Fr. James' Letters

April 17, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

"Paul of the Cross, General Superior of the Congregation of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, To All our Sons in Christ of Our Congregation Who Give Themselves to Arouse from the Ashes and Spread the Devotion of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Crucified for the Glory of the Father and the Redemption of the World..." (Letter, May 9, 1767).

That was how Saint Paul of the Cross himself addressed a letter to his flock. Allow me to copy the salutation to you all. And, then, let me add: Happy Easter.

I preached on Ash Wednesday, the day that began Lent over five weeks ago, that Saint Paul of the Cross had once said “I wish to be ash.” He wanted to be a total offering to Christ. Offerings were burned up, reduced to ashes. So too did I, and I hoped you as well, wish to be ash.

But now I also desire to be stirred from the ashes. And I desire you to be stirred as well. ‘To Arouse from the Ashes’ is what we read in the above salutation. 

Yes, I have given my life to God. I also now desire to give my life to you. That is the theme of Easter: going out. Christ came out of the tomb and went to others. He went into the Father and the netherworld when he died. Throughout Lent I tried to die to the world and grow closer to God. Now on Easter I am more resolved to go out to the risen Lord and to you. I will continue to try my best to give you Christ and only Christ, whether it is in my sacramental actions, my preaching, or my administration of this parish.

You have given your heart to God when you “died” in Lent. Please, now give your heart, on Easter, to others. Pray for them, show them Christ by your witness and (if necessary) your words, and be a responsible person so that there may be room for Christ to operate in your home and at work.

To Arouse from the Ashes. Ashes are cool, dormant, and settled. We need to be ash. We need to pray and be settled in the Lord. But then we need to be stirred and fired up again, so as to set others on fire. And then they will become ash and do the same.

Easter is a very colorful day. Pinks and yellows and oranges on eggs, baskets, dresses and ties. It’s colorful because of us; because we, who were once ash, have been rekindled.

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I want to offer my sincerest thanks to all those who made the Easter Triduum services beautiful and smooth: the musicians, the servers, the sacristans, the ushers, the Pastoral Council team, the schedulers, Deacon Andy and Deacon Bob and Martin who did a lot of the liturgy prep work, Father Nick with church decorating, Beshar and his RCIA team and candidates, and the SPC staff, particularly in the front office. And thank you all for praying with us and contributing to the parish in the many ways you do. 

What I’m about to write I’m not writing as a throw-away platitude. I mean this with all sincerity: Saint Paul of the Cross is a special parish. If I could tell you each in person to make it clear how truly I mean this, I would. I have been incredibly impressed with the holiness and devotion of the parishioners here in my short time as your pastor. I see it from the large crowds at daily Mass, the people in the Adoration Chapel, the volunteers who do Bible Study and Grief Share and the food pantry and so much more, our wonderful and large school, and all the intentional conversations I’ve had with people whether it was in a meeting or at your house for dinner. I told the bishop recently that Saint Paul of the Cross is a jewel; it is one of the jewels of the Archdiocese. And not because I’m pastor (most certainly not) but because of the people and what you all do from your prayer to your service. I told the bishop in case I ever get hit by a bus or something – that he knows this parish is unique and to treat it well! Our parish is named after the cross, but we are the living embodiment of the Resurrection. It is a great blessing and honor to be the pastor and serve you all.

A happy Easter to you and your loved ones.

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)


8:30 am (UC) - weekday Mass

4:30 pm (UC and HFC) - vigil


7:30 am (UC)

9:00 am (UC)

10:30 am (UC and HFC)

12:00 pm (UC)