Fr. James' Letters

July 24, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

One of these days when I sit down with you personally over perhaps an adult beverage and a cigar, you’ll tell me which saint you resonate with the most. Don’t worry, if no saint immediately comes to mind, we can still get together for that libation. Though I might suggest you take up one of the saints we’ve had, or will have, recently.

Last Friday was the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, one of my favorites. She had an intense longing to be with Jesus and to be close to him. She waits outside his tomb on Holy Saturday, when he has died. She clings to his feet when she sees him alive. It’s a beautiful desire – to want to be with Jesus – and one I pray for in myself and one I pray increases in me and you. Whenever I’m praying and I find my heart is restless or my mind is distracted, thinking about random things, I’ll invoke Mary Magdalene to settle my soul. She was calm and open outside the tomb, and that’s a posture I desire to be in. She was united to our Lord. The Lord’s voice calling her name allowed her to see the risen Lord and receive him anew in her heart. For Saint John it was seeing the empty tomb with the burial cloths rolled up. For Saint Thomas it was seeing and touching the wounds. For Saint Peter it was seeing again a miraculous catch of fish. For Mary, it was the voice of Jesus. Through Mary’s intercession, may we hear Jesus call our names.

Then we have Saint James the Greater, whose feast is tomorrow, July 25th. This is the greatest feast of all… just kidding (sort of). While James doesn’t say much in the Gospels, he witnessed the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead, and the Agony in the Garden. Peter and John were the only others to witness these highs and lows of our Lord’s life. If you are a person of “ups and downs,” peaks and valleys, advances and setbacks, then James could be your man. James saw death in all these three scenes. And he saw life come out of it. If you need hope and trust that the resurrection will happen in whatever area of your life is dead or dying, then may James say an extra prayer for you.

Jesus uses the image of the friend in his parable in the Gospel this weekend. These saints were friends of our Lord and they received abundantly. May we be in their company.

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As I mentioned last weekend, I have been away this week on vacation with my priest friends and will return tomorrow, Monday, evening. Thank you again to Father Nick and the staff for handling the parish while I was away. It was a relaxing trip. Some of you have remarked to me of late I’m looking a tad thin… well, I believe you will see me a little bit heavier on my return! This trip is quite different from my retreat that was last month. And thank you to all who sent gifts and well-wishes for a particular individual’s birthday on a particular saint’s feast day.

Thank you to all who have responded to help be bereavement ministers, wedding coordinators, or ministers of care to the sick/homebound. We could always use more volunteers, so if you are interested in joining one of these very helpful and life-giving ministries, please email Nick Testa from our office.

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 and HFC

12:00 pm UC