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March 13, 2024 – Fr. James J. Bowes, SJ, was born on Oct. 11,1935, in Waterbury, Conn. He met the Society at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati. It was there where he spent his first two years of high school, and then transferred and graduated from the Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, N.Y. Upon graduation in 1953, he entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He took his first vows as a Jesuit there in 1955 and then moved to Bellarmine College in Plattsburgh, N.Y., for his juniorate studies. He did his philosophy studies at Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, N.Y. (1957-60), and then taught Latin, Greek and speech at McQuaid Jesuit in Rochester, N.Y. (1960-63).

Having completed his regency at McQuaid, Fr. Bowes moved on to Woodstock College, Md., for Theology studies (1963-67). He was ordained in the Church at Canisius College on June 9, 1966, by Bishop Pius Benincasa. Fr. Bowes coordinated and ran the first HAP program in Buffalo during the summers of 1966 &1967. After Woodstock Fr. Bowes did his tertianship at St Bueno’s in Wales, and then went to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., where he earned an MA in classics in 1969.

For the next 19 years (1969-1988) Fr. Bowes worked on behalf of the New York Province High Schools apostolate: a year at Fordham Prep teaching Latin, Greek and theology (1969-70); two years as principal at Regis High School in Manhattan (1970-72); three years as assistant principal and theology teacher at Canisius High School in Buffalo, N.Y. (1972-75); a year at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City as an assistant principal and theology teacher (1975-76); it was at St. Peter’s that Fr. Bowes took his final vows on his 40th birthday. After Jersey City Fr. Bowes spent three years in the Provincial’s Office as coordinator of secondary schools (1976-79). In his free time during these years, Fr. Bowes worked on and earned an MA in religious education from Seattle University in Washington State which equipped him well to teach theology for the next nine years at Xavier High School in New York City (1979-88).

In 1988 Fr. Bowes began his 20 years of international apostolic ministry, first in Micronesia and then for the international houses of Rome. Fr. Bowes spent eight years (1988-96) at Xavier High School in Chuuk, first as an assistant to the director of the school and then as a teacher of English, religion, writing skills and Micronesian studies, and topped it off with short stint as pastor of San Jose Parish in Saipan. At this time Micronesia was part of the East Asian Assistancy of the Society of Jesus, and Fr. Bowes was tapped for the job of Secretary to Father General’s Assistant for East Asia. Then he was off to Rome for the next five years (1996-2004). At the end of his assignment as secretary, but still within the clutches of Rome, Jim was appointed the Superior of the Vatican Observatory’s small Jesuit Community in Tucson, Arizona, where he was treasurer and guest master as well (2004-08).

After four years in Tucson, Fr. Bowes moved back to New York City to be treasurer of the Immaculate Conception and Xavier Jesuit Community (2008-12). Fr. Bowes’s penultimate assignment was to St. Michael’s Parish in Buffalo, N.Y., as associate pastor (2012-19). After seven years at St. Michael’s he came back to New York in 2019 to the province healthcare center at Murray-Weigel Hall on the Fordham University Campus in the Bronx.

At Murray-Weigel he continued to engage in the things that he loved, like classical music and opera, and to satisfy his curiosity about what was going on in the Church and the world. You could rely on him to be up to date on the latest Vatican news.

As time went on Fr. Bowes grew frailer and frailer and moved slower and slower. After a two-week hospitalization Fr. Bowes gave up his spirit to the Lord on March 9, 2024. He was 88. Fr. Bowes was a dedicated Jesuit, ready to do whatever the Society asked him to do. May he rest in peace.