James was born and raised in Seattle, among a large extended family. His immediate family includes his parents, Nemy and Ruby, and two sisters, Joyce and Janice. James went to Catholic schools his entire childhood but encountered the Jesuits when he went off to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, as an undergrad. There, he studied mathematics and was involved in the Office of College Chaplains and Pax Christi. It was at Holy Cross that seeds of a religious vocation started to germinate. After college, James moved back to Seattle and worked for a year for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center but felt a call to volunteer work. He joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and volunteered for a year in Nashville, Tennessee, for the nonprofit Project Return, working with formerly incarcerated people. After Nashville, James did a second year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in Portland, Oregon, for the nonprofit Operation Nightwatch, working with people experiencing homelessness. Following that year in Portland, with some help from his spiritual director, James applied and entered the Society of Jesus at the novitiate in Culver City, California, in 2012. As a novice, he had experiences in rural Montana on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and in the Philippines with Casa Bayanihan, a University of San Francisco study abroad program. James earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Saint Louis University in 2016 and taught math for two years at Seattle Preparatory School for his regency. He also spent six months in Guadalajara, Mexico, studying Spanish before the COVID-19 pandemic. He received a Master of Divinity degree at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and ministered as a deacon at two parishes in Newton, Massachusetts. After ordination, James will return to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry to finish a Licentiate of Sacred Theology degree in sacramental theology and ethics.