Fr. James' Letters

May 19, 2024

Dear Parishioners,

I jotted down these words from our patron, St. Paul of the Cross, when I read them in his Pentecost letter dated May 22, 1730:

               “Then rejoice, and let us be inflamed the whole day with love and become all aflame. May the flames penetrate the marrow of our bones! O dear flames, O sweet fire, Oh! when shall we be so afire that we inflame one another!”    


               I could imagine Paul sitting on the edge of his seat as he wrote these words, or shouting them with passion as he dictated them to his scribe. He was fired up. Pentecost was a day Paul was looking forward to. He and his congregation already had the Holy Spirit, of course, but he wanted them all to be set on fire in a new way. He wanted them together, as one unit, to be passionate about loving God and spreading that love. And they were. God responded to his petition and his brothers responded to his encouragement. The Passionists went out and loved God even more.

               We need this day. We need Pentecost. Each one of us, myself included, needs to be fired up with the Holy Spirit. Not to say that we’re not cutting it. This isn’t meant to be a critique. But rather to say that we always need our love for God to be inflamed in new ways, every season of our life. This is the day to be set afire.

               While routines and habits are essential in any walk of life, there is a downside to them. The activity becomes rote and stale, and we can become complacent as we build up a tolerance. We lose passion and energy. Think of someone who does the same exercise routine every single morning. Again, it’s good and better than not exercising. But it can also become drudgery. Joy is lost and it becomes more about fulfilling the routine than the actual betterment of our life.

               Our spiritual lives are no different. It’s good that we pray everyday, go to Mass, and so forth, but we can slip into this drudgery. This is where the fire of the Holy Spirit comes in to help us out. With the Holy Spirit we will do the same spiritual activity, but it will be new and joyous for us. And it will be contagious. Others will want to do it.

               I’m struck by the first line from our first reading: “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together” (Acts 2:1). It was almost like the Holy Spirit was waiting for the disciples to come together. Maybe they had been literally scattered up until that point: Thomas one hour out for a walk, Matthew then shopping for food, James spending the afternoon discussing something in the temple. Once they realized they needed to stop doing all that busy work, come together literally in one place, and just be with each other, then the Holy Spirit came down.

               I think of families who are constantly on the run and never have time to sit down for a meal together. If they’re able to come together, turn off the TV and put away the phones, the Holy Spirit descends. He unites that family in love and gives each of those members what they need.

               It is my prayer that as we come together as one family at Mass this weekend that each of you will receive what you need. I pray that the fire of God’s love may course through our parish and that each member will see Jesus in a new and exciting way.


Congratulations to Father Martin Nyberg, who was ordained a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago this Saturday, May 18th at Holy Name Cathedral. Father Martin’s first Mass as a priest will be at St. Edward’s Parish, where he was born and raised, and we look forward to seeing Father Martin here on the altar at St. Paul of the Cross throughout the upcoming two months before he begins his assignment on July 1st at St. Josaphat Parish in Chicago as an associate pastor.

               There will be a Wednesday Scripture Seminar this week at 9am in the Holy Family Chapel. This will be our last Wednesday Scripture Seminar of the season. We will resume the seminar in August. Thank you to all who have joined us and added to the reflection.

               Next Wednesday, May 29th, we will have a parish May Crowning at 9am (please note the change of time and date from previous letters). We will have a communal rosary recited immediately following the 8:30am Mass, and then around 9:20am we will say a few more prayers, sing hymns, and have a little reflection on Mary, based on the book Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary we have given away.

               This is an exciting time for all students as they wrap their academic year. Good luck high schoolers and college students with finals and graduation. Our own SPC School will have its Ribbon Mass this Tuesday, May 21st and our 8th grade graduation will be next Wednesday, May 29th. Our prayers are with all of you.

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