Fr. James' Letters

April 3, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

Our patron, Saint Paul of the Cross, often in his letters referenced his namesake, Saint Paul the Apostle. Paul Danei was inspired by and strove to imitate Paul of Tarsus. So too should we, parishioners of Saint Paul of the Cross, treasure Saint Paul. And there is no better way to treasure Saint Paul than to treasure the second reading we have this weekend from Philippians. It is an insight into who Paul truly was.

When I read this passage, my heart pounds and tears almost come to my eyes. Saint Paul is “speaking my language”; he’s saying what I feel. “I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

There’s a song by Metallica (one I’ve been learning to play on the guitar) called Nothing Else Matters. That’s what I would say. All that matters to me is Jesus Christ. Food, clothing, material possessions, physical appearance, NCAA (busted) brackets, the Masters, my reputation, academic degrees, achievements, Netflix, etc etc – all is, to use Paul’s word, “rubbish.” Nothing else matters other than knowing and loving Christ Jesus.

Let me be a witness to you that all you need is Christ. Don’t let anything of this world hold you back from loving him and striving to know him more; from surrendering to him. All I really have is Christ and that is enough. He fills me. He can fill you too. “I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus,” wrote Saint Paul (Philippians 3:12). Yes, may we be possessed… lunatics for Christ.

Paul then admits something very interesting. “It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it.” Paul loves God and is possessed by Christ, but it is not a complete possession. Paul still has attachments, imperfections, things that prevent him from completely trusting in God and being united to Christ Jesus.

This doesn’t discourage Saint Paul. For one, he knows that perfect possession in Christ won’t be possible until Heaven. But also, Paul knows Christ is taking Paul on a journey. God is gentle and doesn’t flood us at once with himself, violently severing all those things in our life we need. God slowly prunes and purifies us. Each year, and especially each Lent, we see one thing in our life that we once counted as precious become rubbish. That thing we’ve let go of, leaving an empty branch or void, has been replaced with Jesus.

What have you let go of this Lent or what do you think, most recently, Christ has allowed you to see is not really that important? Give thanks, because he’s given you, in return, another piece of his heart and made you all the more ready for Heaven.

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During this week’s Monday Evening of Prayer, April 4th, we will have several priests available to hear confessions from 6:30pm-7:30pm. This is our “Lenten Reconciliation Service.” If you cannot make Monday evening to go to reconciliation, similar services will be going Tuesday and Wednesday at our neighboring parishes. Please check inside the bulletin for the times and locations.

The Finance Council will be meeting this Tuesday to go over the budget for the FY2023, which we will soon be submitting to the Archdiocese for approval. Recall, the fiscal year begins July 1st. We are doing well financially and will again budget to finish ‘in the black.’ Thank you to all who have contributed to the Annual Catholic Appeal. Pledges and envelopes are still coming, but, as you can see, we are still a bit short of our goal. 

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and the commencement of Holy Week. Please be sure to check the Triduum schedule in the bulletin and be sure you set time in your schedule to either pray with us or spend some quiet time with the Lord during this very special time.

Your servant 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 and HFC) - vigil

Sunday

7:30 am (UC)

9:00 am (UC)

10:30 am (UC and HFC)

12:00 pm (UC)