Fr. James' Letters

October 15, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

There are almost three parables in today’s Gospel parable about the wedding guests. The first parable would be the original invitees who decline the invitation. The second parable would be the beggars who are invited. The third parable would be the beggar who is kicked out and tortured because he isn’t wearing the proper attire.

We could see ourselves in all three of these scenarios. First, we are the nobles invited to the banquet but refuse the offer because we prefer to do our own thing. God has given us an amazing invitation to be with him and love him, and we come up with some pathetic excuse to not truly encounter him. Though we might be blessed with our “nobility,” in whatever external form that might be, we actually are losing out. The rich will be poor.

The second scenario is a little more uplifting. We are the beggars who are invited. We do not earn our way to the feast. It is our poverty that is our merit. We accept the invitation and receive the bounty of the king. The poor will become rich.

The third scenario is both happy and sad, a mixture of the first and second. We are the beggar who is invited, but, like the rich person, we are inconsiderate. We wear rags, instead of a wedding garment, to the banquet. The poor has become rich who has once again become poor.

I think this third scenario is worth meditating and reflecting on a little further. It might seem unfair of the king to treat the poor chap this way. Should the beggar really be expected to wear a fancy suit to the banquet? And when he doesn’t, why does he have to be tortured? Can’t he just be politely asked to leave?

Our Lord holds high standards. He wants us to be mindful. The beggar here just casually accepts the invitation and then strolls in as he is, off the street, into the banquet. He doesn’t realize that his shabby dress (and his body odor, most likely) would be offensive to the other guests and take away from the attention of the bride and groom. The beggar could certainly have used his funds raised from begging to buy a suit or dress. But the beggar doesn’t think about doing that.

What are the times in our life when we are like the thoughtless beggar? It’s not enough to just accept the invitation and show up. We have to be ready to participate and contribute. To enjoy the banquet isn’t just to eat the food, but to enhance the experience of the other participants. Remember, the underdressed beggar is taking away the joy of the bride and groom and their families.

One of the ways we can be a properly dressed beggar is to hold the people we love and with whom we struggle in prayer. Whether it’s our prayer in home, our prayer in the Adoration Chapel, or our prayer during Mass, if we can bring our friends and enemies into our hearts, then the wedding banquet will be a true success.

God is counting on us to accept the invitation!

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Please join us in church following the 4:30pm Mass this Saturday, October 14th for a brief prayer service for peace in Israel.

The Clothing Drive/Stuff-the-Truck is this weekend. Thank you for your donations, and a special word of gratitude to Dan and all those who volunteered to organize the drive.

This Saturday, October 21st is the Knights of Columbus Men’s Retreat. The retreat will take place at Our Lady of Hope in Rosemont and will feature a series of talks focused on the Eucharist.

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who volunteer in so many ways: Lectors, Sacristans, and Eucharistic Ministers; church decorators; bereavement ministers and wedding coordinators; Family Mass coordinators; ministers of care; and those who run various ministries, from Bible Study to GriefShare and so forth. We function well as a parish because of your dedication. If you would like to get involved, please consider doing so. We are always in need of more volunteers, particularly with weddings and funerals and ministers of care. You can reach out to me or Nick Testa from the office to get 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.

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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