Fr. James' Letters

March 20, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

We “see” God differently throughout our lives. Moses first saw God as a young Jewish man. He saw God as the majority of most people would: from a distance. Moses identified himself as a Jew, but he didn’t truly live as a Jew.

He was filled with anger and murdered a man. Then he went into hiding. He was far from God. In exile is when Moses sees God for the second time. It is in the burning bush, the subject of our first reading this Sunday. It is a miraculous sight. God speaks. Notice, though, that Moses is still very much able to function normally in this theophany. Moses thinks lucidly to himself, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned” (Exodus 3:3). It is not like he is in a trance before God, as Abraham was last week. Then Moses casually kicks off his sandals, at God’s request, and even poses a potential dilemma to God: “If they ask me, ‘what is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” Moses now is near to God, and he relates to God almost normally, as one would to a friend.

This, I think, is the second movement in our spiritual life, when we are advancing in prayer. We relate to God, we speak to him as if we were speaking to a friend or spouse, and we bring to him our struggles. God often consoles us in this second “phase” of our prayer.

The burning bush experience wasn’t the last phase for Moses and God. Moses would “see” God a third time on the very same spot (Mount Horeb) after the Exodus, when the Israelites were now in the desert. This is when God gives Moses the Ten Commandments. But God is not a burning bush. He is a cloud, and Moses doesn’t quite see clearly. His encounter with God is more contemplative, even purifying. Moses’ countenance changed when he came down from the mountain after this occasion. And Moses was called to be a different type of father to his grumbling and rebellious children. He was called to encounter God more in the cross.

Our style of prayer and our “sight” of God will change throughout our lives. When it gets harder, give thanks, for it is getting better.

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A reminder this weekend we will have a presentation after the homily during the Masses on our Lenten Almsgiving Project. Dan Bartleson, the director of the Legendary Lodge, will be present to speak on all the good work their mission is doing in Western Montana and how significant our contributions are for the Catholics in that area. If you haven’t had a chance to contribute already, you’ll find special envelopes in the pews and the entryways of the church. There will be no Masses in the HFC this weekend.

We continue with our Monday Evening of Prayer during Lent. Father Nick will be giving the reflection at 7pm this Monday, March 21st. Stations of the Cross are every Friday at 7:30pm in the upper church.

SPC has a LifeTeam Group, an “off-shoot” group from the Respect Life committee, consisting of school students who gather regularly during the lunch period at our school. There is formation for the students about the pro-life movement, as well as service opportunities. I look forward to meeting with the student group this Monday afternoon.

Just a reminder that Grief Share has returned and meets Tuesday evenings. We will also have a Pastoral Council meeting on Tuesday at 7:30pm. On Wednesday Father Nick will be hosting a Lector and Eucharistic Minister training

We’ve had a few slots open up in our Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Please see the bulletin for the openings and consider signing up so we can ensure all the spots are filled with adorers and we can continue to pray before the Lord.

Thank you again for your financial contributions to the 2022 Annual Catholic Appeal. I received from the Cardinal the parish’s rebate from last year’s Appeal. Our goal last year was $132,897.24, and we raised $181,551.00, meaning for our parish we received $44,788.38. This is from Cardinal Cupich’s letter: “Father Wallace, please thank the people of St. Paul of the Cross in my name. Let them know that they are a great source of encouragement and hope for me. And I pledge to be a good steward of their sacrificial gifts to the Appeal. I will pray for them, and I will remember them at the altar. Ask them to pray for me and for the entire Church in the Archdiocese of Chicago. God bless you and them. Sincerely yours in Christ, Blase Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago.”

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)