Fr. James' Letters

May 1, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

Peter had to be experiencing a variety of emotions after the Resurrection. Will the Lord forgive me for my denial? Will my brothers accept me back into the group, let alone as their leader? Will I ever be rid of the heaviness I feel when I recall the memory of my transgression? Will my denial inhibit me in the future from leading the church and being an icon of Jesus?

We are forgiven of our sins when we go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but the “residue of sin” remains. We can still feel shame and guilt and fear. I imagine Peter felt all of this.

When Peter and the others encounter the Lord at the Sea of Tiberias, this is not the first time Peter has seen the risen Jesus. John, in fact, states in this Gospel passage, “This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead” (John 21:14). Earlier, Jesus had appeared in the upper room to the apostles, breathed on them, and said “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). 

Peter knows he’s been forgiven. He knows he is still called to be an apostle and a leader. In fact, in this fishing scene, we see that the apostles all follow Peter when he says, “I’m going fishing” and they all go into Peter’s boat. Recall earlier in the Gospel when James and John had their own boat. So, yes, Peter’s denial has not ruined him.

And, yet, Peter still feels heaviness over what he's done. He’s been forgiven, but the shame is there. He jumps into the sea, having put on his clothes, and sinks.

But Peter does not remain under the waves. He will come out of the waters. He will arise, however, differently than the first time he sank when he attempted to walk to the Lord on the water in the midst of the storm. That time, Jesus grasped the sinking Peter by the hand and pulled him up. Now, Peter will arise with Jesus in his soul. Remember, Jesus had breathed on them. The love of God was in Peter’s heart, acting like a ballast or a buoy to lift our first pope up.

The Easter season isn’t pure glory and consolation. There can be a taint of desolation or struggle in it. Peter experienced it, and we’ll experience it too. We experience it when we sin anew in this Easter season, or when we recall some of our previous sins or challenging moments.

First, then, I would encourage you all to continue to partake of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It was great to see so many people on Good Friday go to Confession. Father Nick and I heard confessions for four hours on Good Friday. Please, don’t wait until Good Friday 2023 to come back.

Second, trust that Jesus has breathed on you. He is in you and you cannot sink. You will come up out of the waters cleaner and holier than you were before.

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Donut Sunday has resurrected, and it will be this Sunday, May 1st over in the gymnasium. Thank you to Barb and her team for preparing the coffee and treats.

The Pastoral Council will meet this Tuesday at 7:30pm. I’m grateful to Patti Nowak and the council members for their leadership and everything they do to support the parish.

The Respect Life Candelight Rosary is this Wednesday at 7:30pm. Please join us for this beautiful time of prayer. There’s no better way to kick off the month of May, a month in honor of our Blessed Mother, than praying the rosary in our wonderful church.

Saturday, May 7th is First Communion. Praise God and thank you, Jesus, for coming in your Body and Blood to the little children of our parish. Congratulations, second graders. We look forward to seeing your communion banners, dresses and suits, and smiling faces as you receive Jesus. Please know that Jesus is smiling too as he comes more fully into your heart. The First Communion Masses will be at 10:30am and 2pm. There will be another First Communion the following Saturday.

At this week’s Monday Evening of Prayer, Martin Nyberg, our seminarian, will be giving the talk on prayer. We will also have, as usual, Eucharistic Adoration, confessions (NEW TIME, from 6:45-7:15pm), and Benediction.

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)