Fr. James' Letters

March 31, 2024

Dear Parishioners, 


I heard a song the other day that I hadn’t heard since I was a kid: Michael Bolton’s How Can We Be Lovers If We Can’t Be Friends? 

How about that for starting an Easter letter? Michael Bolton? Wow, Father James, it looks like your fast over the Triduum has messed with your head. Hear me out. The title of the song is true and totally applicable to our relationship with God. We can’t really love God if we’re not friends with him. 

If I were to poll everyone at Mass this Sunday, DO YOU LOVE GOD? I bet the majority would say YES. If I were to ask ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH GOD? I bet most would say UNSURE or even NO. 

If we say we love God without really being friends with him, chances are love is more of an obligation. We’re probably saying we believe in God and perhaps even respect him. But that’s different from loving him. Love isn’t transactional or calculating. Love is a choice. It is human and it fills us with meaning and joy. If there’s no friendship with God, then our love is not truly life-giving. It’s not a two-way street with both partners giving and receiving. My hunch would be one side is only talking (either you’re only asking God for things and are never listening, or you’re just doing things for God, like going to Mass, and not actually giving your heart). Let’s listen some more to Spiritual Sage Bolton…


We lie awake, this wall between us We’re just not talkin’, we got so much to say

Let’s break these chains, our love can free us Whoa, whoa, ain’t it time we

started trying Whoa, whoa, gotta stop this love from dying 


Does that characterize your current relationship to God? Are you next to him right now in church but it feels like there’s a wall between you? Is there so much on your heart and mind so much you want to ask him and get answers to–but you’re ‘just not talkin’? Is your love dying? 


Love flows from friendship. Be with Jesus the way you would be with a friend. Make time for him. Plan it in your day and commit to it. When you’re with him, be present to him and don’t be on your phone or thinking about something else. Talk to Jesus. Tell him exactly and honestly what’s on your heart right now. It’s okay to ask him for something, but be sure you also give him time to respond to you, which means waiting in silence. 

If it’s easiest for you to do all this in a chapel or church setting, then go there. If you’d rather do it in a comfortable place in your home or room, or while going for a walk in nature, then do that. Friendship should never be forced or inauthentic. The same goes for prayer. Prayer should be Time, Love and Tenderness. When Jesus emerged from that empty tomb, the task of the redemption having been accomplished, it was like he was reaching out to us to be friends. The devil’s song is Said I Loved You, but I Lied. Not Jesus. Take his hand. It will make your life so much better. 




I want to thank everyone who helped make the Holy Triduum and Easter Masses smooth and beautiful celebrations: sacristans, ushers, altar servers, deacons, Fr. Nick and the church decorators, the musicians, those who helped set up the gym, the Knights of Columbus on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, Beshar and the RCIA team, and many others. 

Congratulations to our RCIA candidates and catechumens who entered the church this Saturday night at the Easter Vigil: Jack Leach, Rose Kosatka, Jamie Russo, Alyssa O’Donnell, Renee Mark, Max Wagner, Jonathan Lopes, Jenesis Lopez, Luis Vargas, Alfredo Torres, Delaney Starwalt. We are proud of you and will be keeping you in our prayers. 

Our Christmas and Easter collections comprise a significant portion of our budget, so thank you to all who have contributed. As I mentioned in last week’s bulletin, we have some significant expenses on the horizon with our boiler and cooling units in the church and school buildings, so your contributions will very much go to helping us keep our campus in good shape. 

We will have a special Divine Mercy Prayer Service in church next Sunday, April 7th at 3pm. Finally, you may have noticed on the front cover the new name for our bulletin: Crucis. It is Latin for “from the Cross.” A special shout-out to parishioner Dan H. for the suggestion. We liked its simplicity and meaning. We hope you continue to enjoy reading the news and reflections from the Cross. A blessed Easter to you and your loved ones. Christ is risen!


Yours in Christ

Fr. James Wallace

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