Fr. James' Letters

December 19, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

The Beatitudes are seen as the height of Jesus' moral teaching. "Blessed are the poor in spirit… blessed are the merciful… blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, etc" (Matthew 5:1-12). Everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike, respect the Beatitudes. It's often chosen as the Gospel for weddings and funerals.

"Blessed" is the key word to open the statement. Well, we find other "beatitudes" throughout the Scriptures beyond Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. Our Gospel today has three "beatitudes" from Saint Elizabeth: "Blessed are you among women… blessed is the fruit of your womb… blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Luke 1:39-45).

Mary is the subject of the beatitude. And I'm sure it was Mary who, by the way, taught her son this word, beatitude, that he would go on to use in his ministry. I wonder if our Lord thought of his mother as the model when he gave the Sermon on the Mount.

Blessed are you among women. Yes, Mary is the Immaculate Conception and the ultimate woman. Remember, the Beatitudes aren't just statements about other holy people. They are exhortations to us. We are to be poor in spirit, etc. So, if Mary is blessed, then we are to be like her. We are to be people of prayer, simplicity, and holiness. We are to keep our focus on Jesus, which leads us to the next "Marian beatitude"...

Blessed is the fruit of your womb. Mary is blessed, ultimately, because she has Jesus in her. Literally. Jesus is in her womb. We are blessed, ultimately, when we have Jesus in us. Literally. Jesus in the Eucharist, the fruit of the earth and vine, is in our bodies. We can be great social justice warriors, great scholars, and even great pray-ers, but we won't be truly blessed without the Eucharist.

Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. Mary demonstrates faith, hope, and love. She believes in God and believes that he, indeed, is becoming incarnate in her own body. She hopes that this incarnation, as communicated by the angel, will bring salvation to the world. Mary has already been saved — she is Immaculate — and she now sees that others will participate in the gift she has. And this leads her to an even greater love of God. She will go on to say, after Elizabeth's speech, her Magnificat: "my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord..." 

May we have faith that God is alive in us and hope that he wants to save us anew this Christmas. And may we love him with our whole lives. 

A blessed 4th Week of Advent and Christmas to you.

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This Tuesday, following the 8:30am Mass, Father Nick and I invite you all once again to join us in Duffin Hall for coffee and pastries. It's been nice to see so many of you and get to know you a little bit better. 

Let me once again take the opportunity to thank you all for dropping off dinners for us on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The meals have been excellent and the priests and seminarians, including the priests from Mary Seat of Wisdom, feel very loved. And thank you for dropping off the Christmas sweets and cookies. I might be needing insulin shots in the new year.

We will still have our Monday Evening of Prayer this week, Monday, December 20th. SPC School and Catechesis is off this week, and there will be no Bible Study this week either. 

Friday, December 24th, is Christmas Eve. Our Mass schedule is: 3pm UC, 3pm HFC, 5pm UC, 5pm HFC, 12am UC. On Saturday, Christmas Day, our Mass schedule is: 7:30am UC, 9am UC, 10:30am UC, noon UC. Please note, there will be no 4:30pm Masses on Saturday, Christmas Day. On Sunday, December 26th, the schedule will be: 7:30am UC, 9am UC, 10:30am UC, noon UC.

Merry Christmas! If you will be out of town, safe travels and well wishes. If you are visiting, welcome. Either way, thank you for your love of God and your presence in our parish.

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)

12:00 pm (HFC)