Fr. James' Letters

April 24, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

I was struck by words from Trappist writer Raymond Flanagan I recently read:

"In April we may pick beautiful blossoms, but for mellow fruit we have to wait. It is always late August, early September, and sometimes even October, before the delicate white blossom that scented the breeze of April becomes a luscious apple. So, too, with [our] love. It [is] beautiful [now], as beautiful as any spring blossom and as delicately scented; but it [is] not yet the grand, full-blooded, redhearted, passionate love of a man. God works slowly, but He works exceptionally well.”

Having plowed through Lent and enjoyed a beautiful Easter Sunday, we can feel like our faith is alive and our love afire for Jesus Christ. Those purple veils that covered the beautiful statues in our church beginning the 5th Sunday of Lent are removed. Similarly, the veils on our hearts have fallen, and we gaze on the lovely face of Jesus Christ and his mother (and Saint John and Saint Joseph).

While all that is true, and our love for God is strong and burning currently, this is just the beginning. The blossom has bloomed, yes, but the fruit is still to be born. Lent may be over, but we need not necessarily relax our spiritual exercises and disciplines. In fact, we should maintain them. Ok, maybe not the penitential ones (beer is back on my menu again), but the fruitful ones, like daily Mass, extra time in prayer, spiritual reading, and so forth. That will ensure we bear fruit throughout the summer and into the fall.

I’m always struck by how quickly the Easter lilies die. They are beautiful and a fitting adornment around our beautiful sanctuary for the Resurrection, but those white petals, by the second or third week of Easter, are usually gone and the green stems are all that remain. Easter lilies are not like the red poinsettias at Christmas that seem indestructible as long as you water them. I think Father Nick is still nursing some poinsettias from four months back, and my ashing a cigar into them doesn’t seem to bother them either.

Yes, the delicate white blossom of our love for Jesus will wilt. Maybe it’s already wilted by this second Sunday of Easter. But the real fruit is still to be born. Don’t be deceived that the “game is over” with Easter and you can “go back to normal” when the flower petals fall off. That is precisely when we need to continue cultivating our spiritual lives. That’s when our love becomes, as Flanagan writes, “grand, full-blooded, redhearted, passionate.”

Saint Thomas is the perfect example of this. He wasn’t lost on the second Sunday of Easter, nor was he at his peak. He was just beginning his new life, a life that would lead to his sainthood. 

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I’m pleased to announce this Wednesday at 7:30pm will be the inaugural “Walking with Purpose” new Women’s Bible study group. Seeing the success of the “That Man is You” men’s spiritual group that meets Monday nights (you can still show up, gentlemen, if you haven’t been yet), a group of ladies here in the parish are starting something similar for women. This is an opportunity to delve more into scripture and also to share and have a support group. Please consider attending to learn more.

As you recall, we brought 11 new members into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil last week. While RCIA is formally concluded for the year, our newest Catholics will gather for dinner in the Kinane Center on Friday evening with Beshar Behjat, our RCIA coordinator, to share and celebrate. Please continue to keep these Catholics in your prayers (this time after Easter is called “Mystagogia” for them) and encourage others to join the faith next year.

Welcome back SPC teachers and students. We hope you had a nice spring break. The SPC School daddy-daughter dance is this Saturday evening.

A reminder that we will still have our Monday Evening of Prayer, with Eucharistic Adoration, confessions, a talk on prayer, and Benediction.

Thank you Clara Kuhlman for her wonderful drawing on our front cover. See page 6 of our buletin about how you can submit your own artwork for our bulletin cover. This is another opportunity for parishioners to give their gifts to one another to the glory of God.

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)