St. Aloysius Parish photoIsaac Gregg, 2, gives a red balloon to Fr. Jack Krall at St. Aloysius Church in Estacada to mark the priest's 50th anniversary.

St. Aloysius Parish photo
Isaac Gregg, 2, gives a red balloon to Fr. Jack Krall at St. Aloysius Church in Estacada to mark the priest's 50th anniversary.

In the mid-1950s, a priest at Central Catholic High School invited young Jack Krall to consider seminary. "Of course," the priest told Jack, "You'll have to give up going out with my little sister first."

It worked out and the young man became Father Krall 50 years ago this spring.

"It's been a good life," says the 76-year-old priest, who has served as a teacher and pastor. "It's been good to me. Hopefully, I've been good to it."

After ordination, Father Krall would return to his old school as a teacher, running the art department as a successor to his mentor and hero, Father John Domin.

He was a young priest amid the Second Vatican Council. "Everything was breaking open," he says of theology and liturgy. "It was a fascinating time and it made me grow."

Starting in the mid-1960s, Father Krall was a member of the archdiocese's Sacred Art Commission. He and Father Domin would accept invitations to parishes and give suggestions to pastors who wanted to renovate according to new standards.

He grew up at St. Ignatius Parish, staffed by Jesuits. His brother is a Jesuit who teaches Latin and Greek at Gonzaga University. The mother nourished the faith of their children. The father, a window glazer, had stopped practicing Catholicism but returned after his sons' ordinations.

Young Jack had entered seminary more as an exploration than as a sure thing. "It felt right to get up there and try it out," he says. He was fond of the monastic atmosphere during college years at Mount Angel, then found St. Thomas Seminary near Seattle a bit more like military school. But he endured, and then thrived and he would do it all over again.

He has learned from the people in the pews.

"They have a lot to give and the more we listen to them, the better we are," he says. "A lot of people used to think the priest should know everything. It was made clear to me in the parish that I didn't need to have all the answers."

Now retired, he enjoys helping on weekends at St. Aloysius Parish in Estacada. There, parishioners recognized his 50th jubilee on Pentecost Sunday. After the final blessing, a child walked up and gave him a celebratory red balloon.

"He is just absolutely a darling man," says Joyce Buzzard, pastoral associate at St. Aloysius. "He is a jolly, friendly person."