Fr. James' Letters

February 19, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

Lent begins this Wednesday, February 22. On Ash Wednesday we will have Masses at 6:25am, 8:30am, Noon, and 7pm. There will also be a prayer service with ashes distributed at 4pm (UC) and 4:15pm (HFC). Fridays in Lent we will have Stations of the Cross at 7pm. Mondays, beginning February 27th, we will have our Monday Evening of Prayer starting at 6pm with a talk on prayer at 7pm. I hope Lent is a fruitful and prayerful season for you.

To assist you on your Lenten journey I’ve put together a Lenten booklet of daily reflections, like I did for Advent. The “booklet” will be here in the bulletin. See the bottom portion of this letter for this Sunday’s reflection, and then the following pages for the days post-Ash Wednesday. We will put one week’s reflection at a time in each bulletin, so be sure to take a bulletin home with you if you wish to participate. The entire Lenten booklet can also be found on our website.

Congratulations to our 8th graders who received the Sacrament of Confirmation this past weekend. Go forth and bring Christ to the world!

This Monday, February 20, there will be only one Mass at 8:30am for President’s Day. Enjoy the day off from school and work.

Finally, the Archdiocese of Chicago is launching a new endeavor to help revitalize parishes. Every parish will be completing the Disciples Maker Index. This is a survey anyone can fill out, and it is anonymous. The survey will garner feedback on beliefs/attitudes, personal practices, experiences of people with the parish, and it will help the leaders assess where the parish is at and what, perhaps, the parish is being called to do. Please see inside the bulletin for information about filling out the survey. The survey opens on February 22nd.

Your servant in Christ,


Introduction to Lent

"Offer no resistance to one who is evil… Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." Two injunctions from the same Sermon on the Mount. Which is it? Are we to surrender or are we to strive?

Both. We strive to pray. We surrender when we pray. We strive to surrender to the will of God. We strain to listen. We toil to receive. We yield so that we may be used. We work to remain affixed to the cross. Striving and surrendering… welcome to the season of Lent.

Jackson Pollock was a pivotal player in the abstract expressionism movement of the middle 20th Century. The style combined emotional intensity with a certain abandonment. One of Pollock's drip paintings recently sold for $140 million. There is an appeal to this tension.

Not many have heard of Jackson's older brother, also a painter, named Charles Pollock. While Charles' works of the social realist genre may seem quite opposite of his brother's, the painting below, Look Down that Road (1942), does portray a similar passive intensity. The man contemplates both his past and his future, sitting beneath a tree of life under a bright and threatening sky. Christ, Noah, Moses, Elijah, David — all "Forty Day Figures" — entered a similar posture.

"Stand at the crossroads and look," says the prophet Jeremiah. "Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." May we stand at the crossroad. May we sit beneath the tree. The tree may be tortuous, but it is our salvation.


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