Fr. James' Letters

September 18, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

When I was named pastor of Saint Juliana six years ago, my first time being pastor, I felt a lot of pressure. It was all self-imposed. I was 29-years old, it was a big responsibility, and I was afraid of failure. I didn’t want to disappoint or hurt the people I was serving, and likewise the Cardinal who appointed me. I found myself like the dishonest steward from our Lord’s parable today, who says to himself, “What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg” (Luke 16:3). If I fail at pastor, I thought to myself, what will I do with the rest of my life? Ah, yes, my ego was causing me much heaviness in those days.

Now, I’m not saying I “succeeded” at Saint Juliana. I don’t even know if there’s such a thing as “success or failure” as a pastor. And, if there is, I very well could have failed (I’m sure there are people who would nod in agreement that I did!). And I could very well be failing right now as pastor of Saint Paul of the Cross!

But say there is the possibility of “failure.” And say I did fail then. And say I’m failing now. What does that leave me?

Even if you fail, James, you’ll never lose me.

I remember clearly having that message from God in prayer. Yes, even if I mess up and blow this, and have everything taken away from me, God will still and always be with me, wherever I am and in whatever position I hold. And God is ultimately my greatest desire, not having some position or whatever. So, there is nothing to fear.

That insight removed the pressure from me. It gave me freedom to focus on loving God and serving his people, and not worrying about my own status or position. The dishonest steward would have been better off if he clung not to his position of power but to God; if he acted not out of fear, but out of freedom.

If you similarly have fear or pressure or heaviness around something, particularly in a role or position you have (e.g., being a parent, a leader in work, a volunteer), know that God is all you need and you can never lose him. And if you and I are reduced to ‘begging and digging’ because we fail, not only will God be there with us, he’ll be with us in an even more intimate way!

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This weekend is the Knights of Columbus Tootsie Roll drive. Thank you for supporting our Knights as they help out local charities. Our KofC Council is a great group of men that do much for our community. One of their biggest efforts is to support our seminarians. Every year the Knights cut a $500 check to each of our seminarians, which goes a long way, as our seminarians are poor college kids, essentially. Men of the parish, if you’d like to get more involved with your faith and have also some service component, consider joining our Knights. Thank you to Robbie Gawronski, our Grand Knight, for his leadership.

Also, another reminder for the That Man is You (TMIY) men’s spiritual group which meets currently on Monday evenings, another great group of guys and another way to share and support each other. You can be part of all three: Knights, TMIY, and our parish Men’s Group.

And for women there is the Wednesday evening Walking with Purpose group, another amazing group of women who likewise reflect on Scripture and share and support one another.

For now we are going to stick with the weekend Mass schedule as we’ve been having: Saturday 4:30pm UC, Sunday 7:30am UC, 9am UC, 10:30am UC, and Noon HFC. We’ll continue to evaluate if we need to add more Masses, but right now we seem to be doing fine.

Also for now we’re going to hold off on resuming the Monday Evenings of Prayer. I’m praying about what other spiritual activity to perhaps add or how to tweak this. I still encourage you all, especially those who enjoyed praying Monday evenings, to visit our Perpetual Adoration Chapel and even sign up for a committed adorer time slot.

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)