Holy Week

As we are entering the holiest of weeks, let us remove all distractions from our lives and set our hearts and minds firmly on the mysteries we celebrate. At the heart of this week’s liturgies stands the cross, lonely and tall. The empty tomb will be our focus next Sunday, but before we get there, we need to stand in the shadow of the cross.

Retire in your own mind to the upper chamber on that fateful Thursday evening when Jesus and the apostles gathered together to celebrate the Passover meal. The disciples had no idea that it would be their last meal with the Master before His suffering and death. On that night, He gave three gifts to the apostles and to us. He gave us Himself in the Holy Eucharist. To ensure the continued celebration of this great mystery of love, He gave us priests. His new commandment of love was His third gift. Nourished by His Body and Blood, we are called upon to love one another as He did. To demonstrate the way we should love, He washed the feet of His disciples. As Jesus relentlessly walked towards His suffering and death, He thought of us and anticipated the sacrifice He was going to offer on the Cross the next day.

Take a moment, then, to ponder the grave significance of Good Friday. Try, if you can, to go back two thousand years to that first Good Friday and picture in your mind the broken, battered body of Jesus, hanging from the Cross, crushed by the overwhelming weight of the sins of the world. Take a moment to meditate on the lifeless body of the Savior who laid down his life for you and for me. Let me offer some help with words taken from a popular musical, The Witness:

They took Him down, His poor dead body, and prepared Him for His burial. 

They took Him down, His poor pale body, drained of life, ashen, and stained with its own lifeblood.

 His healing hands, now pierced and still; serving hands, that broke five loaves to feed five thousand; holy hands, often folded in fervent prayer; poor gentle hands, now pierced and still.

His poor torn feet, now bloodied and cold; feet that walked weary miles to bring good news to broken hearts; feet once washed in penitent’s tears; poor torn feet, now bloodied and cold.

His kingly head, made for a crown, now crowned with thorns; His poor kingly head, crowned with thorns.

 His gentle breast, now pierced by spear-thrust, quiet and still; His poor loving breast.

 His piercing eyes, now dark and blind; eyes of compassion, warming the soul; fiery eyes, burning at sin; tender eyes, beckoning sinners; His piercing eyes, now dark and blind.

 His matchless voice, fountain of the Father’s thoughts, stopped and stilled – to speak no more; silence now, where once had flowed wisdom and comfort, Spirit and life; His matchless voice, stilled, to speak no more.

They took Him down, His poor dead body, and prepared Him for His burial.

Standing in the shadow of the Cross, let us acknowledge our sins, present and past, big and small. Let us repent of our sins. Let us remember, however, that repentance is not about what we have done in the past. It is about what we want to do in the present and the future. It is not merely about actions. It is about attitude. It is not about how badly we have behaved. It is about how unconditionally God loves us. We are not the focus of our repentance. Jesus is. Repentance is not about sin. It is about grace.

Let us look at that Cross not with guilt, but with sorrow. God does not want us to feel guilty, for He knows that it is sorrow that brings new life. Guilt arises from pride whereas sorrow springs from love. While guilt focuses on me, sorrow is centered on the Lord. Judas was weighed down with guilt and so he despaired. Peter retraced his steps to the Lord because he was moved by sorrow. Guilt is a dead-end street while sorrow is the springboard to change. With bended knees and bowed heads, let us look at the broken body of Jesus and pray those memorable words of John Newton:

          Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!

          I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see!

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.

Liturgical Schedule


   Monday through Friday

   8:30 am - Upper Church


   4:30 pm - Upper Church


   7:30 am - Upper Church

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   10:30 am - Upper Church

   12:00 pm - Gym


   1st and 3rd Friday

   after 8:30 am Mass

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   8-9 am - Upper Church

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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Phone: (847) 825-7605

Mass Schedule

Monday - Friday

8:30 am - Upper Church


4:30 pm (vigil) - Upper Church


7:30 am - Upper Church

9:00 am - Holy Family Chapel

9:30 am - Gym

10:30 am - Upper Church

12:00 pm - Gym