Fr. James' Letters

December 25, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

The patron of our parish, Saint Paul of the Cross, wrote this to a confrere in a letter dated December 24, 1767:

"As often as you concentrate yourself in God in the most profound interior solitude, so often there will be celebrated in your inner temple the mystical Divine Birth, and you will be reborn every moment to a godlike life, divine and holy. Let there take place in you the Divine Birth. I have prayed for that for you to the Lord during the holy novena, and I will do so much more during the coming Holy Night from the holy altar. You should do the same for me, who am needy beyond description, and for all our poor Congregation so that there may be a happy outcome, always in accord with the Divine Good Pleasure."

Christ our Savior is born today. Not in those Nativity sets on your lawn or dining room table, as beautiful as those might be. He is born in you, in your soul – “the inner temple” as Paul calls it.

Most of us know the hospitals where we were born. (I was at Evanston Hospital.) Whenever we drive by our birth hospital or hear its name, there is a little quiver in our heart, is there not? Not that we think we’re kings or queens, but that we recognize innately something special about the beginning of our existence.

Your name is being said aloud today. The angels are flying by you. Our Lord’s sacred heart will palpitate at this because he knows you are where he came into this earth in the year 2022.

Just as Paul prayed for his brothers, like we read at the end of his letter, so I pray for you. I pray today, this season, and this year you have the ability to “concentrate yourself in God.” That is, that you spend time alone in prayer with the Lord. Only in this way can Christ be born. And when Christ is born in you, you are reborn. Think of how parents are given new life by their newborn.

Paul, earlier in his life on another occasion a few days before Christmas, wrote this to one of his priests:

"Ah, in spirit, let us take our hearts, and those of all gathered there, and thrust them into the swaddling clothes. What am I saying? That is too little! Let us thrust them into the furnace of the sweet Heart of Jesus so that they melt like wax, 'that they may be made one' and become one single heart in the Holy Heart of the Savior… Meanwhile, prostrate at the feet of all I beg their pardon, and let them ask for me the grace to either die or become holy." (December 19, 1747)

I will pray that you and your loved ones are thrust into the sweet Heart of Jesus today. A most blessed Christmas to you and God bless you for your faith and devotion to our fine parish. Our patron would be very proud.

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Thank you once again to all who contributed to our Christmas celebrations: musicians, sacristans, ushers, servers, schedulers, lectors, decorators, and so forth. And thank you all for your contributions and your presence here in this worshiping community. As I’ve said before, we are blessed with a wonderful parish in a wonderful community.

Tomorrow, Monday, December 26, there will be just one daily Mass at 8:30am. Next Sunday, January 1st, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. The Mass times will be the normal Sunday schedule, other than the noon Mass being in the upper church.

If you missed the booklet we gave away, Advent Reflections, you can find it now on our website. I’ve also added daily reflections for the Christmas season, if you’d like to continue with this way of praying.

Welcome to all visitors and safe travels to those who will be away. Have a wonderful week of Christmas.

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 (UC)