Fr. James' Letters

April 30, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

Peter does something that many of us, I think, wish we could do. He converts people. He gets them to change.

This is the context of our first reading this weekend. Peter’s speech at Pentecost to the crowd in Jerusalem is pretty straightforward. “This Jesus is God and we should believe in him,” is what he basically says. And the people listening say, “OK, we will.” We read in Acts of the Apostles: “When [the crowd] heard this, they were cut to the heart and asked Peter, ‘what are we to do?’” Wow, that easy?

We want to cut people to the heart. We want people to be moved out of their previous and, what we think, erroneous way of thinking, and change to the enlightened way. Think about it. Many of us have beliefs that we are convicted by. Yes, some are religious and political beliefs. But even just basic beliefs: how to manage money, what baseball team to cheer for (the Cubs), what’s the best way to eat, how to care for the earth, and so forth.

The source of our frustration and impatience with people is that they don’t see things the way we see them. If only they would change…

Peter gets people to change. What was his trick? Well, it was the Holy Spirit, and it wasn’t really a trick. It was his voice. Peter’s voice was that of God, and only God can cut to the heart.

Jesus gives us today the image of the shepherd. “The sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” Sheep will only follow a voice they are comfortable with. They will only follow the voice of God.

So, if we want people to change to the truth, we might check our voice. Is it us speaking, or is it God speaking? If they’re not listening to us, perhaps it’s because they don’t recognize God in us.

Hence the need for prayer. We don’t need to study up on the issues to be better debaters. We simply need to spend more time with the Lord so that he can exchange his voice and heart with ours. Then people will follow.

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Some of you read my daily reflections for Lent/Easter (and Advent/Christmas). Well, I’ve put together another series for the month of May, focused on Mary. As you’ll read in the Introduction, we can sometimes experience a spiritual drop-off in the Easter season. Hopefully the month of May is a burst of wind in our sails. You’ll find the daily reflections inside the bulletin each week and online. May they assist our prayer and deepen our love for Mary and her son.

Saturday, May 6th is the first round of First Communion. We will have Masses at 10am and 1pm. Next Saturday, May 13th will be the next round of First Communions. Congratulations second graders.

I’m pleased to announce that a Family Mass in the Holy Family Chapel will be starting on Sunday, May 14th at 10:30am in the HFC (the 10:30am UC Mass will still be occurring). For now this will occur every second Sunday of the month (June 11th, July 9th, etc.) at 10:30am. Children will assist with the readings and ushering at this Mass. Everyone of all ages, of course, is welcome to attend that HFC Mass. Thank you to the group of individuals who have helped plan this. If you are interested in being involved, please contact Jennifer Waters at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

And, as Mass attendance continues to increase, we will look into adding more Masses down in the Holy Family Chapel. Stay tuned.

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