Jesuit Fr. J.K. Adams
Jesuit Fr. J.K. Adams
A priest who served as a teacher, spiritual mentor and local superior at Jesuit High School in Portland over the course of 14 years is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his ordination.

Jesuit Father J.K. Adams often gives this advice to students: “Love everyone the way Jesus loves you.”

In 2018, the school gave Father Adams the St. Peter Canisius award, named after an effective scholar, preacher, writer and teacher.

In its citation, leaders lauded him for “serving as a role model for Catholic values” and embodying the Jesuit mission. “He will leave our community a much better place than when he arrived.”

Father Adams grew up in Great Falls, Montana, and attended Pacific Lutheran University, graduating in 1978. During college, he traveled to Africa on a Lutheran mission and made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

After returning to Montana, he went to live with his sister and met the Jesuits at St. Jude Parish in Havre. Impressed, he eventually converted to Catholicism and was hired as the church’s director of religious education. He continued to feel a draw to Jesuit life.

“The idea of ministry was already in my head, but they reinforced and solidified it,” he said. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1985 and entered the novitiate in Portland.

He earned degrees in theology and philosophy and began teaching religion at Jesuit High School in 1989. He went for advanced studies at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley then taught and worked in campus ministry at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane. He was ordained a priest at St. Aloysius Church on Gonzaga University’s campus in 1995 and spent the next five years teaching at Gonzaga Prep. He became superior of the school’s Jesuit community in 1999 and the provincial’s assistant for secondary education, all while teaching two periods each day. In 2001, Father Adams professed his final vows as a Jesuit.

He returned to Jesuit High in 2006 to teach. “I loved coming back and teaching at Jesuit,” he said. “Teaching is what God called me to do.”

In addition to teaching, he led the Knights, Jesuit’s faith formation group for young men. He attended student retreats and was chaplain on the annual 12-mile walking pilgrimage for seniors. He also was chaplain for athletic teams, including varsity football and varsity men’s lacrosse.

In 2018, he returned to Gonzaga Prep.

“I’ve enjoyed all the places that I’ve been over the years,” said Father Adams. “I’ve been able to become great friends with students and their families and with the people I meet and work with every day.”