Fr. James' Letters

July 11, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

God conceived of each one of us before the foundation of the world. Saint Paul attests to that truth (cf. Ephesians 1:3-14). Think about that. In God's mind, before anything in the Book of Genesis, he knew of you. And not only knew of us and planned for us, but designed us or destined us, to use Paul's specific term, to be "holy and without blemish."

It is an incredible reality. It is too hard to grasp. We have to spend time meditating upon that truth from Ephesians, and perhaps put it into a specific context, to let the weight of it sink in.

I don't know about you, but there are times when I wonder what the heck I'm doing. And not just when I'm on the golf course or in the middle of a homily. How does this particular activity build up the Kingdom of God, I lament to myself. Am I doing God's will? Am I making any difference in the world? Am I just doing random tasks and then the day ends and I start over again? It's like a "Groundhog Day" existential crisis.

But those questions are not from God. They are meant to discourage me. Ephesians speaks the truth to me. Yes, I am doing God's will and my life is meaningful. Why? Because God created my life and planned it to be his praise and glory. And he did that before he did anything else. That's how much a priority my life and your life is to him. 

So, as mundane as my activities might be, they are part of God's will. There is a deeper beauty to them than I can see. When I'm sitting in traffic to go to a meeting downtown, I am glorifying God because I am trusting in him and following his will, not my own. When you're on-hold over the phone for 20 minutes listening to Kenny-G music, you are praising God. Or, at least you can be, if you're able to keep your cool, be kind when the technician comes back on, and surrender in prayer throughout it all. Remember, God destined and chose you - all of you.

That's why I think Jesus told the disciples to not take anything with them when they went out on mission. They didn't need anything, like a second tunic, to be effective.

All we truly need is God. Let us trust in him.

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Many of you have reached out to me about reopening the Perpetual Adoration Chapel. This is a top priority for me and I'm working with Vince Ross to get the chapel open and functioning. I believe we are in need of adorers to fill the various time slots so that our Lord is never left unattended. More to follow, but I want to commend Vince, the Adoration Chapel team, the adorers, and, in general, this parish for having an incredibly beautiful ministry. Eucharistic adoration is near and dear to my heart (I do my own holy hour of Eucharistic Adoration every morning), so I'm delighted this is part of St. Paul! The fruits of our Adoration have been and will continue to be abundant.

I believe it was a custom in the past that a parishioner would sign up to bring dinner to the priests on Tuesday nights. Thank you for this! It is so generous of you to bring us food: it makes us feel loved and saves the parish some money. We will create a sign-up, but beginning in August, it would be wonderful to have meals delivered Tuesday and Saturday nights.  Again, more to follow about signing up. 

But, of course, in the meantime, I am more than happy to come over to your house for dinner, have a drink (or cigar) in the yard, or whatever to get to you know you!

Yours in Christ,

Who is Fr. James?

Father James Wallace grew up in Winnetka, Illinois and attended Sts. Faith Hope and Charity grammar school, New Trier High School, and then The George Washington University in Washington DC, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science in 2007. He attended seminary at The Pontifical North American College in Rome and was ordained a priest in 2012 for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In addition to being the pastor of Saint Paul of the Cross Parish, he serves as a canon lawyer for the Archdiocese, a dean in Vicariate II, and a professor of canon law and spiritual director at Mundelein Seminary. He is also one of the featured Mercy Home Sunday Mass celebrants, airing Sundays at 9:30am on WGN.

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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

Mass Schedule

UC = Upper Church
HFC = Holy Family Chapel 

Monday - Friday

6:25 am UC

8:30 am UC


8:30 am UC - weekday Mass

4:30 pm UC - vigil


7:30 am UC

9:00 am UC

10:30 am UC and HFC

12:00 pm UC