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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.

Focus

These days our world seems so crazed and chaotic that we can easily lose our focus. So many electronic devices are clamoring for our attention that we can become totally frazzled. Numerous entertainment choices are gobbling up our time that we do not find time for family and friends. More than at any other time in history, humans seem to be overstressed.

 A recent article in Psychology Today discusses the damaging effects of cell phones and tablets on interpersonal communication. The article by Hara Estroff Marano cites a much-discussed 2014 study by Virginia Tech psychologist Shalini Misra who along with her team monitored the conversations of 100 couples in a coffee shop and identified “the iPhone Effect.” The authors conclude that the “mere presence of a smartphone, even if not in use – just as an object in the background – degrades private conversations, making partners less willing to disclose deep feelings and less understanding of each other.”

All these phenomena point to one fact: we are becoming less and less capable or inclined to attend to the person in front of us or to the situation on hand. We seem to be living distracted lives, unable to focus. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus takes issue with Martha not because she served. He was concerned because she was preoccupied so much with serving that she forgot whom she was serving. That is why Jesus said, “Mary has chosen the better part.” Mary focused on Jesus, the guest that Martha was preparing to serve.

Several years ago I came across a story in the Los Angeles Times written by Ann Wells. It still speaks to me. Here is the story.

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. "This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. "Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago.. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.

I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends'.

"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I'm not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing - I'll never know.

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good Friends whom I was going to get in touch with - someday. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write - one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them… I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.

And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special.

Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God. Let us keep our focus. Here is a prayer that we should pray every day.

Lord, keep us from getting so involved in life that we forget why You gave us life.
Keep us from getting so involved in living that we forget why we are living.
May we never lose sight of the person right in front of us, for everyone You send us is a gift from You!
Keep us from getting so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we lose the things money cannot buy. Amen.

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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