Fr. James' Letters

October 1, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

A parishioner recently gave me the book, The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur (thank you, Mary!). I enjoyed reading this saintly woman’s diary. If you’re not familiar with Elisabeth Leseur (don’t worry, I wasn’t really either), she was a married woman from France who lived from 1866-1914. Her marriage to her husband Felix was a happy one except for one fact: Felix was an atheist. Elisabeth was a devout Catholic, so this was a strain on her. But she never said anything to her husband. In fact, her husband really had no idea how hard this was for Elisabeth until after she died and he read her diaries. Felix was so moved by what he read, that not only did he convert to Catholicism, he became a Catholic priest. He was eventually responsible for publishing her diary and letters.

Elisabeth prayed to God to make her quiet suffering and her silence a “living preaching of the Gospel.” God was faithful. Her life indeed was. Elisabeth never saw it while she lived, but many people did come to the love of Christ because of her life. A friend of Elisabeth wrote this:

“Elisabeth had in recent years a profound influence on me and my ideas; and this was unknown to herself, for she never attempted to convert me or even to approach the question of religion. But what I saw of her was so beautiful!"

Not only did Elisabeth suffer these emotional pains of her friends and family being far from the faith, she suffered physically tremendously. She was bedridden the last few years of her life before dying painfully of cancer. But she never stopped loving God and never showed any outward signs of frustration or despair. She wrote this resolution in her diary: “Silence in regard to my trials, silence about my interior life and what God has done unceasingly for me, silence about my soul and all supernatural things, about my hopes and my faith. I believe it is my duty in awaiting the divine hour to preach Jesus Christ only through my prayers, my sufferings, and my example.”

I’m sure Elisabeth was tempted to complain like we hear in Ezekiel in our first reading: “The Lord’s way is not fair!” But she remained silent. This act of silence was far more effective in evangelizing than speaking out. This was another prayer of Elisabeth in her diary entry from February 27, 1906: 

"May others see in me only that which can bring them comfort or do them some good, and may Thou alone, my God, know the silent battles in my will and my heart."

Many people struggle with the waywardness of their family members, their neighbors, their political leaders, their country. Many aren’t sure how to “evangelize” them. Elisabeth gives us a good example. It’s not your words. It’s your silence, your prayer, and your love.

 ---------- + ----------

The feast of Saint Francis of Assisi is this week which means we will have our annual pet blessing on Tuesday, October 3rd at 3:30pm in the parking lot. Dogs, cats, turtles, goldfish, gerbils, pigs, chimpanzees, and so forth are all welcome.

October is a month dedicated to both our Blessed Mother and to the rosary. This Tuesday, October 3rd will be the Candlelight Rosary at 7:30pm in the church. The Knights of Columbus will gather in Hodges Park next week on Saturday, October 14th at 10am for the Rosary in the Park.

We continue our Wednesday Scripture Seminar at 9am in the Holy Family Chapel this week.

Starting this weekend, October 1st, we will be reintroducing the Precious Blood at all of our weekend Masses. We will have two chalices located up front closest to the altar off to the side. If you are interested in becoming a Eucharistic Minister, particularly a minister of the chalice, please consider signing up. We could use you, as we’ll only be able to distribute the chalice when we have enough Eucharistic Ministers signed up.

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.

E-Newsletter Signup!

Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

View Larger Map

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