Fr. James' Letters

January 15, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

“I saw the spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him,” says John the Baptist when describing Jesus whom he had baptized. Very interesting. One of the signs of the Messiah was that the spirit remained upon the man.

It is one thing to receive the spirit, it is another thing to retain the spirit. It’s like the scene in Seinfeld when the car rental company didn’t have a car for Jerry though he had made a reservation. “Anyone can take a reservation,” says Jerry. “It’s holding the reservation that’s the important part.”

Or think of reading. We can read all we want, but do we retain the information?

Jesus was God and the Holy Spirit stayed with him. If we are to be Christians and imitators of Christ, then we too are called to have the Holy Spirit abide with us. Always. Not just when we’re praying in the chapel. All the time – at work, exercising, eating, doing errands, and so forth. This is how we become spiritual people.

How does this happen? Well, the Holy Spirit is a gift to us. We don’t shoot the dove down from the sky and tie him up in our pocket. The Father gives the Spirit to us. And the Father allows the Spirit to remain with us… if we ask.

That can be one of our personal prayers today, this week, this year. Father, send me the Holy Spirit, the consoler. Please help me be open and docile and calm so that the Spirit will remain with me always. And when I flinch and he flies away, may it be only temporary. Give me the grace to return to you and for the Holy Spirit to come back to me.

It’s not just pirates that can have birds remaining on their shoulders.

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This Tuesday is the next edition of The Word on the Street Event. We will be back at Harp and Fiddle (in a bigger space!) at 7:30pm, and Father Nick and I will be tag-teaming this presentation on why we should pray.

Also this Tuesday at 7pm in the Holy Family Chapel is a First Communion parent meeting.

I want to give a shout out to so many of you who demonstrated your generosity during the holiday season, not just towards the parish itself, but to the needy and less fortunate. In particular, I’d like to highlight the work of our AOW guilds, which donated blankets, food, and clothing to the poor, and decorated small Christmas trees at the Avantara Nursing Home and Park Ridge Care Center. The Christmas Care bags project also collected and distributed over 850 bags this year from donations from you all and SPC students. Thanks to the AOW and to all of you.

Next Saturday, January 21st the AOW will “host” the 4:30pm Mass. Members from the AOW will read and serve as Eucharistic Ministers, and there will be a special blessing at the end. Following Mass all are invited to the Kinane Center for a light reception.

On the theme of gratitude, I once again want to give a well-deserved note of appreciation to both the bereavement ministers and wedding coordinators. I can’t say enough about how helpful these fine individuals are, both to the priests and to the families, be it a couple with the wedding or a family grieving the loss of a loved one. If you are interested in being part of one of these ministries, please reach out to Nick Testa from the parish office.

Also, we are restarting our Pre-Cana wedding ministry here at the parish. We already have a core team of married couples in place, but if this is something else that might be of interest to you to help with (working with couples as they prepare for marriage), please also reach out to Nick Testa.

Finally, please see the note on page 8 regarding the Perpetual Adoration Chapel. We are in dire need of committed adorers during the overnight hours. Please spread the word so we can keep our chapel open not only all day but all night.

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