Fr. James' Letters

April 10, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

Fulton Sheen once remarked that just as Christ rode an “ass” into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday 2,000 years ago, so too does Christ ride a similar beast into Church each Mass. Yes, Christ rides the priest down the center aisle at the beginning of Mass. The priest carries Christ on his back. We might wear fancy vestments, but we’re pretty broken.

And that’s how Christ wants us.

The priest isn’t the show. Christ is. The more broken we are, the more Christ can shine through us. The more flawed and dependent we are on God’s grace, the better instruments we can be for you all to see, know, and love God.

This is a hard reality for me to grasp. Public confession time: I struggle with perfectionism. I want to be perfect. I am far from perfect (and I know this), and I therefore feel inadequate. I want to be a strong, majestic war horse that Christ will ride into church. But that’s wrong. Christ doesn’t want a war horse. He rode a donkey.

So, the next time you’re beating yourself up over your faults and sins and shortcomings, look to that creature to which Christ tied himself on Palm Sunday. You’re imperfect, and that makes you perfect in God’s eyes.

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This weekend, with Palm Sunday, we begin Holy Week. Please see inside the bulletin for the schedule of Masses. Recall, there is no morning Mass Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Mass for Holy Thursday is in the evening, where we have the washing of the feet and end with the procession of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the church to the altar of repose (the Mary altar). Eucharistic Adoration occurs in church until 11pm. On Good Friday we will hear confessions all afternoon, have a simple Stations of the Cross at 3pm, and then the full liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, which includes the Veneration of the Cross and distribution of Holy Communion, at 7:30pm. On Holy Saturday we have an Easter basket blessing in the morning and the Easter Vigil Mass, where we will bring 11 new people into the Catholic Church, at 7:30pm. There will be Morning Prayer at 8:30am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and the church will be open all day for you to stop in and pray. The Easter Sunday Mass schedule will be the same as a regular Sunday.

An ecumenical Good Friday prayer service at Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church in Park Ridge will be held at noon on Friday. There will be reflections on the Seven Last Words of Christ from the different ministers (I will be offering the reflection on “Behold, your mother”).   

Because of Holy Week, there will be no Coffee with Priests this Monday morning. After Easter we will bring back the once-a-month Sunday coffee and donuts in the gym following the 9am Mass. We will therefore discontinue the Monday coffee with priests. Please keep an eye out in the bulletin for when our first Sunday coffee and donuts will be.

On Monday afternoon I will be speaking to our school 8th graders about signing to be a lector and/or Eucharistic Minister at Mass when they are in high school. If you know of a high-schooler who would be interested in reading at Mass or distributing Holy Communion, please let me know and either I or Father Nick or Martin the seminarian can arrange a time to train your highschooler and get them on the schedule. This is a great way to serve the Lord and grow closer to his Word.

On Tuesday the priests of the Archdiocese will gather downtown at Holy Name Cathedral for the Chrism Mass. This is very special day for priests, as we celebrate Mass with the Cardinal and bishops and renew the promises of priesthood we made on the day of our ordination. God called me to be a Catholic priest and I am so grateful he did. My priesthood (loving the Lord and serving you all) is the greatest treasure of my life. Thank you for receiving me and all the other priests who have been here over the years.

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)