Fr. James' Letters

August 7, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

This past Thursday (August 4th), we celebrated the feast of Saint John Vianney, the patron saint of priests and known as the Cure d’Ars (see picture below). He is a saint near and dear to my heart, and to the hearts of many parish priests. In fact, if you go into the sacristy here at Saint Paul of the Cross, you’ll see a little statue of Vianney (thank you, Mary Gail, for the gift!). We also have a statue of Vianney in the priest quarters of the rectory (thank you, my Aunt Eleanor!), along with a relic of his.

When Jesus says at the beginning of our Gospel, “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom,” (Luke 12:32), I can’t help but think of John Vianney. This very humble, hard-working, and loving parish priest was given the kingdom. Vianney owned very little. He slept on a straw mattress, ate nothing but a few boiled potatoes a day, spent hours on end in the confessional, and was pastor of a small rural church. His bishop and brother priests (at least initially), didn’t think much of him. In the eyes of the world, Vianney had nothing. But we know better. Vianney had everything. He possessed Jesus. He possessed the kingdom. Priest or not, that’s the position we want to be in. 

Let me leave with you a prayer Saint John Vianney himself composed, his “Prayer of Love”: 

I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until my last breath. I love You, O infinitely lovable God, and I prefer to die loving You rather than to live for a single moment without loving You. I love You, O my God, and I long for heaven only to know the bliss of loving You perfectly. I love You, O my God, and I only fear going to hell because there I will never experience the sweet consolation of loving You. O my God, if my tongue is not able to say at every opportunity that I love You, at least I want my heart to repeat it to You as many times as I take a breath. My God, give me the grace of suffering out of love for You, of loving You while I suffer; give me the grace of one day breathing my last breath out of love for You and at the same time feeling how much I love You. The closer I come to my final end, the more I beseech You to intensify and perfect my love for You. Amen.

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This Sunday is Donut Sunday and New Parishioner Sign-up. Please stop by the gym anytime throughout the morning, beginning after the 7:30am Mass. Thanks to Barb and her team for the donuts, and to Maria and her team for registering and welcoming new parishioners.

And a continued thanks to all who have inquired about volunteering either with our wedding ministry, bereavement ministry, and Eucharistic ministers to the homebound and sick ministry. This is a great way to serve our Lord and one another. We have already such a great group of dedicated volunteers in these important ministries, and we’re all so grateful for your good work.

While on the theme of giving thanks, thank you to all who have contributed to our food pantry, be it dropping off supplies or being present at the Saturday morning distribution… as well as all those who have been tending their garden plots in the parish garden. I’m still waiting for someone to grow hops and/or cigar tobacco leaves! Just kidding… this is produce for the poor, not the “poor” (as in “pathetic”) pastor.

Finally, RCIA is beginning to pick up. We have a wonderful program here, led by Beshar, so if you know someone who is interested in becoming a Catholic or needs to complete their sacraments, please reach out to us. We were blessed to bring in nearly a dozen new people into the Church this past Easter vigil.

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