Fr. James' Letters

October 10, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

Saint Francis of Assisi, whose feast we celebrated last week, lived out this Gospel (and the Gospel, in general). He was a rich young man. He gave it all away to follow the Lord. I wonder if Jesus, when the rich young man in this passage approached him, saw in his mind's eye Francesco Bernardone eleven centuries later.  

I remember as a young man, particularly in high school and freshman year of college, before I felt acutely the call to be a priest, wanting to be rich. I didn't know what exactly I wanted to do with my life to get rich. I just knew I wanted to be rich. I wanted to have a lot of money so I could have a house on the beach and drive a Bentley. 

But when I fell deeply in love with God (a love fostered in Eucharistic Adoration, by the way), that desire for money and beach houses and a walk-in humidor just melted away. I didn't care about my own comfort and pleasure. All I wanted to do (and still do) is be with God and serve him.

Saint Francis could have had a very pleasurable life. He came from a privileged background. But once he saw God and tasted divine love, he saw gold as sand, as the Book of Wisdom says in our first reading. He "deemed riches nothing in comparison with [God]" (Wisdom 7:8).

I'm not saying this to trash money and people who are rich. I'm not even trying to get you to be like Saint Francis and literally give all your money away. My point is just to broadcast how amazing the love of God is. The life of prayer and holiness is far better than a Bentley, a beach house, or anything money can buy. "Fill us with your love, O God, and we will sing for joy" (Psalm 90:14). 

I'm always struck in this Gospel scene how the rich young man, who ends up not letting go of his attachment to wealth and not following Jesus, walks away sad. If he had stayed with Jesus, he would have been happy.

Looking back on my early life, I realize now what I wanted was not so much those items, but rest and ease. Well, I have that in Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate treasure. So, I suppose he fulfilled, after all, my childhood desires of being rich.

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This Sunday there will be no 9am HFC Mass. Going forward, for the time being, we will have just one 9am Mass in the UC. Members of the Parish Pastoral Council will make a brief explanation at the end of Masses this weekend as to our rationale for temporarily suspending the 9am HFC Sunday Mass. With it just being Fr. Nick and I, the simultaneous Mass puts a strain on us and prevents us from ever visiting RCIA and Catechesis, which are going on Sunday morning at that time. I appreciate your understanding and flexibility. Please note, we are resuming both Saturday 4:30pm HFC and UC Masses. 

This Wednesday, October 13th at 7pm, the Faith and Film Group will meet to watch and then discuss The Keys of the Kingdom, the 1944 film based off the A.J. Cronin book starring Gregory Peck. The parish book club met a few weeks ago to discuss this book. There was a great turnout (people from all different parishes) and discussion. The next book is In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden and we will discuss on November 15th at 7:30pm.

SPC School is organizing parent mixers at Harp & Fiddle these upcoming weeks. Parents of 4th and 5th graders will meet on Thursday at 7pm. Be sure to check the school page if you missed the dates for other gatherings. It's good that we can have these socials to build our community. The men's spiritual group, That Man Is You, continues to meet Monday evenings with great turnout and great discussion. It's not too late to join, so please come to the group if you're thinking about it.

As I mentioned above, RCIA meets Sunday mornings. Again, it's not too late to join, so if you know someone who would like to become Catholic or complete the sacraments (or you yourself), please reach out to Beshar Behjat (beshare@hotmail.com).

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)