Fr. James' Letters

June 16, 2024

Dear Parishioners,

I love our opening line from St. Paul in our second reading: “We are always courageous.”

            Paul isn’t arrogant. He’s realistic. He and the disciples have the Holy Spirit, and so they can be courageous. They might be imprisoned, slandered, beaten, or rejected. It doesn’t matter to them. God is with them. They are doing God’s will, and that gives them peace. And should the worst possible thing happen to them or their loved ones–they die–then they’ll be with God in heaven. This fact gives them the ability to do anything for God. It gives them courage.

            It didn’t mean Paul didn’t feel nervousness or some fear before going into a difficult situation. He was still a man. But he didn’t back down from the mission, and he didn’t let fear overpower him to the point that he experienced intense dread or misery. Paul was a joyful individual.

            The enemy always wants us to feel small. He wants our problems to appear insurmountable to us; like there’s no solution and that we are alone. We know this is wrong and that it is a lie, but what we know in our minds can be different than what we feel in our hearts. We know God is with us, and yet we feel anxiety over some challenge we’re facing. This anxiety leads us to wither and not take up the challenge. We become angry, irritable, selfish, or depressed. What has happened then is that we have lost our courage. We have become pusillanimous (from the Latin for “small heart”).

             How does this follow? Well, every single one of us is called to a mission. We are called, in some fashion, to bring the love of God to others. It might be just with your immediate family. It might be with the people you work with. It might be with your fellow parishioners. When I say “bring the love of God to others” I’m not saying indoctrinate them. “Evangelizing” can take the form of listening to someone and being present to them. Think also of the corporal works of mercy.

             When we lack courage in the face of our issues and listen to the enemy, we don’t have the power to do the mission. We are so caught up in ourselves that we aren’t considering others. We don’t have courage to go out and serve.

             Paul had every reason to wilt. He experienced some pretty intense suffering and darkness. But he always listened to the voice of Jesus, who encouraged him and assured him of the goodness of his life and of his work. Paul believed in our Lord, and so was able to do great things.

             This is why Jesus says all you need is “faith the size of a mustard seed.” If you truly trust in Jesus, you will have courage, and nothing will hold you back from doing God’s will.

             So, the next time you face a challenge or an issue, don’t lament it. Look at it as an opportunity to exercise your faith and rely on God. Our Lord will bring you through it, and the whole experience will have been a blessed one for you.


This weekend we welcome Fr. Peter Muojekwu from the Fada Pita Organization for the Archdiocesan annual Mission Appeal. Fada Pita provides food, health care, and education for struggling areas in Africa. The group and its priests also engage the youth by organizing sports and other activities for these underprivileged children. Thank you for receiving Fr. Peter and for your generosity.

            I have been away this past week on my annual silent retreat and will be finishing this Monday. However, all priests will be offsite at the Archdiocesan Priest Convocation this Monday evening through Thursday evening. The Convocation occurs every 2-3 years and is a time for priests to gather together to pray, socialize, and hear talks from various speakers. Please pray for us while we are away and know that we will be praying for you.

            Due to the Convocation, there will be no 6:25am Mass on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, June 18-20. We will instead have a communion service led by one of the deacons at 6:25am. There will still be an 8:30am Mass this week, however there will not be confessions at 8am Tuesday-Thursday.

            Next Tuesday, June 25th at 7pm we will have a Young Adult Gathering at Harp and Fiddle. Please invite your friends and children.


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.

E-Newsletter Signup!

Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

View Larger Map

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