Fr. James' Letters

June 18, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

God has a very proud moment as father over the nation of Israel in our first reading from Exodus. He tells the people in the desert they are very special to him. Then he gives them a gift. He says, “you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.” The Israelites might have been a little disappointed when they heard that. They might have been expecting something a little fancier. Priesthood is great, sure, but how about you make us great warriors? Or make us rich? Or at least give us some decent food, like those pork sandwiches we were able to eat back in Egypt? It’s like the kid in the 1940s receiving a war bond from his dad on his birthday instead of a bicycle.

Nope. Kingdom of priests. That’s the reward. That’s the best gift, in God’s eyes.

When Jesus calls the twelve apostles in our Gospel, he too is giving them the gift of being a “kingdom of priests.” They are to do what priests do. They are to preach (“make the proclamation: ‘the kingdom of God is at hand’”) and they are to “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.”

This obviously excites me because I’m a priest and I think the priesthood is great. I love God and I love praying and I love bringing God to all of you. I love facilitating your soul’s union with God. That’s what a priest does.

But that’s just me. Others, like the Israelites thought in the desert, might think being a priest isn’t so great. Or, at least, there would be better or more practical things to be. The Israelites in the desert were struggling to find food and water. Being a priest might not have seemed a high priority.

But being a priest is a priority. I’m now talking not only about myself, but about all of you who are baptized into the priesthood of Christ. You all are called to love God and to bring the love of God to others. That is what will save our struggling city, our struggling country, our struggling world. That is the gift God wants to give all of you because he loves you so much.

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Happy Father’s Day to all the men in our parish. Thank you for your sacrifices and for your model of holiness. May Saint Joseph be your guide for how to truly shepherd your families and lead them to Jesus Christ.

Vacation Bible School begins this Monday, June 19th. I hope it is a fruitful time for our children and leaders. Thank you to Anna Mae Parkhill and her team for organizing this camp.

Please join me this Wednesday, June 21st for the Scripture Seminar at 9am in the Holy Family Chapel. We’ll have coffee, donuts, and an in-depth dive into the sacred text. Feel free to stay as long as you can, and it’s okay if you’ve missed previous weeks (or will miss future weeks). The sessions are not dependent on each other.

A reminder our next Teen Mass will be Sunday, June 25th at 5pm in the Holy Family Chapel. All rising freshmen in high school through rising freshmen in college are welcome. We’ll serve pizza from Holt’s afterwards.

I have been away this past week on silent retreat and am set to return this Tuesday. I’ve been away from email and outside communication (I wrote this bulletin letter before leaving), so I’m grateful for you all and the staff for keeping the parish running.

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