Fr. James' Letters

November 7, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

I gave a Monday Evening of Prayer talk a few weeks ago on Elijah. Elijah is the subject of our first reading. He is one of the more unique figures in the Old Testament, and it is peculiar why he "makes the cut" to be with Jesus during the Transfiguration. Remember, it is Moses and Elijah who appear alongside the Lord in his glory in this moment atop Mount Tabor. Why Elijah? Why not Abraham, the father of Israel? Why not King David? Or why not one of the "greater prophets" — Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel or Ezekiel? Those prophets each have their own books in the Old Testament, while Elijah only has a few chapters in the Books of Kings.

In addition to the Transfiguration, Elijah receives multiple shout-outs throughout the New Testament. Of course, John the Baptist is the last prophet and in the "spirit of Elijah." When Jesus asks who people think and say he is, people guess Elijah. Jesus also makes a reference to Elijah and the widow in one of his discourses.

What's the big deal about Elijah? There's a lot, but let me just name one reason why Elijah is significant — he is no stranger to suffering.

All the prophets in the Old Testament suffer. But Elijah confronts suffering in a special way. He looks pain in the eye, enters it, trusts in God, and then invites others into suffering

This doesn't seem very kind, to make others suffer, but it actually is an act of charity and generosity. When we suffer we have to trust in God, or perish. Elijah, by challenging others and calling them to suffer, is calling them, really, to trust in God. We see this with the widow. 

Elijah is called by God, first, to bring a drought upon the land. Not only does Israel suffer from the lack of food and water, Elijah experiences hunger and thirst too. Elijah, then, is led out to the desert. More suffering. And, finally, Elijah is led to the widow's homestead where he's told by God to ask the widow for her last food and water.

Peculiar, eh? Imagine if you lost your job and money was really tight, and I invited myself over to your house for dinner, told you to make me a steak, buy a nice bottle of wine, and have for me a nice bourbon and cigar for after dinner. You'd despise me. You might even despise the priesthood and the Catholic Church. You might leave a flaming bag of something outside the rectory door the next day.

Elijah trusts in God when he asks something similar of the widow — to give him her last food and water. She is going to suffer, but she is going to trust likewise in God. And she, and Elijah, will be rewarded.

A prophet, like a parent, doesn't always try to make things easy. The prophet's goal is to lead the person to God. If being led to the cross will lead us to God, then to the cross shall we go. Elijah, show us the way!

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As you've seen or heard, we are all set to reopen our Perpetual Adoration Chapel on Wednesday, December 1st. All the slots have been filled. Congratulations to you all and thank you for signing up to adore our Lord. Thank you especially to Vince Ross, Ben Paolelli, and the adoration team who have worked to make this possible. This is very exciting. The graces over the adorers and over our community will be abundant.

The Parish Finance Council will meet this upcoming Wednesday, November 10th. We are hoping to publish our annual financial report in the bulletin in the upcoming weeks. 

Looking ahead as well to the week of Thanksgiving, St. Paul this year is hosting the annual Park Ridge Ministerial Association Thanksgiving Prayer Service. It will be Tuesday, November 23rd at 7:30pm in the Upper Church, with a reception in the gym after. The choir will sing, we will have various scripture readings, and I will give a reflection. Our Thanksgiving Day Mass will be Thursday, November 25th at 10am. That will be the only Mass that day, and please note there will be no 6:25am Mass the following day, on Friday, November 26th. SPC School is off that entire week.

The picture below is Dr. Mickelburgh (Wonder Woman) and myself (Rocky IV) on Halloween. You can see the leadership of the parish and school is in great hands.

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