Fr. James' Letters

March 19, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

The Samaritan woman at the well (last week’s Gospel) and the man born blind (this week’s Gospel) both had conversions and became disciples of Jesus, but their paths to those destinations were slightly different. 

The woman experiences something emotional and very personal with Jesus. This happens when Jesus brings up the situation of the woman’s five husbands. The woman is vulnerable and is touched when Jesus shows her compassion. This emotional healing is what makes her convinced Jesus is the Messiah. It’s what enables her to then speak about Jesus to others, and help them come to a similar conviction.

The man born blind experiences something physical with Jesus – his literal blindness is cured. He’s much more matter-of-fact, then, when talking about Jesus to others. “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see,” he says to the Pharisees when they interrogate him about the miracle. When the Pharisees ask the follow up, “What do you have to say about him since he opened your eyes?”, the man’s laconic reply: “He is a prophet.”

One could imagine the Samaritan woman being quite descriptive and articulate in her case for Jesus to her skeptical townsfolk. She might have shared her own heart and how she felt around Jesus. She would have explained why her interior healing was proof Jesus was the Messiah. The man born blind? He just points to the blunt facts: “One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” Drop the mic and walk away.

Both ways are necessary in the task of evangelization (talking to others about Jesus). Sometimes we need to be like the Samaritan woman. We need to be personal and share our story. We describe what our life was like before Jesus and what it would be like without Jesus. We show some passion when we’re trying to help others see the benefit of believing in God.

Sometimes we need to be like the man born blind. Just point to the facts. There’s a heaven. You want to get there? Believe in God. We all have struggles in this life. You want to be even more miserable? Then don’t believe in God. You want something to change in yourself, in this world? Only God can do it.

Maybe we can pray to both of these saints to help us be evangelists as they were.

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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 Andy Cameron 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.

Join us this Friday, March 24th in the gym for the Lenten Fish Fry sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. It’s a great meal and a great opportunity for some Lenten fellowship. A special thanks to Grand Knight Robbie Gawronski and his team for the event.

This Wednesday, March 22nd is the Candlelight Rosary hosted by the Respect Life committee. That same night is the Archdiocesan Eucharistic Revival prayer session at 7pm at Holy Child Jesus Church (2324 W. Chase Avenue, Chicago, IL 60645).

Thank you to all who have contributed to our Lenten Almsgiving Project. As you’ve seen in the bulletin and in the flyers, our contributions are going to support the church and faithful in Cuba. We were planning this upcoming weekend to first have the Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba present with us to preach on the mission, and then we were going also to have Sr. Leiedy Johanna, a religious serving in Cuba, present as well. But unfortunately those plans were just canceled due to travel restrictions, so we will not have a speaker this year. But please be as generous as you can in this important cause. A special thanks to Adrienne Timm and Catholic Extension for the behind-the-scenes work to make this project possible.

I’ve been speaking with a number of groups and individuals over the months about once again starting Masses down in the Holy Family Chapel, particularly a children’s Mass. If you would be interested in helping with this in whatever fashion (being an usher, organizing something for children, music, etc.) please reach out to me. Stay tuned for more details.

Finally, happy feast of Saint Joseph. Because March 19th falls on a Sunday this year, the actual feast day will be celebrated on Monday, March 20th. Enjoy your zeppole. Thank you, Joseph, for your example of fatherhood.

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

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