Fr. James' Letters

September 5, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

I'm sure there are many who need to hear the opening lines from Isaiah in our first reading: "Thus says the LORD: Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you" (Isaiah 35:4).

Fear is something that never goes away, regardless of our age. I remember being afraid as a child when I would walk upstairs from our basement having been the last one down there. As soon as I would turn off the lights, I would sprint up the stairs. I had this fear there was someone/thing that would grab me and pull me down to the darkness. I still find myself running up to my room when I come back to the dark rectory at night.

We are afraid of being alone and rejected. We are afraid for our children's salvation. We are afraid for our nation and for our church. We are afraid of falling ill and losing our health. We are afraid of losing our jobs.

Fear, fear, fear. 

Whenever I am feeling agitated or restless in my quiet prayer, I can usually trace it back to some fear. 

Fear is never from God. He doesn't want us to be afraid. There is a reason Jesus says so often throughout the Gospels, "Do not be afraid." Again, look at the first reading.

What is it you are afraid of these days? Don't be afraid to acknowledge it. There is no weakness or shame in being afraid. But, please, pray that fear. That is, bring your fear to the Lord and let him speak the truth to you. He will probably show you how that fear is irrational and unfounded (like my basement fear) and that he will take care of you and your loved ones.

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I had the privilege last week to visit with Deacon Al Memmel in his home (see picture to left). Deacon Al has been a permanent deacon here at St. Paul since 1977. He was the fifth class of men ordained to the permanent diaconate for the Archdiocese of Chicago, after it was reinstated following the Second Vatican Council. Deacon Al, aged 92, is retired now, and he and his wife Bette have three children and six grandchildren. It was great to hear Deacon Al's story and learn too about the history of the parish. I was quite impressed to discover he was a veteran, serving in the Korean Conflict (and Bette served as a nurse in WWII!). And we share a common interest in both being avid readers of history, particularly the American Civil War (Deacon Al's grandfather served in the Union Army). But even more impressive was Deacon Al's faith. Though he is homebound with his wife, that doesn't prevent him from staying close to the Lord. He prays the Liturgy of the Hours and watches Mass every day. He keeps up with his theological reading and follows the Mass readings in a publication he receives. And he still very much cares about Saint Paul of the Cross. I'm grateful for being able to pray with Deacon Al and give him communion. He is a good man who loves God and still desires to serve him. Thank you, Deacon Al, for your years of service to our fine parish and for your witness. God bless you and Bette! Ad multos annos!

Next Monday, September 13th, we begin the Monday Evening of Prayer. We will expose the Blessed Sacrament in the church at 5:30pm and proceed to praying Evening Prayer. We will have sheets of Evening Prayer printed out, but I encourage you to download the iBreviary app, which is free and has all the Liturgy of the Hours on it, along with the Mass readings and prayers. The church will be open for silent prayer until 7:30pm. Confessions will be heard from 6:30-7pm, and I will give a talk on prayer and the spiritual life at 7:15pm. Feel free to stay for all or part of the evening of prayer. It will be good to pray together as a community before our Lord's presence.

This Monday, Labor Day, we will have just one Mass in church at 8:30am. 

Wednesday evening is Back-to-School Night for SPC School and Friday evening there will be a "Welcome Back Parent Social" for the school. 

Enjoy your long weekend!

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