Fr. James' Letters

August 28, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

“Sacrifices and offerings you desire not, but an open ear” (Psalm 40:6).

I read that line from a psalm several years ago and it really struck me. So much so that I wrote it down and recall it frequently. To me it deals with humility and simplicity of mind, a subject of our readings this weekend.

An open ear. Think about what that means. We are able to listen and to receive. We are able to be impacted, influenced, and even changed. That is all God desires.

Sometimes we think we need to do a bunch of stuff to be holy. And sometimes we think we need to have it all figured out to please God. We need to have an opinion (and the right one) on this or that. Why else do we devour the news? We need to be expert arguers, defenders, or apologists. We need to be quick-witted and opinionated. We need to know.

We don’t. Those are the “sacrifices and offerings.” God doesn’t want those. He wants an open ear. He wants us. He wants our hearts, not our thoughts on particular matters.

This is one way we can be humble. This is one way we can “take the lower place at the table,” to use the image from our Lord’s parable.

It’s something I work on myself, and I find it actually quite freeing and rewarding. What are my thoughts on political affairs or international affairs or ecclesiastical affairs? I don’t know. I just try to have an open ear.

Yes, we can be informed and we are entitled to opinions, but if your information or opinion is placing you “at the head of the table” - everyone else is wrong and you’re agitated about their error - then perhaps you’d be better off shutting down the mind and letting it go.

“My heart is not proud, Lord, nor haughty my eyes; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too high for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content” (Psalm 131:1-2).

Our Lord wants to give us peace and joy. I think employing humility when it comes to mental affairs will give us just that!

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As I mentioned last week, please be aware of scammers appearing to be me who will send you an email or text message asking to talk and then asking for gift cards or some other help. Do not respond. If you ever receive a message appearing to be from me, you can double-check by looking at the email address. The only email I would send from is what is listed on the back page of the bulletin. And I don’t send text messages (I’m actually getting rid of my iPhone… a subject for another week), so there you go!

Save-the-date for the SPC at SPC on Saturday, October 22, 2022. That is, Service, Prayer, & Community at Saint Paul of the Cross. This is a little idea we had to bring us all together to pray, socialize, and serve the poor. Following the 4:30pm Mass we will gather outside in the parking lot for an Oktoberfest party. We will pray the rosary together as a community - one of our Respect Life Candlelight Rosaries. The following day a group of us will travel to one of the neighborhoods from where many of our food pantry clients reside to host a BBQ for them in person and serve them. More details to come!

Speaking of the Candlelight Rosary, the next one will be this Tuesday, August 30th at 7:30pm in the church. Thank you to Cecilia Klein and the Respect Life Committee, as well as the Contemporary Choir, for making this event so beautiful and prayerful.

Congratulations to teachers, parents, and students on a successful first week of school. It’s been great to have everyone back and see all the smiling faces. As I mentioned previously, due to our large school enrollment (over 730 students) we will from now on have a separate school Mass. The students will not be present at the regular 8:30am daily Mass. Back-to-School Night is this Thursday, September 1st.

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)

12:00 pm (HFC)