I attended public high school and a state university, eventually attaining a B.S. degree in Engineering Physics. During my last year of college I took a summer job in an industrial factory. A narrowly avoided accident that would have taken my life generated deep thoughts about the nature and purpose of life. “Who was there to thank for my continuing existence?” “What would be the best way to live going forward?” Service to God the Creator in the ordained ministry of His Son’s Church seemed the best way to live out my fundamental sense of gratitude for all that I have been given in life. I discerned a desire for community life, as opposed to entering a diocesan seminary as my older brother had already done. But which community? After being graduated from college, I took off on a cross country jaunt westward during which I scheduled short stays with various religious communities (e.g., the O.F.M.’s in Omaha and the Dominicans in Berkeley, California).
Each community of course lived according to its unique charism. On my return trip I stopped off in Chicago for my first exposure to the Augustinian way of life. The friars I met there exhibited a seriousness about their academic studies that was nicely balanced by the ability to relax and enjoy each other in their surroundings. While choosing the Augustinians in the Midwest I became aware of the existence of the Eastern Province and its opportunities to teach at one of its institutions of higher learning.
In 1972 I entered the pre-novitiate program at Villanova, and commenced studying in the area of Philosophy, an endeavor that I did not afford myself during my undergraduate years in an engineering college. I entered the novitiate in 1973, was simply professed in 1974, and began preparation for the solemn profession and priesthood at Augustinian College in Washington D.C. I received an M.A. in Systematic Theology from the Washington Theological Union in 1978.
While in Washington I experienced a regenerated appreciation for Byzantine Christianity as my “paternal religious Tradition.” My superiors graciously and generously supported my intention to serve as a priest in this particular Eastern Rite. The ordination took place in 1979 at Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic parish in South Philadelphia. That same year I was placed with the Department of Religious Studies faculty. Holding a tenure track position necessitated obtaining a Ph.D. Toward this end, I enrolled in the History of Christianity program at Fordham University, joining the community in Jamaica, Queens, for the period of my studies. I returned to Villanova with my degree in 1986, lived at St. Denis parish in Havertown, then moved into the newly established Saxony Hall community in Rosemont on the Feast of the Transfiguration in 1996, where I currently live.