Fr. James' Letters

December 5, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

I've been asked quite frequently what my "vision" is for Saint Paul of the Cross; what I hope to "do" as pastor here. I'm usually stumped for an answer. (Cue folks at the Archdiocese smacking their foreheads.) I mean, I love being a priest and I want to do the Lord's will. I want to preach Christ, to share my own love for Jesus with you all, and for you all to similarly love the Lord. That's all I can really discern concretely right now that Jesus wants me to do for the parish: to help you all simply increase your love for God.

Saint Paul was a pastor. His words from our second reading (Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11) sum it up best. Let me parse it out for you (his words are in italics, followed by mine).

I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. Yes, I pray for you everyday. And you and I are partners in the Gospel. Together we learn about Jesus, we reflect on him and on our lives, and we try to show others the faith.

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. There is good in each of you. God is making it grow as we speak. I am just a facilitator. 

God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. I love you. No, don't run from me the next time you see me. It's hard to describe, but it's the love of Jesus in my heart loving you. Priests are conduits of grace. We receive a transplant of the Sacred Heart.

And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more… what I said above! I want you to love God. Not 'join this ministry' or 'give money' or 'bring me beer' (all good and will be received, but not fundamental). Love God.

… in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value… we need to be people who discern spirits, who do the Lord's will and reject anything contrary to it.

… so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. When you pray and love God, you are pure. Purity brings peace and fulfillment. 

The "day of Christ" is now, so let's together love God this day, this Advent.

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This Sunday, December 5th at the 10:30am UC Mass will be the RCIA Rite of Acceptance for those individuals preparing to enter fully the Catholic Church this upcoming Easter. We have a nice group and I'm grateful to Beshar Behjat for leading RCIA. Beshar also coordinates our Thursday Lectio Divina prayer group and young adult group. Feel free to email him if you are interested in joining either of those groups.

SPC School will have its Advent Reconciliation services in the gym this Monday and Tuesday. There will be a special school Mass on Wednesday, December 8th at 10am for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Friday, December 10th is the school Christmas concert for the younger grades and Saturday is one of the drive-in movies in the parking lot at 6pm. 

On Tuesday, December 7th, the AOW will hold its traditional "shoebox collection." In the past, 1,200 shoeboxes of toiletries have been collected and distributed to the poor. Thank you for your donations and thank you especially to the St. Catherine of Siena Guild for organizing this.

Wednesday, December 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. We will have 6:25am, 8:30am, 10am (school), 12:05pm, and 7:30pm Masses in the UC.

In case you've missed it, our Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel is up and running, so please stop in to adore the Lord.

The Social Services Ministry is continuing to collect $25 and $50 Walmart gift cards which we will distribute to the poor prior to Christmas. And Oplatki Christmas wafers are on sale in the rectory office and in the sacristy in between Masses.

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

8:30 am (UC) - weekday Mass

4:30 pm (UC) - vigil

Sunday

7:30 am (UC)

9:00 am (UC)

10:30 am (UC)

12:00 pm (HFC)