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Christmas 2017

On behalf of the entire parish community, please accept my sincere wishes for a blessed Christmas and a grace-filled New Year. May the Christ Child fill you and your loved ones with His peace and joy, and may His gifts stay with you always! I will certainly remember you and your family in my Christmas Masses.

One of my fellow countrymen, Rabindranath Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for literature, wrote: “Every child comes with the message that God is not disappointed with humanity.” As we come to the Feast of Christmas we realize how true those words are because the Son of God comes to us with the definitive message of hope. St John put it beautifully: “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that those who believe in Him will be given the power to become the children of God” (John 3:16). You can call it a one verse summary of the whole History of Salvation. It says it all. God has given humanity a unique gift, definitive and unrepeatable. No other gift is necessary. God has said it all in His Son. Jesus is the sacrament of God’s saving presence among us. He is the ultimate gift of God’s validation of our human family.

If we can capture the spirit of this season in one word, that word will be “gift.” Of course our super-commercialized culture emphasizes giving because half of consumer spending happens over the holidays. As we try to resist the pressures of the marketplace, it is so easy to forget the heart of giving. We give to others because God gave us first. God gives without expecting anything in return. God gifts His Son to all with no exceptions. The Father makes the sun rise on the just and the unjust. God gives and gives till it hurts. God’s gift reaches its apex on Mount Calvary.

And so let us give gifts to each other. Let us give gifts of love and forgiveness, of acceptance and reconciliation. In a special way, let us give the gift of time, the gift of our presence. Let us give gifts particularly to those in our family circle. Let us also give to those who have so little in life. In that spirit of generosity let us open our wallets and our hearts to lessen the burden of need smothering the backs of our brothers and sisters across the globe.

Two years ago in his Christmas message Pope Francis challenged all of us to give to everyone, especially to those in extreme poverty. Let me quote his words:

Where God is born, hope is born; and where hope is born, persons regain their dignity. Yet even today great numbers of men and woman are deprived of their human dignity and, like the child Jesus, suffer cold, poverty, and rejection. May our closeness today be felt by those who are most vulnerable, especially child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and the drug trade.

Nor may our encouragement be lacking to all those fleeing extreme poverty or war, travelling all too often in inhumane conditions and not infrequently at the risk of their lives. May God repay all those, both individuals and states, who generously work to provide assistance and welcome to the numerous migrants and refugees, helping them to build a dignified future for themselves and for their dear ones, and to be integrated in the societies which receive them.

And to the God who gave us His Son, let us give thanks. This Christmas please take some time to count your blessings and offer thanks and praise to our Ultimate Benefactor. Thank God for the gift of Jesus. Thank God for the gift of faith. Thank God for the gift of life. Thank God for the gift of love. Thank God for the gift of forgiveness. Thank God for the gift of Church. Thank God for the gift of our parish. Thank God for the gift of each and every person in your life.

As you celebrate Christmas this year, may the prayer of Robert Louis Stevenson become our own:

 O God, our loving Father, help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every good gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts.

 May Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven. For Jesus' sake. Amen.

I want to thank you for the kindness you show our faith community. Please do remember that St Paul of the Cross Parish depends on your generosity. I appreciate all that you do to build up a part of God’s Kingdom that is St Paul of the Cross. I thank God for you and pray for you.

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