Bishop-elect James R. Golka was born Sept. 22, 1966 in Grand Island, Nebraska, the fourth of 10 children born to Robert and Patricia Golka. He graduated from Grand Island Central Catholic High School and attended Creighton University from 1985-89, where he earned degrees in philosophy and theology.
He served as a Jesuit lay missionary volunteer for the Native American Missions in South Dakota from 1989-1990 before entering St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota, where he received both a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Sacramental Theology. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Grand Island on June 3, 1994, by Bishop Lawrence McNamara.
He has served as a parochial vicar and pastor in various parishes. He has served the Grand Island diocese in various capacities: Director of Ongoing Formation of Clergy, Director of Diocesan Youth Retreats, Chair of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commission, Chair of the Personnel Board, member of the Diocesan Finance Council, the Presbyteral Council, and the Pension Board. He also serves as a member of the school board for Grand Island Central Catholic schools.
Bishop-elect Golka has worked with national consultants to better help parishes develop stewardship as a way of life. He has offered numerous retreats across the country, preaching the blessings of ordering our lives in recognition that all we are and all we have is a gift from God. A guiding scripture passage is Psalm 116:12 which proclaims: “How can I repay the LORD for all the great good done for me?”
Bishop-elect Golka has also served as a member of the Diocesan College of Consultors, the Vicar General for the Diocese of Grand Island and as rector and pastor of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.