Fr. James' Letters

May 29, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

I have a vivid memory of my dad waking me up as a child very early one morning. That almost never happened. Something was wrong. I was eight years old. It was 1993. My dad came to my bedside, gently shook me awake, and, in a very serious and somber tone said, “James, Michael Jordan retired.”

I look back on this now and laugh. But at the time I was sad, confused, and, when it finally dawned on me, distraught.

Now, we know how the story ended. Jordan came back and the Bulls went on to win three more championships. I have equally vivid memories of those amazing Bulls playoff games from around this time of year in 1996, 1997, 1998. And the joy of the memories from those subsequent wins far outweighs the grief from the news of the retirement.

I’m writing this all tongue-in-cheek. This is, as you might guess, a metaphor for the experience of the Ascension that we celebrate today. Christ “retired” from the earth. The apostles were sad, confused, and distraught. The angel even needs to tell them to stop looking up at the sky and move on.

But the grief from the Ascension did not last long. “I’m back” came as they returned to Jerusalem: “[they] returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God” (Luke 24:53). And then again at Pentecost (though this is where the Jordan metaphor breaks down, as the third return to the Wizards was not joyful). And then again with the spread of the church. And again and again. 

In the spiritual life, grief and confusion almost always gives way to joy and holiness. We just have to be sure we pray through our grief.

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Happy Memorial Day. God bless all the men and women who gave their lives in service of our nation and of freedom. And God bless all of our veterans and those who presently serve in our armed forces, as well as all of our first responders. You are loved and appreciated.

Please note, this weekend, May 28/29, due to Memorial Day weekend, there will be no HFC Masses on Saturday 4:30pm and Sunday 10:30am. On Memorial Day itself, Monday, May 30th, there will be just one Mass at 8:30am (no 6:25am Mass). And, finally, another reminder that the “summer Mass schedule” will go into effect the weekend of June 11/12.

There will be no Monday Evening of Prayer this Monday nor throughout the rest of the summer. But I encourage you all to maintain your Monday evening spiritual disciplines in our Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel! Next Monday, June 6th, at 7:30pm in the church, there will, however, be a special concert performed by the St. John’s Boys Choir. We are privileged they are making a pit-stop at our parish throughout their worldwide tour!

This is a big week for the SPC 8th graders. Tuesday is their dance, Wednesday their memory dinner, and Thursday their graduation Mass. Our prayers and congratulations to you, 8th graders. Well done on your career and when you go on to do great things in life (become president, pope, manager of the Cubs, etc.), remember Saint Paul of the Cross!

Friday, June 3rd is the SPC School Olympics. Please note, there will be no parking in the main SPC lot that day due to this school event. And that Friday evening is the Young Adult Gathering at 6pm in the Kinane Center, hosted by Martin our seminarian.

Thank you to all who participated in, and planned for, the Ukraine Prayer Service we held last week. We can’t always make sense of evil in the world, but we do know our Lord cares and will somehow bring grace into the situation.

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) - vigil


7:30 am (UC)

9:00 am (UC)

10:30 am (UC)

12:00 pm (HFC)