Fr. James' Letters

July 10, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

What strikes me about the Good Samaritan on this occasion, praying over the parable (and a lot of things have struck me about the parable over the years, praying with it), is that the Samaritan makes time for the man who is lying beaten and robbed on the side of the road. The Samaritan, I’m sure, was busy. I’m sure he had things to do, places to be. He’s traveling, after all. We all know what it’s like to travel. We’re on a strict time frame, whether it’s with our flight or some other reservation. We don’t have time. We’re in a rush and need to get where we’re meant to be.

The Samaritan, while he had to be somewhere, had a fundamental openness to the present moment about him. He was willing to put aside his plans and tend to the man in need. He might have been late for someone or missed something altogether. I’m sure he did, as, in the story, he spent the rest of that day and the next taking care of the man. We read in Luke, “The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction…” (Luke 10:35). But that’s of no concern to the Samaritan. Taking care of the man right before him is the Samaritan’s focus.

God places unexpected people and events right before us all the time. They can be graces. They can be opportunities to praise God and to personally grow in holiness.

Now, I’m not suggesting we put aside all of our scheduled plans to address every little thing that comes before us unannounced. There is a virtue in scheduling and being both prompt and reliable to our commitments. If we’re always being sidetracked our life will soon grow chaotic and frantic.

What I would suggest, rather, is to ask God for the fundamental openness the Good Samaritan possessed. That’s our starting point. We are open to anything. Our only desire is to do God’s will. From there, we can then discern, as events arise, whether or not we are called to tend to them.

There are plenty of times I haven’t been a Good Samaritan because I’ve judged – in a quick prayer/discernment with the Lord – that the Lord needed me elsewhere; that he needed me to keep going towards my commitment. I remember in Rome walking to my final canon law exam/defense, which was scheduled for a certain time. The board of professors were sticklers about punctuality. I saw in the distance, as I was power-walking to the university and not making eye-contact with the gelato shops, a beggar on the street who I knew wanted to talk. In this scene, I was the “priest” from the parable. I passed by on the opposite side of the road, avoiding the beggar. In a split-second discernment, I knew if I stopped I’d be late for the exam and possibly not satisfy the needs for me to earn the canon law degree (hmm… maybe I should have stopped for the beggar). But I was open to stopping. I discerned what God wanted of me.

Be open to stopping. Be open to passing by on the other side. Either way, make sure you pray about what God is calling you to do.

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This Sunday is Donut Sunday and New Parishioner Sign-Up. We hope to see you over in the gym after the 7:30 am Mass.

Next Saturday, July 16th our parish will have a table at the Taste of Park Ridge Festival. Please stop by or encourage some friends to stop by… you might get a special gift!

As I mentioned in last week’s bulletin, we are looking for more bereavement ministers, wedding coordinators, and ministers of care. Are you looking to be more involved in service in connection to your faith? Perhaps God might be calling you to one of these ministries. Thank you, Margaret, Joyce and Joanne, as well as Adrienne Timm, for all your work in providing these services for our parish. 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]). 

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)