Fr. James' Letters

January 21, 2024

Dear Parishioners,

There seems to be a lot of talk these days about what the Chicago Bears will do with their quarterback, head coach, and upcoming number one draft pick. [Disclaimer, as of me composing this letter, no decision has been made.] Will the Bears get rid of their quarterback Justin Fields and, presumably, with him the head coach, and use their number one overall pick in the NFL draft to take a new quarterback? Or, will the Bears keep Fields (and the coach) and trade the number one pick to obtain a whole bunch of other picks and improve the rest of the team? There is no clear-cut answer. Good arguments could be made both ways.

Now, I’m no football expert. And I’m not going to contribute to the debate by saying what the Bears should do with the overall draft pick. If I were advising the McCaskeys, as well as the President and GM of the Bears, here’s what I would tell them: pray about it.

Before you scoff, especially if you’re a Packers fan, remember what I say time and again in my preaching… we should pray about everything. There might be more important things in life than sports, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of prayer. I’m not telling you to pray about the Bears – there’s nothing we can do. I’m telling the decision-makers to pray.

Why? Because the McCaskeys, the President, and the GM have souls, and their salvation depends on their ability to pray about what is going on in their life. A big football decision is what is going on in their life, hence they should pray about it. God isn’t a Bears fan. God won’t give them the answer or miraculously give them success. What praying will do is help these folks ensure they are doing the Lord’s will. Praying will put them in relationship with God, and that’s what matters.

No one is going to write articles or have opinions on the decisions you have to make in your everyday life – what school to send your child, the difficult conversation with your parent with Alzheimers, what stocks to invest in – but, make no mistake, God cares and it’s as important as the Bears draft dilemma. You should pray about it.

God doesn’t work in the abstract. He works in the concrete. I think this is eventually why Simon, Andrew, James, and John were able to drop their fishing nets and follow Jesus. They prayed specifically about their fishing careers. In doing so they fell in love with Jesus. They received the fulfillment of their desires.

A Bears Super Bowl would be nice, yes. But heaven would be even better. And I want everyone to get there, from the fan to the player to the executive.

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We are excited this week to be celebrating First Reconciliation for our children. There will be a service on Monday, January 22nd and Tuesday, January 23rd, both at 7pm in the Holy Family Chapel. Congratulations to our students and their families. We next look forward to their First Communion in a few months.

Our Wednesday Scripture Seminar resumes this week, Wednesday, January 24th at 9am in the Holy Family Chapel. There’s no need to have attended previous sessions (or to commit to future sessions!).

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to announce a few changes on the parish staff. We are delighted to be welcoming to the staff Mr. Mark Hutchinson as our new Director of Communications. Mark has a great love for our faith, in addition to a passion for writing and photography, not to mention a wealth of experience with communications. Mark will now be managing the bulletin, website, social media, and exploring other ways to take us to the next level of outreach and evangelization.

With the addition of Mark to our staff, I have promoted Nick Testa, previously our Campus Manager and Director of Evangelization, to our overall Director of Operations. Sandy Labouvie, previously our Director of Operations, will now be our Director of Finance.

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