Fr. James' Letters

September 12, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

Do you have "thick skin"? Are you able to take criticisms, complaints, and setbacks well? Or are you sensitive and bothered when you don't please someone?

I have developed thicker skin since becoming a priest and then pastor, but I will admit it wasn't (and still isn't) easy. I am somewhat of a pleaser and when I receive a critique it does sting.

Peter received the ultimate barb, and from our Lord himself. "At this [Jesus] turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, 'Get behind me, Satan'" (Mark 8:33). Peter is called Satan. And in front of all the disciples too. Ouch.

But Peter had thick skin. Or, at least he developed it. He didn't turn around and leave. He continued along with Jesus. 

Jesus likewise had thick skin. He was rejected, as he predicted he would be, and he didn't cave. Look at the first reading: "I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame" (Isaiah 50:7). Jesus didn't try to be a pleaser to the elders, chief priests, and scribes. He focused only on pleasing God the Father.

Having thick skin isn't easy, but it is a virtue. When we do what is true, good, and beautiful, we will always be attacked. The enemy doesn't want Christ to be promoted. We have to stay strong, setting our face like flint, and do the Lord's will, even if it makes us unpopular.

"The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced" (Isaiah 50:7). 

You might be disgraced in the eyes of a friend, colleague, acquaintance, parishioner when you do something that is right but unpopular. But you will never be disgraced in the eyes of the Lord, and his sight is all that matters.

At the end of the day, it's about the union of your soul with God. It's not about the particular cause for which you fought and received some rebuke, as good as that cause might have been. Having thick skin will mean you have trust in God; trust that, regardless of the external circumstance, your soul is precious in God's sight.

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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. Copies of Vespers are included in the center of our bulletin on pages 10 and 11. I also 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.

GriefShare will meet this Tuesday, September 14th. Please consider partaking of this opportunity to cope with suffering the loss of a loved one. We have a lot of similar ministries at our parish, including a Divorce Support Group and Alcoholics Anonymous, just to name a few. You are not alone in your pain.

The School Fun Run is Wednesday evening and the Men's Club golf outing is on Friday afternoon. Next weekend we will take up the Seminary Collection

You'll see a new feature in our bulletin beginning this weekend. On the next page will be two columns: one written by one of our seminarians and one written by one of our staff members. I would like as much as possible for our bulletin to be a spiritual document, something that you can reflect on and pray with. I'd also like for you to hear the wisdom from these wonderful individuals, and perhaps come to know even a little better who they are and the ministries they serve in our parish. Each week a different seminarian and a different staff member will write a little article. Kevin Gregus, our senior ranking seminarian, and Deacon Bob will have the first articles this week. Next week we'll hear from Fr. Nick. Eventually I would also like to have some parishioners contribute. Happy reading and praying!

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)

Saturday

8:00 am (UC) - weekday Mass

4:30 pm (UC and HFC) - vigil

Sunday

7:30 am (UC)

9:00 am (UC and HFC)

10:30 am (UC and HFC)

12:00 pm (UC)