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Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

Growing

Usually I address my column to all our parishioners. This week, however, I would like to write a column especially for you as you are about to begin another school year. Even though you will miss the fun of summer, you will be happy to see all your friends.

First of all, I want to make you understand that you are precious in God’s eyes. God loves you in a special way. During his life on earth, Jesus paid particular attention to children and young people. The gospels tell us that on one occasion He welcomed children, hugged them and blessed them. He told His disciples that unless they became like little children, they would not enter God’s Kingdom. In Mark’s gospel Jesus meets a young man who wants to lead a perfect life. The evangelist adds a little detail: “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” That little detail tells us a lot about Jesus’ special love for young people. I also want you to know that you are very important to our parish. As your pastor, I am always delighted to see so many children and young people coming to Mass.

Second, I want to encourage you to use this academic year for your personal growth in holiness, wisdom and character. Time is a precious commodity and as we get older, we realize that it is getting scarcer. When you are young, it is easy to pretend that we have all the time in the world. Do use your time carefully and fully utilize the opportunities that God places on your path.

  1. Use the time to grow in holiness. Whether you are enrolled in a Catholic school or in a public school, don’t forget that your faith is the most important treasure you have been given. Nurture that gift by committing to go to Sunday Mass. Find time for personal prayer. Dedicate your efforts to studying your Catholic faith. If you are in Religious Ed, be determined not to miss even one session. If you are either a second grader or an eighth grader, this is a particularly unique year for you. You will be either making your First Holy Communion or receiving Confirmation. I encourage you to be serious about your preparation for the sacrament. Try to get into the habit of reading the Bible. You can start by reading prayerfully one of the gospels.
     
  2. Use the time to grow in wisdom. These years are crucial for your growth in wisdom. You have so much to learn – about God, life, love, people and our world. You have to learn many skills that will come in handy in the later years of life: how to deal with people, how to negotiate our world, and how to love and forgive. Your first school of wisdom is your home where your family will teach you many crucial skills. I hope you will listen to your parents and learn from them. The schools you frequent will teach you much. Dedicate yourself to your studies. Even though it is important to learn to play sports, dance, sing, play an instrument or do many extra-curricular activities, do not neglect your studies. Being a good student should be a priority. No matter what your report card says, always do our best.
     
  3. Use your time to build character. Becoming well-integrated persons with solid moral values takes life-long work. Particularly during these years, learn to distinguish between good and bad. Get in the habit of making good, moral decisions. Your parents are the first teachers of morality and hopefully they will be helped by our religious education and Catholic school programs. You will learn many valuable qualities on the playground as you play sports or collaborate in various team-building activities. If you are a teen, become part of our youth ministry and you will meet wonderful young people who share similar values. Be humble. Be kind and gentle towards others.

As you engage in these three important tasks (holiness, wisdom and character), don’t forget to be joyful. Learn to be happy. Practice seeing the positive side of life. You will find out that by being a good, caring, faith-filled person and by loving other people you will be happy.

Towards the end of chapter 2, Luke concludes the story of Jesus being lost and found in the Temple at the age of twelve thus:

Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

You too are called to be a joyful member of your family and obey your parents. Just like Jesus, you need to increase in wisdom, in years, and in divine and human favor. This year is being given to you so that you can achieve these goals. The parish is here to help you.

I do pray for you. If there is anything I can do for you, do not hesitate to call on me.

Remember that God loves you tremendously!

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel