Fr. James' Letters

July 3, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

New Melleray Trappist Abbey, where I was on retreat a couple weeks ago, is somewhat out in the country. Once a day I would try to get some exercise and would go walking or running through the countryside. The rolling hills allowed me to see for miles and miles, and there was nothing but beautiful farmland. I ran through these long, straight roads that cut through the acres beyond acres of corn and soy crops, and I thought to myself, “this is how we are able to feed the earth’s population.” The land gave me a great appreciation for our creation and how God has blessed us. There won’t be a shortage of food. These crops, which I was running through, will go to feed us, or feed animals that will feed us, or go to make machines and technology that will feed us.

Remember from Corpus Christi a few weeks ago when Moses wonders to God how he’s going to feed the 600,000 Israelites in the desert? "But Moses said, 'The people around me include six hundred thousand soldiers; yet you say, 'I will give them meat to eat for a whole month.' Can enough sheep and cattle be slaughtered for them? If all the fish of the sea were caught, would they have enough?' The Lord answered Moses, 'Is this beyond the Lord's reach? You shall see now whether or not what I have promised you takes place" (Numbers 11:21-23).

God provided. We have billions of “Israelites” in the desert today. God will provide. He is providing through this land and our ability to cultivate it.

But then there was one point when I was running through the fields I heard, actually, Jesus speak today’s line from the Gospel: “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Luke 10:2).

Yes, the harvest is (or will be) abundant. But will we be able to gather it in?

Literally this is a question to ask ourselves today. Food prices are increasing. Farming is becoming difficult.

Spiritually this is a question to ask ourselves today. Do we have “laborers” to bring in the “harvest”?

Yes, we need priests and consecrated women and men to help souls encounter Christ. We need you all as well to help with the harvest. One way you can help – one way you can be a ‘laborer’ –  is to pray. Think of a family member or another person and, when you sit down to pray, bring them into your heart. Perhaps recall their struggles and their blessings, see them as God sees them and love them, and then, once they’re in your heart, lift your heart with them in it to God the Father. He will receive you and that individual. This is one way we can bring in the harvest to feed the starving earth.

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Are you looking to be more involved in service in connection to your faith? Perhaps God might be calling you to be a bereavement minister, wedding coordinator, or minister of care to the sick. We have wonderful bereavement (coordinated by Margaret Teich), wedding (coordinated by Joyce Johnson), and minister of care (coordinated by Joanne Stewart) ministries here at Saint Paul. Thank you, Margaret, Joyce and Joanne, as well as Adrienne Timm, for all your work in providing these services for our parish. We are in need of more volunteers. Bereavement ministers work with the family in planning the funeral, wedding coordinators with the bride and groom in the wedding rehearsal and wedding ceremony, and the ministers of care bring Communion to people at nursing homes, hospitals, etc. Please spend some time in prayer if this is something you would find fruitful, for we sure could you use your help. If you are interested in learning more or indeed possibly signing up, please email Nick Testa ([email protected]). 

Next Sunday, July 10th is Donut and New Parishioner sign-up Sunday. We hope to see you in the gym that morning.

Thank you, Natalie Whalen, parishioner, for displaying her wonderful artwork for this week’s bulletin cover.

Have a blessed 4th of July. Please note, there will be only one Mass at 8:30am on Monday, July 4th (no 6:25am Mass).

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) - vigil

Sunday

7:30 am (UC)

9:00 am (UC)

10:30 am (UC)

12:00 pm (HFC)