The Most Rev'd James E. Bostwick was born August 14, 1949, in Watertown, Wisconsin, the son of Lawrence and Isabell (Roedl) Bostwick. He attended Queen of the Apostles Seminary, a Roman Catholic institution run by the Pallatine Fathers and Brothers, for four years and graduated in 1969, then entering the Pallatine Fathers and Brothers in Phelps, Wisconsin, where he was vested as a religious brother for a year and a half. Changes brought about by Vatican II in the Roman Catholic Church -- the turning around of the altar to face the people, communion in the hand and numerous other jolts -- forced the Archbishop to leave.
In 1972, he began to attend Holy Cross Seminary under the jurisdiction of the Old Catholic Church of America (OCCA), finding with the OCCA the traditional liturgy and teachings that had been so hastily abandoned by the Roman Catholic Church. He studied under Archbishop Walter Xavier Brown for three and a half years and was ordained to the priesthood April 10, 1976.
After ordination, the Archbishop was made pastor of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Angels in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where he remained until 1981.
Our Lady of Hope, in DeForest, Wisconsin, was opened in 1981, and the Archbishop served as pastor there.
On September 19, 1992 he was consecrated to the episcopacy by Archbishop Brown and made Bishop Coadjutor with the Right of Succession. On November 1, 1997 he was appointed Archbishop Metropolitan of the Old Catholic Church of America, and was Installed on November 1, 1997.
Over the years, His Excellency has served as a counselor in drug and alcohol abuse-related fields. Among other things, he has paid visits to nursing homes to offer Mass, has conducted a Deacon's Mass at prisons, and has been increasingly involved with the administration of the OCCA.
As the new Archbishop and Metropolitan for the Old Catholic Church of America, His Excellency has had to oversee the end of one era and the beginning of a new one. During this period of transition, increasing numbers of clergy have turned to the Archbishop for direction and incardination, and the OCCA has begun to spread, with parishes and clergy now extending all the way to South America. One of the Archbishop's primary concerns is the building of parish families, to which end much effort has been devoted.
In addition, His Excellency had led the effort to strengthen clerical formation in response to the urgent need to train and prepare priests for ministry under the OCCA.
One of His Excellency's goals for the future has been to ensure that all clergy within the OCCA have an ability to use the same Missal when offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Years of effort have gone into preparation of just such a Missal. The Archbishop would also like to see the growth of parish families and the strengthening of ties among the clergy, many of whom are spread out geographically and thus sometimes feel "left out" of the life of the Church.
As we move into a new Millennium, His Excellency has been increasingly turning to the use of technology to do the Lord's work, making heavy use of the Internet and the OCCA web site to facilitate contact and the dissemination of information. Such tools allow the OCCA to respond better to the needs of the faithful, the clergy and seminarians in formation.
The Archbishop's motto is The Love of Christ Urges Us On. As those who have had contact with the Archbishop can testify, it is a suitable motto for this gentle, compassionate man devoted to the needs of the Church and to the bringing of spiritual solace to the faithful. In all that the OCCA does, the Archbishop makes certain that is the "love of Christ" that motivates, making the OCCA a safe haven for those who turn to it.
His Excellency went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in March of 2009. We will always remember him with love and gratitude as our friend and shepherd.