Fr. James' Letters

October 3, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

We say in marriage preparation to couples that the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is not the capstone of their relationship, but the cornerstone. Married life and love is just beginning on the day of the wedding. Married couples should expect to grow, be challenged, and experience a deepening of their self-awareness and knowledge of their spouse as their married life continues.

The same, by the way, holds true for a priest. On the day of his ordination, the priest is just beginning his life of faith and union with the Lord. I'm amazed, as I've said before, how much my faith has grown and how my love for God has deepened these nine years I've been a priest.

In other words, we're not perfect on the day of our wedding/ordination. We are not complete projects. Actually, come to think of it, we're never perfect or complete projects. Ten years or fifty years into marriage or priesthood, we still have room to grow.

Remember that the next time you're frustrated with your spouse (or with me, your pastor). We're not perfect.

Caryll Houselander, a 20th Century author and mystic, once wrote this,

By a strange paradox, falling in love brings us a new realization of our own nothingness, our helplessness to do, even to be, what we would, for the beloved. Only the sacrament of matrimony in which in a mysterious way God re-creates two as one, in his own love, can overcome this nothingness.

We are incomplete alone. We cannot complete ourselves. We need an ‘other’ to be complete. To have an 'other', then, means we need to be incomplete. Imperfection is necessary for marriage!

Another way to look at it is this: we do not need to be perfect for our spouse. We do not need to be perfect for God. We should strive to improve and grow in holiness, of course, but if we wait until we 'have it all figured out' before we start relating to God or our spouse, we'll never start.

Only in union with the other are we made perfect. In being incomplete and imperfect are we open to be united. 

Think of yourself as a puzzle piece. You're one of those child three-piece puzzles: you, your spouse, and God.

So, spend some time in prayer focusing on your ‘nothingness;’ acknowledge before the Lord your weaknesses and your longings. You make yourself ripe for union. In doing so, God will come to complete you and, if you are married, will sanctify your union.

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A reminder, there will be no 4:30pm HFC Mass this Saturday, October 2nd. The HFC Saturday Mass will return next week, but there will be no 9am HFC Mass on Sunday, October 10th. The Pastoral Council and I are discussing the Mass schedule and the feasibility of some of the simultaneous Masses due to our priest shortage. As always, reach out to me or Patti Nowak from the PC if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

After Masses this weekend the Perpetual Adoration Chapel team will have a sign up for adoration slots. We are at 83% coverage (28 slots left to fill). We are close!

This Monday, October 4th, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, we will hold a pet blessing at 4pm in the parking lot. Bring your lovable friends to be blessed (and/or exorcised).

I've had the joy over the months of meeting with several of the women's guilds of the parish, including the Queen of Peace Guild. This Tuesday I will spend some time with the St. Monica Guild, and then Wednesday with the Little Flower Guild. Reach out to me if you'd like a visit!

I want to congratulate Dr. Erika Mickelburgh and the entire school on an incredibly successful School Fun-Run event last week. The school raised over $140,000! It was so successful that Dr. M will have to kiss a pig (one of the incentives if the school reached its goal). We're still negotiating whether the pastor will have to take a pie in the face.

I enjoyed visiting one of the kindergarten classrooms last week to discuss their letter of the day, J, which happens to be my favorite letter of the alphabet (Jesus, Joseph, James). See picture below. 

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)

10:30 am (UC and HFC)

12:00 pm (UC)