Fr. James' Letters

September 25, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

In reading recently an old journal of mine from about ten years ago, I came across this quote from Léon Bloy that I wrote down:

"Such a movement of grace, which saves me from grave peril, could have been determined by an act of love that happened either just this morning or five hundred years ago by someone completely unknown, whose soul mysteriously communicated with mine, and who, in such a way, received his wages.”

When we pray, especially of the intercessory or offertory nature, we don’t always know what happens with those prayers. Indeed, it is likely we will never see the results of our prayers. Maybe our hour of adoration in the chapel this week went to someone suffering 1200 years ago; maybe our rosary yesterday will help someone on the verge of destruction in six months; maybe our Eucharist we receive at Mass today is what allowed Saint Peter to repent after his three-fold denial, and not hang himself like Judas. Who knows.

All we know is that our prayers do indeed serve a purpose and make a difference, both for ourselves and for others. Our prayers can be our act of charity.

The rich man did not give any scraps to Lazarus (today’s Gospel) because he was not an interior man. He never prayed. This is why he and his brothers will not be able to go to Heaven. Not because they are punished, but because Heaven is God. They don’t want God on earth (they don’t pray) so why would they want God in eternity?

These last few years I’ve found myself praying a lot for others. Not so much reading lists of intentions, but, rather, giving my time in prayer – whether it’s an hour of adoration or praying the Breviary as I’m required to do seven times a day – for others. I’ll, deep in my soul, think of you, parishioners, or friends or family members or whoever else I can tell needs a prayer (or those who need a prayer who I have no idea about). And I’ll give them over to God. I’m grateful for this development.

God is good. He will make use of our prayer. Mary is good too. She will make sure we don’t become like the rich man who never prayed and caused others to remain in their suffering.

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Deacon Al Memmel went home to the Lord this past Sunday morning, September 18th. He will be missed, but we are grateful for his many years of service and his witness to the faith. To Deacon Al’s wife, Bette, and family, please know of our prayers and condolences. We are very proud of him and commend him into the hands of God. May he be at rest.

This weekend is the Respect Life Committee Baby Bottle Drive. There will be a brief announcement at all the Masses and individuals from the committee will be present outside church to hand out plastic baby bottles for us to fill with money and return in a few weeks. This is a very worthwhile cause, especially in light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade and our need to continue to support women in crisis pregnancies and their children, both born and unborn.

Another reminder to save-the-date for the SPC at SPC Oktoberfest/Rosary/Service event on Saturday, October 22nd following the 4:30pm Mass in the parking-lot area between the church and school by the playground. Come join us for a free dinner (BYOB… though we will provide some drinks and perhaps cigars) and a rosary at 7pm. If you can bring a gift card or two for us to give to the poor, that would be great as well. Otherwise your prayers are good!

The Men’s Club golf outing a couple weeks ago was a great time (see picture above). Just about all of the golfers beat the priest’s shot on the par-3, but they were all very generous in not taking money from the church. Thank you, men, and thank you to Randy, Joe and all the others who organized the event.

Men, if you are looking to get more involved with your faith, consider joining the That Man is You men’s faith group that meets on Mondays at 7:30pm in the Kinane Center. Women, consider joining both the AOW and/or the Walking with Purpose group that meets Wednesdays at 7:30pm.

Thank you to all who made the School Fun-Run event this past Friday, September 23rd a great success! The pastor needed to ice his shoulder from throwing footballs all day, but it was a fun day.

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