Fr. James' Letters

January 1, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

I can’t believe I’m going to invoke this artist/song, but here goes nothing (gulp)…

Cher has a song “If I could turn back time.” One of the refrains goes, “If I could turn back time, if I could find a way… I’d take back those words that have hurt you, and you’d stay. If I could reach the stars, I’d give them all to you. Then you’d love me, love me, like you used to.”

No need to turn back time. Turn to Mary.

We can’t grasp the actual stars. But we can grasp the “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1).

We all have moments in the past we regret. None of us is perfect. We don’t have to be haunted by the past. Nor do we have to let the past control the future. If we bring our painful past (be it one particular sin or a phase in our lives) to Mary, she will invoke her son to heal us.

“The Lord let his face shine upon you” (Numbers 6:25). Mary tills the soil of our souls when we pray with our past. She then summons down her Son to enrich our soul. New seeds of life are planted within us.

Okay, now please replace the image of Cher in your mind with our Blessed Mother. Don’t hum “If I could turn back time” (though, I’ll admit, it’s a catchy tune). Hum Gentle Woman or Immaculate Mary. And have a blessed 2023.

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Happy New Year to all. Today, Sunday, January 1st, is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. We will have the regular weekend Mass schedule, the only difference being that the noon Mass will be in the upper church. Because Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, the feasts are a little different than usual. Next, Sunday, January 8th will be the Epiphany and the following day, Monday, January 9th, will be the Baptism of the Lord. Last Friday, December 30th was the feast of the Holy Family.

Also, for the time being, due to larger congregations, we are going to keep the Sunday Noon Mass in the Upper Church. I know many of us desire to have Masses in the HFC. Bear with me as we figure out a solution: either tweaking the Mass schedule, adding another Mass time, or something else. For multiple reasons I want to avoid having simultaneous Masses in the UC and HFC. If you have any suggestions please let me know!

The SPC Bible Study will be resuming next week, January 11th and 12th. Please see the advertisement in the bulletin. This course, which will run up until Easter, looks to be very interesting. It will cover more of the history and background of the Bible. Thanks to all who attend the Bible Study and to George and Suzanne Kirkland for organizing. Please consider joining the group if you haven’t already.

The Monday Evenings of Prayer we held during Advent are once again on hold. But we will resume them in Lent.

Another thank you to all who helped in so many ways during the Christmas season – the interior and exterior church decorators, the musicians, the servers and sacristans, the ushers, and the parish staff.

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.

If you are away this week on break, safe travels. If you are visiting, welcome!

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