Biography of our founder, His Beatitude, Mar Ignatius Alexander I, Patriarch Emeritus
and The Evolution of the Old Catholic Apostolic Church of the Americas
TheArgentinian Years and the Move to Britain
His Beatitude was born on July 24, 1944 in Santa Fe, Argentina. His religious education started as a child attending Catholic schools and continued throughout his young adulthood.
His Beatitude graduated from the Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina in 1970 with a B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering (Ingeniero QuÃmico). Shortly afterward, His Beatitude relocated to the British Isles to pursue a graduate degree and in 1974, he graduated with a M.S. in Advanced Chemical Engineering from the University of Londonâ€™s Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine, London, United Kingdom. Two years later, in 1976, he completed his dissertation in Catalysis which earned him his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and the following year his dissertation won the â€œArmstrong Medal and Prizeâ€ for the best research work in the application of scientific principles to problems of industrial importance.
The American Years
In 1977, His Beatitude emigrated to the United States and his career began as a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the City University of New York and continued there until 1986 when he transitioned to the private sector and worked for a major international marketer of industrial gases. He continued in this work until 2002 and has been granted 24 patents and has numerous published works both in academia and in the private sector. His Beatitude returned to academia and is currently an Associate Dean and Professor of Computer Science at a major university.
His Beatitude has been listed in:
â€¢ Who is Who in Frontiers of Science and Technology, a Marquis Publication (1985).
â€¢The International Directory of Distinguished Leadership, American Biographical Institute, 1stEd., (1986).
â€¢Men of Achievement, 12th Ed., (Cambridge, England 1987).
The Seminary and Ordination Years
During his busy work and travel schedule where he would present lectures on various topics numerous times per year, His Beatitude, attended a private theological seminary under the tutelage of His Excellency, The Most Rev. Lewis S. Keizer in Santa Cruz, California. On 20 February, 1994, he was ordained to the office of Deacon by the Most Rev. J.C. Catherine Adams and subsequently was ordained to the office of the Presbyterate on 26 June 1994 by the Most Rev. Lewis S. Keizer. Then, on 14 May 1995, in Hygiene, Colorado, his Beatitude was consecrated to fullness of the Priesthood and ordained a bishop by the Most Rev. Lewis S. Keizer, Consecrator; The Most Rev. Warren Smith, Co-Consecrator; The Most Rev. Steve Rydell, Co-Consecrator; The Most Rev. Margery Smith, Co-Consecrator; and the Most Rev. Susan De Astris, Co-Consecrator.
His beatitudeâ€™s episcopacy was, in part, mainly focused in South and Central America as he travelled there frequently to perform various ordinations and consecrations and administer the sacraments. In the United States, he ministered to the Spanish speaking population and held Masses in Spanish throughout the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania areas.
The Infrastructure Years and Beginnings of a New Church
While His Beatitude delighted in his role as Episcopus Vagans (Traveling Bishop), as it applied to Independent Successors of the Apostles and their chosen successors who traveled as missionaries far and wide to teach the Gospel of Jesus, he felt that a more structured approach was needed to keep the flames of Christ alive within all those lost souls he was asked to help. So, on 14 July, 2001, His Beatitude incardinated with the Old Catholic Orthodox Church and was appointed Primate of All Central and South America by the then Acting Primate, The Most Rev. Leland J. Lannoye. He continued to make frequent trips to the various countries of the Latin, Central, and South Americas until 2006 when he felt that the churchâ€™s direction was beginning to move from a more inclusive nature to a very exclusive and restrictive one. So, being guided by the Holy Spirit and along with his protÃ©gÃ©, The Rev. Fr. Michael Oâ€™Donnell, he formed the Old Catholic Apostolic Church of the Americas and became its Patriarch and appointed Father Oâ€™Donnell as the Vicar Forane and personal assistant to him. He still continues celebrating Mass in smaller settings but travels to South, Central, and Latin Americas, less frequently, due to health reasons.
In 2009, after Father Oâ€™Donnell informed him that one of the local Old Catholic parishes was having some theological differences with their leadership, His Beatitude offered his support and, after prayerful consideration and reflection on both sides, incardinated St. Jude parish in Bethlehem under his church. While Mar Ignatius has appointed his various clergy to positions in South, Central, and Latin America, he did not have the ecclesial infrastructure in place in North America where it was most needed. Therefore, His Beatitude knew that with his increasing work schedule and his continuing health issues, another Shepherd was needed to conduct the day-to-day activities of this portion of the church. So, on 29 October 2009, by the grace of God, The Rev. Fr. Julius L. Licata was elevated to the episcopacy and made an Auxiliary Bishop.
Bishop Julius made such wonderful headway and continues to lead the growing flock that on 9 February 2010, His Beatitude once again elevated Bishop Julius to the Archiepiscopacy with the Title of Archbishop-Primate of All North America. His Beatitude now allows His Grace, Julius, to act on his behalf with the clergy and parishes within the United States, Canada, and Mexico and His Beatitude continues to work with the clergy in Central, Latin, and South America and, due to possible language barriers, shares the responsibility of Mexico with His Grace.
Our church continues to grow and we have recently incardinated several more clergy and an entire parish, Saint Miriamâ€™s parish, in Blue Bell, PA. Through our continuation of following in our Divine Saviorâ€™s message: ""As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."" (Jn 13: 34-35), we shall be a church for all peoples!