Fr. James' Letters

October 17, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

Several years ago, when I was an associate at Mary Seat of Wisdom, my good priest friend, Fr. Tim Monahan, introduced me to "juicing." No, not steroids. Fruit juicing. Though I will say he and I together as associate pastors were a better duo than Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco.

Fr. Tim had a juicer someone had given him and we'd put all sorts of fruits and vegetables in there to come up with these incredible concoctions. These weren't smoothies, as this wasn't a blender, but pure juice. The machine would put the pulp of the fruit/vegetable aside and extract the pure juice. 

What amazed me was the particular vegetables and fruits that made for good meals, and the ones that didn't. It wasn't what you would expect. Bananas and avocados, which I love, weren't good. Not enough juice. Sweet potatoes and beets, which I wouldn't buy and eat normally, were great. They produced a lot of juice, and were tasty and healthy. Kale and celery were good, but in small doses. Likewise, too much melon, pineapple, and apple, and it was like you were looking over your shoulder for the Malibu Rum. This was usually our breakfast, so that wouldn't be good.

"The LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity" (Isaiah 53:10). Just as I was pleased to crush the carrot, blueberry, and cucumber, so too was God pleased to crush Jesus, James and John, and all of us.

Let's take James and John, the Sons of Thunder, from our Gospel. They make the request to sit at Jesus' right and left. Note, this is towards the end of the Gospel, after James and John have left behind their former way of life and become Christ's disciples. This isn't a "beginner's mistake," like the rich young man we read about last weekend. James and John have been intimate friends of Jesus. They've seen him minister and have learned from him. You would think they would know better, but they still cling to their ambition. There is still a trace of selfishness, egoism, and sin in them. There's still some juicing in them that needs to occur.

It pleased the Lord to "juice" James and John. This ambition would be purified, and they would go on to become saints. It wasn't like the Lord was disappointed that they had failed this late in the game. Look at Peter - he'll continue to fail even after the Resurrection!

Sometimes it's the sin and attachment that we see still lingering in our hearts long after we've become committed disciples that produces the greatest "juice." It's never too late to be juiced and grow even more in holiness.

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We continue our Monday Evenings of Prayer with Eucharistic Adoration in church from 5:30-7:30pm. My fifteen-minute talks on prayer are recorded and are under the "Heirs of the Kingdom" podcast tab on our website.

Tuesday afternoon I look forward to giving a church tour to the second graders in our Catechesis program. We are so privileged at SPC to have an immensely beautiful church, and I want to give thanks to all of our ancestors — parishioners and priests — who built the church and made its beauty possible.

There is no school this Thursday and Friday for Parent-Teacher conferences. In case you missed it, our school was blessed a few weeks ago to have Nobel Peace Prize-nominee Juliana Taimoorazy speak to our SPC junior high students about her efforts with Iraqi Christian Relief Services. Ms. Taimoorazy was a powerful witness, and her talk was covered by the local newspaper! Thank you to Dr. Mickelburgh and the Johnston family for making this event possible.

Thursday, October 28th is the Respect Life Candlelight Rosary at 7:30pm. October is, of course, "Respect Life Month" and there is no better way to pray for the unborn than to pray the rosary; and, again, in front of our beautiful church in downtown Park Ridge. Come pray with us and be a witness of our desire to promote life!

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