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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.

Uncompromising Fidelity

We just celebrated our Independence Day. As an American citizen, I am very proud of our country and I consider myself privileged. In no other country do we see so many flags flying as we see in the US. We are really proud and patriotic. At the same time, as Illinoisans we are not as proud of our city or state because of all the scandals that surround our politicians. The trial of our former governor was a ridiculous media circus that still hangs over all of us. With our budget troubles and poor bond status, we run the risk of becoming the laughing stock of the nation.

 

Why are we wary of all politicians, regardless of their party affiliation? Personally I harbor very little warm feeling towards most politicians. Unfortunately in our political arena we do not see many statesmen (or stateswomen), just political operators. Most politicians do not merit our respect because compromise is their name and deal-making is their game. No local or national politician can rise to their level of leadership without seriously compromising their principles and often selling out their dreams. Saints, on the other hand, are individuals who are not afraid to lay down their lives rather than compromise themselves.

Just a couple of weeks ago we celebrated the feast of Maria Goretti, a young Italian girl of twelve, who preferred to die rather than succumb to the sexual advances of Alessandro. She considered her commitment to purity more valuable than her life itself. She was following the example of another young saint, St Dominic Savio, who made the following resolution on the day of his First Holy Communion: “Death rather than sin.” Both these young people were only walking in the steps of numerous martyrs who laid down their lives in the first four centuries of Christianity rather than disavow their faith in Jesus Christ. They refused to settle, to compromise, and in the process they renounced their earthly lives.

The example of Maria Goretti teaches us two important lessons. First of all, she inspires us to cherish and value the virtue of purity. Just a few months ago, talking to some group in the parish, I confessed that it is harder to be a celibate in America than in India. I am saying this not because temptations are greater here. I am saying this because chastity and celibacy are not valued in the American culture. Catholics, who choose to follow the teachings of the Church with regard to sexual morality, whether they are single or married, are looked down upon and sometimes ridiculed. It is an unspoken assumption that everyone in our society is sexually active. In such a highly sexually-charged milieu how is it possible to teach our young people to be pure? When some grown-ups do not set them good examples in this regard, when not a day goes by when the media do not highlight someone’s sexual escapades, we become more and more desensitized. Many Christians, including so-called “good” Catholics, do not seem to consider impurity as sinful. Pornography is diffused widely in our society and culture, and even Church-going, daily communicants are not immune to its seduction. And yet, the Church has not changed her teachings. The Church insists that sexual intimacy is authentic and morally good only within the committed relationship of marriage. I do know full well that being chaste is not easy. And yet Goretti challenges us to follow her example of purity. Let us remember that we cannot be pure relying on our resources. We need the help of the Lord. We need prayer. We need the sacraments.

Secondly, Maria Goretti beckons us to be uncompromising in our fidelity. She preferred to lose her life than to save it. If a persecution broke out in our country today, I wonder how many of us would willingly lay down our lives. We live in an age of compromise and accommodation. We find excuses to save ourselves. We seem to be moved more by our comfort, convenience, pleasure and happiness, and as a result, we appear to be willing to plea bargain. I hope to God that the Holy Spirit will strengthen me in the face of persecution and lead me to lay down my life rather than compromise. We need to pray for courage and unadulterated fidelity.

Talk about the example of Maria Goretti to your children. She brings us lessons that we sorely need in our time. May the Lord raise up men and women who are relentless in their Christian commitment!

Hope you are enjoying your summer!

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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