Fr. James' Letters

November 21, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

The North American College, the seminary in Rome where I spent six years, had a tradition of offering three toasts before banquets and other big meals. One was a toast to the College, one to the Country (the United States), and one to the Church or the Holy Father. A seminarian or priest was asked to stand up and give a 30 second speech honoring those three institutions. At the end we'd say "chin-chin" (the Italian version of "cheers"), take a swig of Prosecco, and then, sometimes, sing a song: My Country 'Tis of Thee, Ad Multos Annos, etc. Then we'd sit down and begin to slam plates of carbonara pasta and veal saltimbocca.

I thought about toasts and that particular tradition of toasting when I read the line from Revelation from our second reading: "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 1:5-6). This, to me, sounds like a toast to Jesus Christ.

And there's no better person to toast than our Lord. Jesus gives us meaning. His love makes us feel good. With our Lord, we feel that we belong, something I think everyone wants to feel. He gives us grace to do well in life, to be healed of our weaknesses and sins, and to reach him in Heaven where we will experience eternal bliss. And he invites us into a significant mission where we can save and transform lives.

All that deserves a toast, in my book.

Of course, I could go on with how good Jesus is and why he deserves the ultimate toast. He is my king and I would do anything, including die, for him.

Is it too weird to propose you offering a toast on Thanksgiving to Jesus Christ the King? A thirty second speech why you want to express honor and goodwill to the Lord. It could be a beautiful gesture and act of faith. Besides, toasts are fun. Everyone loves them (when they are short...and clean), and it sure beats talking about the vaccine, the Bears, or the weather.

If you don't toast the Lord during Thanksgiving dinner, at least do a private toast to Jesus at some point today or this week. He's gonna toast you, God-willing, when you meet him face-to-face.

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Thanksgiving week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Welcome back, college students. School and Catechesis students, enjoy your break. Thank you, parishioners, for the food and sweets you've been dropping off. We will still have our Monday Evening of Prayer of Adoration, Confessions and talk on prayer this week. Tuesday evening at 7:30pm we will host the PRMA Thanksgiving Service, which includes a Liturgy of the Word, a sermon I will preach, and music from our choir, followed by a reception in the gym. On Thursday, our Thanksgiving Mass will be at 10am. Friday we will have just one Mass at 8:30am. Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent.

The Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel will reopen on Wednesday, December 1st. We will have a small procession with the Blessed Sacrament following the 8:30am Mass in church over to the chapel. While all the slots are filled, there are many slots, as you can see, with only one adorer, so please consider signing up for a "yellow" slot so we have a back-up.

In next week's bulletin we will publish the Parish Annual Report, which includes our financial statistics, among other pieces of data from the parish, school, and catechesis programs. If you are interested, the Archdiocese this year brought back the "October Count," where every parish counts the number of people who come to Mass during the month of October. This year, we averaged 1492 persons on a weekend. The Sunday 10:30am Masses were our most populated. Please encourage people you know to come back to church! Thank you to Mark, Elisabeth, Steve and the ushers for doing the count.

It was great to be with the St. Catherine of Siena Guild a few weeks ago (see picture below). And happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

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