Fr. James' Letters

January 22, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

I love walking. I know many of you do too. Maybe not so much in this weather, but, in general, walking is an activity I enjoy. I prefer walking much more to running, and yet I run more than I walk. Oh well, maybe I’ll figure that out some day.

“God has glorified the seaward road,” we hear in Isaiah (Isaiah 8:23). Ah, the seaward road. What a beautiful image. This is the road out of Eden and into Galilee; out of Eden and into Park Ridge or Chicago or wherever you might be.

The same verb for Jesus 'walking' by the Sea of Galilee in the Gospel is used in the Book of Genesis when God is 'walking' in the Garden after Adam and Eve have fallen. It's not as if God is strolling and happens upon our first parents. No. God is walking with intent. He knows what he wants. Just as God “walked” down to earth and brought light into it, Jesus, the Light of the World, walked into the land “covered in darkness and gloom” (Isaiah 9:1) and brightened it. And then our Lord walked to these fishermen struggling in their trades and struggling in their lives; hiding, much like Adam and Eve were after the fall. Jesus walks with intent to the four brothers. He's not there to banish them from paradise, but to invite them into it. He’s there to smash their burdens like those clay pots were smashed on the “day of Midian” (Isaiah 9:3).

The end of the first reading makes a reference to this military defeat of Gideon of the Midianites (cf. Judges 7). With only 100 men, Gideon, one of the ancient judges, is able to disperse an enemy army of many thousands. The Israelites, at Gideon’s command, smash a clay pot holding a light, blow a horn, and then yell out, “A sword for the Lord and Gideon!” We then read this in the sacred text: “They all remained standing in place around the camp, while the whole [enemy] camp fell to running and shouting and fleeing” (Judges 7:21). The Israelites leisurely walk into victory, walk into their homeland.

I enjoy walking because I’m better able to take in my surroundings. When I’m running I’m focused on trying not to die. I walk more prayerfully than I run, and I often imagine Christ walking beside me.

That’s one of the other nice things about walking. It’s easier to walk with people. Unless someone is really power-walking, or there is a big age gap between the walkers, you generally can walk alongside the individuals. There is greater disparity between runners.

“Be united in the same mind and in the same purpose,” Paul is urging the Corinthians. It’s almost as if he’s telling them, “walk together. Don’t, some of you, run on ahead of the others.” The goal is to stay together and walk with Christ by our side.

The Gospel ends with the image of Christ walking around Galilee. He eventually finished this walk, but I imagine he walks still in Heaven. He walks with a large group around him, and he’s waiting for us to join him.

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Our Adoration Chapel will be having new, hopefully temporary, hours. It will be closed each day from 11pm until 5am. Unfortunately we do not have enough committed adorers for these overnight hours. Additionally, for safety reasons, we would like to have at least two committed adorers during these periods. If you aren’t already signed up for an hour, please consider reaching out to our Adoration Team. Or please spread the word to those you know. We’ll do our best to reopen overnight once we have enough coverage. I’m grateful to our Adoration Team and all of the committed adorers. This is an absolutely wonderful ministry we have at our parish and a great source of blessing for our community.

This Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evening is First Reconciliation for our second graders. Congratulations, children and parents, and thank you to all the teachers and catechists who have prepared our students.

This Thursday at 7:30pm is the next Candlelight Rosary in the main church. Friday is the Men’s Club Bocce party. And TMIY is starting up again. The picture below is Father Nick and I at a TMIY small-group social.


The 2023 Annual Catholic Appeal is soon approaching. Our parish has been incredibly generous with this appeal, and I thank you for your support. Our goal this year is $142,718. Last year our goal was $123,960. We raised $203,793. The $79,833 we raised over our goal was returned to Saint Paul of the Cross. The $123,960 went to the Archdiocese to help support all the ministries the Archdiocese performs (e.g., helping schools and parishes in need, support for migrants and refugees, funding Catholic Relief Services, etc.). The Cardinal is very grateful for our parish’s support. He wrote this: “Father Wallace, in the name of many people who benefit from the Annual Catholic Appeal, I express my deep gratitude to you and your parishioners for their support of this important annual campaign. I promise you and the people of St. Paul of the Cross that I will remember all of you in my prayers and Masses.”

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