Fr. James' Letters

April 9, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

I’ve been intrigued the last few years by the women present at the Crucifixion of our Lord, his burial, and then his resurrection. We know, of course, about Mary Magdalene, who was the first to see the Lord on Easter Sunday morning. We also hear, in Mark’s Gospel, about Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, who “bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.” I’ve labeled these ladies “the Spice Girls.”

Bringing spices to the Lord. What an idea. We all have a little “spice” within us – something unique, something creative, something beautiful. That is a gift. Have you ever thought of giving it to the Lord? The way you can give your spice to the Lord is saying, when you’re in prayer, something like this: 

“Lord, thank you for this unique gift you’ve given me [name the gift]. I return it to you. Whatever glory and satisfaction may come from it, I lay it before you. May it anoint your body and perfume your way as you walk away from the tomb out into the world.”

I gave a homily last year about the Easter Spice Girls. A very sharp and creative parishioner reminded me after Mass of “Wannabe,” one of the songs of the Spice Girls. I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard or listened to the song since grade school. [I put ear plugs in when the seminarians blast Spice Girls music in their individual rooms.]

The opening line of the song goes, “Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want…” And then one of the lyrics: “If you wannabe my lover, you gotta get with my friends.” Finally: “If you wannabe my lover, you have got to give. Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.”

Imagine Christ saying this. He’s telling you what he wants. He wants to be your lover. Part of being his lover is getting with his friends: the saints, the Blessed Mother, the Church. They all gave their spice to the Lord. May we do so too this Easter. 

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Congratulations to our RCIA candidates and catechumens, who entered the church on Saturday at the Easter Vigil: Maggie Nolten, Kamron Chamberlain, Qiwei Chen, Brianna Avery, Addison Latko, Tara Pinter, Brenda Lyons, Carmen Lemus. We thank Beshar Bahjat, the leader of RCIA, who, along with his team, has worked so hard for these individuals all year.

Thank you to all who made the Triduum and Easter services beautiful. Deacon Bob and Deacon Andy, who prepared the liturgies, the altar servers, the sacristans, the ushers, the Knights of Columbus (honor guard on Holy Thursday and Good Friday), the set-up crews for the gym, the musicians, the schedulers, the lectors and EMs, and Father Nick and his team of church decorators, who once again have made our church look spectacular.

As I mentioned last week, we are planning to reopen the Holy Family Chapel for some Masses, particularly a dedicated children’s Mass. Thank you to those who have volunteered to assist. If you are interested in helping, particularly with the music, please reach out to me. 

For those of you who have been reading the daily Lenten reflections, I’ve included a final week of my written reflections, this one for Easter. You can find it inside the bulletin, starting on page 10, and on our website.

Finally, a blessed Easter to all of you and your families. I hope you have a wonderful day and a wonderful Easter season. If you’re traveling, be safe; if you’re visiting from out of town, welcome. Thank you for all your contributions of late, particularly to our Lenten Almsgiving Project for the poor in Cuba, and for our special Easter Appeal. 

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