Fr. James' Letters

March 12, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

I always pictured in my mind the scene of Moses striking the rock to produce water (our first reading) as a downward blow. That is, the rock was on the ground, like a boulder, and Moses plunged his staff to the earth. The rock then burst water like a geyser or a fire hydrant. But then I looked recently at a painting of the scene by the famous Italian painter, Jacopo Tintoretto, from 1563 (see image below). The rock in this illustration is more like a cliff hanging above and Moses is striking upward. The rock wall bursts turns into, more or less, a waterfall. People collect the water pouring down from bowls, as opposed to scooping it up from the geyser scenario.

It might not seem like a big difference, but the Tintoretto depiction more resembles the Crucifixion. Christ, as you all know, was pierced in the side by the Roman Centurion, Longinus. Blood and water poured out from our Lord’s heart. The people at the foot of the cross may not have caught the stream in bowls like the Israelites did in the desert, but Christ’s water and blood certainly fed and nourished the earth.

The waterfall-flow also connects with the scene of Christ with the Samaritan woman by the wall. The woman is collecting water from a well – water in the ground. She is pulling the water up. She is working to have her thirst quenched. Christ is the true and living water. He pours himself out from above to her. She does not need to work for this water. All she needs to do is stand under and receive. The woman will then summon her townsfolk to stand under this living waterfall and likewise be nourished forever. She is able to convert the entire town. Like a town will flock to the local swimming pool on a hot summer day to be relieved, so too does this starved and craving town go to Christ.

There’s a lot of ways to be fed in society; a lot of ways to have our thirst quenched. But none of those ways will ultimately satisfy. It’s like drinking salt water. We’ll soon be thirsty. In fact, we’ll be even thirstier. And those ways of drinking what the world offers is like scooping up the water from the ground. Sure, it’s water, but it’s dirty from the earth and requires more effort.

Being fed by Christ is the best and lasting and healthiest way. We’re fed by him when we stand under the faucet that is his pierced side. Our beautiful crucifix in the church demonstrates it best. Notice the slit in Jesus’ side when you next look at the crucifix. The living water flows down into the altar and into the Eucharist, and as we receive communion at Mass in the aisles of church, we are being given that necessary water.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, one of my sacrifices for Lent is the forsaking of adult beverages, including coffee. I’m not drinking much these days other than water. I am drinking a lot from the Living Water, and I’ve never felt better. You should try it.

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We continue this Monday with our Lenten Monday Evenings of Prayer, starting with Eucharistic Adoration in the church at 6pm. Deacon Bob Bulger will give the talk on prayer at 7pm. We will also have Stations of the Cross on Friday at 7pm. And, a reminder, the booklet of daily reflections for Lent can be found inside the bulletin here as well as on our website.

The SPC Men’s Club will be meeting this Thursday, March 16th at Tavern on the Point for a March Madness social.

The annual CRUX Teen Retreat is this Saturday, March 11th. Please say a prayer for the many teens who will attend the retreat, as well as the teen and adult leaders. May all involved grow closer to our Lord.

Congrats to all involved with the SPC School “Roundball Tournament, which ended this Sunday. The players and coaches and parents all worked very hard to put on a great event.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day this Friday. Praise God for the man Saint Patrick, who brought Christ to the Irish people and is a wonderful example on how to love and serve God.

Daylight Savings is this Sunday. Be sure to set your clocks ahead one hour.

Yours 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

All in Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 am

8:30 am


8:30 am - weekday Mass

4:30 pm - vigil


7:30 am

9:00 am

10:30 am

12:00 pm