Fr. James' Letters

December 4, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

One of my favorite activities is chopping wood. I’ve mentioned this before, so I apologize if you have heard my defense of the primal pastime.

I enjoy splitting logs with an ax because it is productive on a number of levels. It is good exercise, it allows for nice fires, and it eliminates junk (I’ve been known to not just chop wood, but old pieces of furniture). It also allows me to release my aggression in a way that doesn’t harm a seminarian. Just kidding!

I find myself salivating when I hear John the Baptist saying, “even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10). Ah, the office of prophet and lumberjack… what a wonderful combination.

Advent is a time for chopping wood. Yes, take the ax that is your time in prayer and chop that attachment. Place on the chopping block that TV show you binge, the excess time you spend on your phone, the unnecessary alcohol or sweets you consume, the uncharitable conversation or thoughts you have.

If you’re not comfortable wielding an ax, well, God can do it for you. Just bring to him your attachment. Ask him to eliminate it.

Advent is a season of prayer and simplicity, sort of like Lent. If we do some wood chopping now, we’ll very much enjoy the fire that will burn on Christmas day.

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This Sunday is Donut Sunday and New Parishioner sign-up. Please stop by the gym throughout the morning for a delicious treat. And this month will be even more special… the St. Nick’s Party will be in the gym at the same time. Come by to see St. Nick, who might also happen to be the parish archivist/historian!

The St. Catherine of Siena Guild is bringing back the Christmas Bags Project (formerly the ‘Shoe Box Project’). Members will be present to collect bags filled with gloves, hats, scarves, and warm socks. You can drop your bags off December 6th or 13th from 4pm-7:30pm at the Kinane Center, or at Masses on the weekend of December 10-11th. Thank you for your donations and thank you, guild members, for your charity!

Again, we invite you to join us this Monday for the Advent Monday Evenings of Prayer. We will have Eucharistic Adoration in church from 6:00-7:30pm. There will also be Confessions (beginning at 6:30pm), a talk on prayer (7:15pm), and Benediction (7:30pm).

Thursday is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. We hope you can join us for one of our Masses in church: 6:25am, 8:30am, 12pm, and 7:30pm.

Finally, a reminder to help yourself to our complimentary Advent prayer booklets. There is a simple reflection for each day of Advent.

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