Fr. James' Letters

November 13, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

Last Friday was Veterans Day, and I thought I’d include a reflection on the Folds of the American Flag that I recently read while retyping an old journal of mine (I can’t remember where I came across this, but I wrote it down). This is supposedly the background for when honor guards present the American flag at the funeral of a veteran…

1) The first fold of our flag is the symbol of life. 2) The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life. 3) The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country. 4) The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for his divine guidance. 5) The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, 'Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.' 6) The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. 7) The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our Republic. 8) The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day. 9) The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded. 10) The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born. 11) The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 12) The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, 'In God we Trust.'

Many of you are military veterans. Thank you for your service to our nation. Many of you are spiritual veterans. Thank you for your service to our Church. May God reward you all.

While the above is a beautiful reflection, I would respectfully disagree with the sixth fold. Yes, we pledge allegiance to our country, but our heart fundamentally lies with God. He brought us into this world and we will no longer be Americans (or French or Irish or Italian or Mexican or Chinese or whatever) in heaven. This is why, when the casket enters the church, we remove the American flag and replace it with the funeral pall – the symbol of our baptism.

Jesus was a proud Israelite, just like we are proud Americans. And he foresaw the destruction of his nation (see the Gospel). But he was at peace. Because he knew, as Saint Paul would go on to say, “our citizenship lies in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

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Please join us this Tuesday at 7:30pm at Harp & Fiddle in Park Ridge for The Word on the Street event sponsored by our parish evangelization committee. One of the hopes is simply to talk about the faith in a casual, informal context. And perhaps get the good word out to anyone at the local establishment that evening.

There is a 2nd grade parent Sacrament of Reconciliation meeting this Tuesday at 7pm in the Holy Family Chapel.

A reminder that All Souls Books of Remembrance are located both in the front of the church at the Mary altar and in the vestibule of the church. Please feel welcome to write your loved one’s name and any other intention during this month of the dead for us to include in our prayers.

This Saturday, November 19th is our annual food pantry Thanksgiving dinner giveaway. Once again, Jewel-Osco grocery store (on Busse) has most graciously donated turkeys, boxes of sides, and pies for us to donate to our clients. Thank you, Jewel, and thank you to all the volunteers present to hand out the dinners.

Advent is approaching and we are bringing back a special Monday Evenings of Prayer. For the four Mondays of Advent we will have Eucharistic Adoration in church starting at 6pm.

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