Fr. James' Letters

February 11, 2024

Dear Parishioners,


The Gospel scene with the leper is a beautiful one. Notice the man doesn’t make a request. He simply states the facts: “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus responds, “I do will it. Be made clean.”

This is very touching. Even our Lord was moved. You can almost hear the sobriety in the man’s voice. He’s suffered leprosy and the stigma that comes with it. He’s not desperate, but he’s not happy or content either. He’s accepted his fate. And yet, there is a steady belief that Jesus can help him. Though his body would have been deteriorated, the leper’s eyes were still strong. Those eyes, full of pain and hope, looked into Jesus’ eyes. Jesus looked back. The look of our Lord saves.

If we’re struggling with something we might take the leper’s approach. Instead of begging desperately with Jesus, or demanding angrily, we could simply state the situation. “If you wish, Lord, you can repair my marriage.” Or, “If you wish, you can heal me of this addiction.” Or, “If you wish, you can cure my child.” Have confidence and trust, and look into God’s eyes. Know that God will look back at you and help you. 

What follows in the scene is interesting. Jesus, after he’s healed the leper, “warns him sternly” to not say anything, but instead go directly to the priest to be restored to the community. Why did Jesus not want anyone to know about this miracle? After all, Jesus had already performed many miracles in public, so everyone knew about his power. Why the secret? 

Because there was something different about this miracle. Jesus and the leper had a connection. With the other miracles, up until this point, we don’t hear of any give-and-take. Jesus just doles out the grace and the person walks away. But here the man exposes his heart and Jesus, in turn, is affected. Jesus didn’t want this exchange to be like one of the other miracles, another performance in the circus tour. They looked into each other’s eyes, and that can’t be shared.

And yet the leper shares it anyways. He was disobedient, but this wasn’t a disobedience that would send him to hell. No. The leper couldn’t help but tell people about the heart-connection he had with Jesus. This was more satisfying than the curing of the leprosy, and he had to spread the word.

When we look into Jesus’ eyes in our desire, our hearts are set on fire. We don’t have to talk about the fire to others. They will see it in us, and they will want it for themselves.




This Wednesday, February 14th is Ash Wednesday. Please check our bulletin for the Mass schedule. During Lent we will have Stations of the Cross every Friday at 7pm.

 I have composed a new series of daily Lenten reflections that you can find each week in the bulletin. The whole document is also on our website.

This Sunday, February 11th we will have our Family Mass at 10:30am in the Holy Family Chapel.

There is no school Monday, February 12th, nor will there be school on Friday, February 16th.

Congratulations to our students who made the Sacrament of Confirmation this past Saturday, February 10th. A special thank you to Bishop Bartosic for celebrating the Masses, to the teachers and catechists who have prepared these students for this important sacrament, and to Anna Mae Parkhill for organizing the liturgies.

This weekend at all the Masses we will conduct the in-pew solicitation for the Annual Catholic Appeal for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Before the homily we will listen to the Cardinal and then go through the pledge forms. As I’ve mentioned, this annual campaign allows the Archdiocese to support struggling parish communities and schools, support ministry formation, and fund initiatives for justice, peace, and respect for life. Our goal this year is $145,569. Thank you for your participation in this collection.


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