Fr. James' Letters

August 1, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

“Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!" (Exodus 16:3).  The Israelites grumbling about their food in our first reading reminds me when I was a child and how I used to complain when my mom made pot roast for dinner. "Ugh, I'd rather die, mom, than eat this pot roast! Can't we not get White Castle instead?"

Funny thing, now I actually like pot roast. Oh, I still like White Castle, make no mistake, but I'll take a pot roast from my mom (or from you) any day of the week. (I wonder if the Egyptian "fleshpot," by the way, was the equivalent of the pot roast?)

At any rate, my mom didn't give in to my whining. She didn't throw away the pot roast she had worked hard over and send my dad out for the fast food. No. It was either pot roast or nothing. I didn't want to go hungry, so I ate it.

The Israelites complain they are hungry and God feeds them with bread that miraculously falls from the sky. It might seem like God gave into their complaint. But he actually doesn't.

The Israelites get their bread so they don't starve. But if you keep reading Exodus, you'll read how it's not long before they start whining again. They get sick of the bread and want the leeks and garlic they had in Egypt. God doesn't give in this time.

But even with the manna, God actually still keeps the Israelites hungry and starving. And not just starving in the desert of Sinai after the exodus, but starving over the centuries. The Israelites would remain starving for the Messiah. This is why in the Gospel the people get into boats and search for Jesus when they can't find him. They are hungry for the Lord.

And God at last will satisfy their hunger and give them food. He will give his son, "the Bread of Life." And when the people receive Jesus, they won't look back to what kind of food they had before in "Egypt," the way the Israelites looked back to the fleshpots and garlic.

We are hungry still. We are hungry every week, every day.  Don't drive over to Touhy and Harlem (White Castle).  Drive over to Northwest Highway and Washington (the Eucharist).

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The St. Paul of the Cross book club will be joining up with the St. Juliana book club, and our first book together will be The Keys of the Kingdom by A.J. Cronin. We'll keep you posted on the time and location of the discussion, but go ahead and obtain the book and start reading!

In case you haven't seen, I put out a daily podcast called The Daily. It's a simple recording of the daily Mass readings and then a brief homily by yours truly. Sometimes the homily on the recording is different than the one I gave at daily Mass, but hopefully this helps you stay in touch with the readings, especially if you can't make it to daily Mass. I also record the Sunday readings and homily. Please see our website to access the podcast.

If you missed last week’s bulletin, if you would like to donate any religious artwork for the rectory, please drop it off at the parish office. Thank you to those who have already donated some of your beautiful pieces.

Once again, please reach out to our Perpetual Adoration team (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you would like to commit to a regular hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

It's crazy to think I've been pastor here now for one month. I haven't burned down the church, half the congregation hasn't left, and my staff hasn't quit, so I suppose it's been a success. But seriously, I'm ever grateful for your warm welcome and support. I continue to be excited about the great opportunities here at the parish and I feel very much at home as your pastor. 

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