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Family Life

Every time a national tragedy occurs (such as Park Land, FL) and young people are harmed, my heart goes out to the families that lost their loved ones. I cannot even imagine the tremendous sorrow and anguish that those families experience. In those horrible moments, friends and neighbors come together to sustain them. Without the solace of our faith or the support of our family and friends, we cannot survive such horrible losses in our lives. We need to retire to that safe haven that we call home. It is our family that sustains us in difficult times and nurtures us in ordinary times. As we enjoy more deliberate time with our families during the summer, I would like to invite us to enjoy our time together and, at the same time reflect on the importance of family life.

As I gain more experience in my priesthood, I have come to an important conclusion. What we become as adults is determined to a great extent by what we experience in our families. Too often people make mistakes in choosing a life partner because they do not pay sufficient attention to what his/her family environment was while growing up. There is no doubt that we are the products of our families. Nothing shapes us more clearly than our families and our upbringing.

First of all, the family is the school of faith. The Church calls the family the “domestic church.” At the end of the baptismal rite, the priest blesses the father of the child as he says: “Along with his wife, he will be the first teacher of the faith.” If the parents do not pass on the faith to the children, no one else can. Often we hear complaints that our children and young people are not committed to their faith. Without the support and the example of the parents, the children will not embrace their faith. What we do in the parish cannot take the place of what should occur in the home. The parish programs can only supplement and reinforce the faith that is passed on by the family.

Second, the family is the school of love. When I talk to young adults about romantic relationships, I tell them that we prepare for romance within our family relationships. If I never learned to be a good son or daughter, a loving brother or sister, I will not have the skills to be a competent romantic partner. The family provides for us a safe environment where we can acquire the skills of loving. It is within the family that we learn to fight and to make peace, to negotiate and to compromise, to argue and to disagree. We know well that sometimes family members may not even talk to each other. And yet, we are secure that we are loved. Even if we hurt each other, we know that we will be forgiven. With such a guarantee of unquestioning love, we can learn to love and hone our skills of relationships.

Third, the family is the school of wisdom. God, the omniscient, has ordained that we must live our life forward and not backwards. We do not have the benefit of hindsight. As a result, we need to learn from our mistakes. From the little mistakes we make as little babies in exploring our immediate environment to the bigger mistakes we commit as teens and as young adults, we feel safe thanks to the love of our family. Without such an assurance of relentless love and support, we would be afraid to make mistakes and grow through them. We also benefit from the wisdom of our elders who have gone through life before us and act as our mentors.

I ask all of you to make your family life your top priority, second only to your love for the Lord. If you want to know whether you make your family life your top priority, ask yourself a simple question: How much time do I invest in my family life? I encourage all families to include two important rituals as part of your daily routine: a time for family prayer and the family meal. As Father Peyton, the apostle of the rosary, used to say: “The family that prays together, stays together.” Make sure that you do not lose the habit of eating together, no matter how much effort it requires. It is around the dinner table that we share our stories, calm our fears and create family.

As a parish we are no the way to establishing a serious ministry to families and married couples. The best way to assure the well-being of our children and the future of the Church is to strengthen marriage and sustain families. If you have any ideas or suggestions in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact me. Let us continue to pray for all our households. Let us commend to the Lord the young couples that get married at St Paul’s.

Our hearts go out to the grieving families in our country and around the world. Let us hold them in prayer. Only our God of compassion can mend their broken hearts and bring some comfort to their shattered spirits. Let us also pray for our entire country. May the Lord of wisdom give all of us the courage to take some serious steps to ensure that these senseless acts of carnage do not happen again! Let us protect our children wherever they may be.

Hoping that you make the effort to spend more time with your family this summer.

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.

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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