Fr. James' Letters

February 5, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

Nothing makes my heart feel better than service. Sometimes I can get too much in my own head: thinking about my needs and my issues and my desires and yadda, yadda, yadda. Because I’m complicated and foggy, too much time in my head makes me feel like I’m in darkness. If I can break out of myself and go be with someone and, even better, go serve someone, then that darkness vanishes. I stop thinking about myself and stop fretting about what I don’t have. I instead look to God and to others. I’m able to be impacted by them and see the beauty of life.

Parents are experts at sensing this in their children. When the boy or girl is spending too much time alone in their room or playing video games, or when they’ve been complaining a lot, they’ll order them to do some chores. It breaks the doldrums.

As I mentioned last week, my priesthood is a gift. It’s my salvation. God, as a good Father, knows when I’m getting too selfish. He’ll tap me on the shoulder and say, ‘James, go visit that individual in the hospital’ or ‘James, stop moping around and go pay a visit to one of the classrooms’ or ‘go offer a holy hour for a person you know is struggling’ or ‘empty the dishwasher.’

The prophet Isaiah says when we do kind deeds, “[our] light shall break forth like the dawn, and [our] wound shall quickly be healed.” Our wound of insecurity and our wound of longing is healed by our being with others and serving them. We see it’s not about us.

Paul gives us one of the most excellent lines in all of Sacred Scripture this weekend: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

Yes, it is important to know ourselves. We need to be self-aware so we can grow and give our hearts over to God in love. But the journey doesn’t end with self-knowledge and personal growth. Knowing Christ is the far better journey. When we serve others, we are seeing Christ and we are, in an indirect way, coming to know him. Christ reveals himself in other people. I’ve always said that I learned the most in seminary not from books or from a class, but from being with other people, particularly my friends.

It’s pretty dreary these Chicago February days. You might ask God to show you how you can go out and be with someone and serve them. We could use some light.

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Today is Donut and New Parishioner Sign-up Sunday over in the gym after all the Sunday morning Masses.

The Pastoral Council has a meeting this upcoming Tuesday, February 7th and Friday, the CRUX teen group will have Friday Night Lights at Mary, Seat of Wisdom at 7pm.

A reminder that the 2023 Annual Catholic Appeal is underway. Thank you to those who have already sent in your pledge envelopes and donations. This is a big effort from the Archdiocese and our own parish to raise significant funds to support the ministries throughout the city and suburbs. We have a hefty goal, but we’ve been so generous in the past in meeting and surpassing this goal.

I ask for your help again in accomplishing this work of charity for our local community. God bless you for your sacrifices.

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