Fr. James' Letters

May 15, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

The Lectionary will occasionally frustrate me. This is one of those Sundays of frustration. If you look at the Gospel selection, it reads: John 13:31-33a, 34-35. Ugh. If it was just 31-35, instead of this ‘a’ business, then Fr. James would have been a lot happier and a seminarian wouldn’t have been yelled at irrationally and forced to do push-ups in the rectory.

This is the line the Lectionary excised, the line I would have preached on: “You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you” (John 13:33b).

Why do I find this line interesting? Because Jesus says it several times throughout the Gospel on various occasions. He said it in John 7:33-35, when the Pharisees tried to arrest him during the Feast of Tabernacles. He said it again in John 8:21, when they tried to stone the woman caught in adultery. And he said it multiple times during the Last Supper discourse, one of which is in today’s Gospel.

The first time when Jesus tells the crowd that he is going away and they cannot follow, they speculate the following: “Where is he going that we will not find him? Surely he is not going to the dispersion among the Greeks to teach the Greeks, is he? What is the meaning of this saying, ‘You will look for me and not find me, and where I am you cannot come’?” (John 7:35-36).

The second time his departure is mentioned, the crowd speculates this: “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come?’” (John 8:22).

But on the third/fourth occasion of this reference, at the Last Supper with the apostles, the apostles don’t speculate. They simply ask. “Peter said to him, ‘Master, where are you going?’” (John 13:36). And then Thomas: “Thomas said to him, ‘Master, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?’” (John 14:5).

Sometimes things don’t make sense. When they don’t, it’s probably best not to speculate “why” this is happening or “why” God would do/allow such a thing. The best approach is that of the apostles: ask Jesus (which means we need to pray) and then listen to his answer (which also means we need to pray).

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Please note, there will be no Saturday 4:30pm HFC Mass on May 14th, nor will there be 3pm confessions, due to First Communion going on in church. Also, beginning the weekend of June 11-12, we will be moving to a summer Mass schedule: Saturday 4:30pm UC, Sunday 7:30am UC, 9am UC, 10:30am UC, and Noon HFC. This will run through Labor Day. 

As I mentioned last week, on Saturday, May 14th our seminarian Kevin Gregus will be ordained a deacon at Mundelein Seminary along with four of his classmates. Deacon Kevin will be with us for the summer and you’ll see him assisting and preaching at Masses and Monday Adoration. Kevin’s first Mass as a deacon will be the 10:30am Upper Church Mass on Sunday, May 15th. Congratulations, Kevin. We next look forward to your priesthood ordination in May 2023!

Also, a reminder we will be fortunate to have four Chicago seminarians (Kevin Gregus, Dan Korenchan, Martin Nyberg, and Tim Berryhill) staying at the SPC rectory from now until the middle of August while they complete their summer assignment (hospital chaplaincy). Lee Noel will be home in Wyoming over the summer. Deacon Dan Korenchan (Kevin’s classmate) will also be preaching at SPC at weekday Masses. When the seminarians are not covering shifts at the hospital, we’ll be attempting to live a communal life of prayer and fraternity together, and they’ll try helping out around the parish in whatever ways they can.

May Crowning for the school is this Wednesday, May 18th at 1:30pm in the upper church. This is always one of the highlights of the year, and congratulations to the 8th and 2nd graders who will be participating in a special way in the ceremony. Please note, the students will not be attending the 8:30am Tuesday Mass this week.

Unfortunately the war in Ukraine does not seem to be going away, so we will be holding a special SPC Ukraine Prayer Service on Wednesday, May 25th. Please save the date and come pray with us. There will be two services: at 4pm and 7:30pm. The kids and adult choirs will perform, in addition to offering prayers and the rosary. I’m grateful to the Pastoral Council and the SPC School for working together to assist our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe.

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)