Fr. James' Letters

June 9, 2024

Dear Parishioners,

The scribes in today’s Gospel accuse Jesus of being “possessed by Beelzebub.” Beelzebub, as you know, is synonymous with Satan. The name was taken from one of the Philistine pagan gods, who was the lord over the insects (the Hebrew word for Lord is ba’al and for insect is zebub).

               You might think, how could anyone worship flies? Well, don’t scoff at the Philistines. I read an article on the front page of the Chicago Tribune last week about how cicadas have become a fad. These flies have been placed on art and on tee-shirts. Everything from keychains to sculptures have been made of them. Even menu items have featured cicadas (the other day a parishioner lovingly gave me a delicious chocolate cicada…thank you, Mary.) The newspaper article goes on to say how cicada enthusiasts are like evangelists who want to “share their love of the cicada.” Cicadas can lead to “community building” as they help us feel part of something special, something bigger than ourselves.

              Now, I’m not saying the cicada is the devil, and I doubt these folks who are trying to make a buck off the cicada are worshiping it. But it just shows how our society is craving for something, someone to unite us. We are so desperate for unity that we’ll cling to a bug, or to a solar eclipse, or to a sports team, or anything else, no matter how trivial it may be, that can make us forget our differences.

             Christ can actually unite us. He can make us feel part of something special, help us forget our differences, and fill us with joy and satisfaction. The scribes seemed to be aware of this ability in Jesus, which is why they accused him of being possessed by the god of the insects. If only they knew that Jesus was for real and that God, not the devil, can bring us together. If only we all knew this. Then we wouldn’t need to wait every seventeen years to be excited. 


You will recall on Mother’s Day weekend last month we had reflections on motherhood after communion at all the Masses by a different mother from our parish. This weekend we will have a reflection on fatherhood after communion at all the Masses by a different father from our parish. I know next weekend is Father’s Day, but because we have a mission speaker scheduled that weekend by the Archdiocese we are having the men speak at the Masses this weekend. Thank you to Jim Marino (Saturday 4:30pm), Randy Smith (Sunday 7:30am), Jim Klein (9am), Patrick Collins (10:30am HFC), Jeffrey Olin (10:30am UC), and Kevin Wiley (12pm) for speaking and witnessing to the beautiful love of God in their lives.

            This weekend is the Priests’ Health and Retirement Second collection. Your contribution to this fund helps the Archdiocese provide healthcare, housing, and retirement benefits to our 411 active and 253 retired priests of the archdiocese. This year the expenses for health care, nursing and priest retirement will total $13 million, so your contribution is important in caring for the priests who serve. Special envelopes, along with flyers, are available throughout the church.

            The last day of St. Paul of the Cross school was this past Friday, June 7th. Congratulations to our faculty, students, and parents on a successful year. Enjoy summer break.

            Every year around mid-June I take my annual retreat. I will be away this Tuesday, June 11th until Monday, June 17th. I will be in silence at a Trappist monastery and will very much be holding you in my prayers. To that effect, I have placed prayer books at the Joseph and Mary altars in the upper church for you to write your intentions, so I can pray more specifically for you. You can be as detailed as you want, or keep it anonymous. I appreciate the opportunity to pray for you, so thank you for giving me your intentions.

            This Friday, June 14th is the Men’s Club Bags Tournament in the parish parking lot. 

            Looking ahead to next week, every active priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago will be at the Chicago Priest Convocation Tuesday through Thursday, June 18-20. We will still have the 8:30am Mass celebrated those days, but the 6:25am will be a communion service led by our deacons and not a full Mass. There will not be confessions at 8am those three days.


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