Fr. James' Letters

July 31, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

I spoke about the saints in my bulletin letter last week, referencing specifically St. Mary Magdalene (July 22) and St. James (July 25). Well, today, July 31st, is the feast day of another monumental saint, and one to whom I also owe a great deal: Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

I had the privilege a couple summers ago to complete a 30-Day silent retreat (if you thought 8 days was long, how about that!) with the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. This was a life-changing experience for me. I knew it was a powerful retreat upon my immediate return from the time away that summer, but I didn't know just how powerful it would be. I still see fruits from that retreat being born in my life.

The retreat begins with a meditation on what Ignatius calls “The Principle and Foundation.” Here is an excerpt from the text: "Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord… for this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things… desiring and choosing only what is most conducive to us to the end for which we are created" (First Week, Principle and Foundation).

Indifferent to all things. To truly love and serve God, we have to have a fundamental detachment from all things. That detachment or indifference doesn’t mean we can’t possess things, but that whether or not we have them, we are fine. All we want is to do the will of God and love and serve him.

A small example in my life of this. I was always a huge Chicago Bears fan. I was not ‘indifferent’ to the Bears. I wanted them to win. If they lost, I was upset and bothered. I very much wanted to watch their games. If I missed the game, I would think about how I could either watch a recording or get a recap. I was attached.

No more. Yes, I am still a Bears fan and it would be nice, sure, if they won. But I’m indifferent now. If they lose, I’m fine. If I miss a game, so be it. I have (I think), a detachment from them and now a freedom. God can call me to be completely busy on Sunday so that I can’t watch one second of a game; God can call me to have some free time after Masses on Sunday afternoon so I can catch part of the game. Either way, my fundamental desire is to praise, reverence, and serve God.

This is a small example, and I’m sure you’re thinking, “Yeah, that’s easy, Father James, to be detached from the Bears… the Bears are bad. Let’s see this ‘principle and foundation’ at work when the Bears become good.”

All I can say to that is my hope and trust is in God, and he will provide. I could also give you more substantial examples of this freedom in other areas of my life, but perhaps over a glass of beer.

Are you indifferent to all things? Don’t worry if you have attachments. It all begins with praying for the desire to be indifferent to all things. God will do the work of actually making you detached, like he did with me for the Bears.

Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians is perfect for this feast. “If you were raised with Christ,” he writes, “seek what is above… for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1,3).

Yes, we want to be dead to the world and hidden with Christ in God. Detachment and indifference is not a burden or a painful reality. It’s quite beautiful. Would you rather be attached to Jesus Christ, the loving savior who will give you the joys of heaven and your happiness, or the Bears? Jesus is where our treasure is.

Saint Ignatius, please pray for me and all the people here at Saint Paul of the Cross, that we may be indifferent to all things and praise, reverence, and serve our Lord and Savior.

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The start of school is on the horizon, both for our SPC school students and teachers, as well as the seminarians, who have been staying with us these past three months. While we’ll still see the seminarians around on the weekend, this will be their last week here at the parish full time. Deacon Kevin will still be around preaching, however, and Martin serving Mass until mid-August.

Please keep Deacon Al Memmel, as well as his family, in your prayers. We had a scare with Deacon Al a few weeks ago, and I hustled over to Lutheran General to say the prayers of the dying. Fortunately Deacon Al recovered, but he is now in hospice as he awaits his entry to the eternal homeland. We are grateful to Deacon Al and his family and I know he would appreciate your prayers and the thoughts of the parish.

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)