Fr. James' Letters

August 29, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

"Keep oneself unstained by the world" (James 1:27).

We are not called to leave the world and be totally removed from it. We are called to be unstained by it. Recall Jesus' words at the Last Supper: "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one" (John 17:5).

Most of us know not to leave the world, and we don't. We have our jobs, we watch sports and movies, we listen to music, we use technology, we follow the news. Even priests and religious know this. We have Netflix on the rectory TV (it's my sister's account - thank you, Chrissy!), and I remember seeing a nun playing Angry Birds during my canon law class.

But do we know how to be unstained by the world? 

Stains are the worst. I can't think of something that irks me more than a stain. Something so small and incidental can ruin an item — a shirt, carpet, couch. I hate shopping and I hate having to buy things, and a stain forces me to do that. Recently I had just bought a new pair of black pants, which I don't do very often. Well, a container of avocado sauce from the fridge exploded on me, went over my pants, and there went my assumption that black couldn't stain. Luckily my pants were $12 from Walmart but it was still annoying.

There are little attitudes of the world that can subtly permeate our way of thinking and stain our spirit. Let me name one: instant gratification.

The world says you are entitled to get what you want when you want it. You turn on your phone or laptop, the internet should be the perfect speed and there should be no wait. Any TV show or movie you want you should be able to get right now. You're bored? You should be entertained. 

If we find ourselves getting angry often, particularly when our gratification is delayed, it could be because we are thinking like the world; believing that we are entitled to gratification and that we should not have to suffer. 

Be in the world, yes, but have the spirit of Jesus Christ. The world will stain you with a dirty smudge or avocado sauce. Jesus will stain you with gold.

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The Social Services Ministry is offering on September 14th GriefShare for those dealing with loss. This is a valuable opportunity. I know many of you are mourning a loved one, so please consider coming to this support group. I'm grateful to Adrienne Timm for helping organize this and so many of our other Social Service programs.

I look forward to celebrating the first SPC School Mass on Wednesday, September 1st at 2pm. Speaking of school Masses, the school will be joining the regular 8:30am Mass on Tuesdays in the Upper Church, starting September 7th.  We have a good problem in that enrollment has so increased that the school can no longer fit in the HFC. We are going to try this out for a few weeks to see if we can fit everyone. We will reserve the back pews for the parishioners and the students will be up front together.  The school will "lead" the Mass — lectoring, EMing — but everyone is welcome to attend.

As I mentioned last week, we will be starting Monday Evening Eucharistic Adoration in the church on Monday, September 13th from 5:30-7:30pm.

One of my responsibilities as a priest of the Archdiocese

of Chicago, in addition to being pastor of Saint Paul of the Cross, is to serve as a canon lawyer. I am the canon law professor at Mundelein Seminary and classes start this week. The class I teach is on Tuesday afternoons, so if you don't see me around those days, that is why! Pray for my poor students.

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)

12:00 pm (HFC)