Fr. James' Letters

June 30, 2024

Dear Parishioners,

I was recently playing my older brother in a mini-basketball arcade game, much to the delight of my nieces and nephews. It’s the game where there are two little hoops and a whole bunch of mini-basketballs, and you stand next to your competitor trying to make as many baskets as possible in one minute. The particular game we played was such that if one person fell too far behind, or if you didn’t make a bucket in ten seconds, then you were eliminated. The other person could keep playing and scoring points, but you yourself couldn’t score. So, it was pointless to continue. When this happened to me, I just stopped shooting baskets and watched my brother as the minute finished. But looking at my nieces and nephews, and not wanting them to think me a quitter, I decided to keep shooting. Besides, it would be good practice for me for the rematch, and I might be able to stifle my brother from racking up the score. Even though I couldn’t win, there was still a point.

            When Jesus arrives at the synagogue official’s house to heal his sick daughter, only to discover that she has died, the neighbors tell the father to dismiss Jesus. "Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?" It’s like me getting crushed in the basketball game. There’s no chance of winning, so why keep playing?

            There’s always a chance of winning with our Lord. Even when we think all is lost, it isn’t. Jesus will raise the little girl from the dead. He will increase the father’s faith and make him a disciple. He will make believers of all those neighbors and naysayers.

    Yes, the loss can become a great victory. Keep shooting and don’t worry about the score.


The fiscal year for the Archdiocese of Chicago ends June 30th, so happy new year to all the parish staff and finance people. We’re ending a very good year here at Saint Paul of the Cross across the board–our ministries, our numbers (sacraments, finances, enrollment), and our spirit. Thank you for making our parish so vibrant.

            New assignments for priests begin July 1st, which means we are sadly saying farewell to Father Martin Nyberg. Father Martin, as you know, was a seminarian assigned to us three years ago. We saw him “grow up” into a deacon and now a priest (last month). We were blessed to have newly ordained Father Martin celebrate some Masses for us these last few weeks, and now he will begin his first assignment as the associate pastor at St. Josaphat Parish in Chicago. We will miss Father Martin, but I’m sure he’ll come back and visit us from time to time. God bless you, Father Martin. We are proud of you and will always be praying for you.

            I mentioned in last week’s bulletin the new Archdiocesan capital campaign called Generation to Generation: Answer the Call. Our parish has been given a goal of $2.7 million to raise. Half of those funds will go to supporting priest health care and retirement, seminary education, scholarships for Catholic education, among other items. The other half of those funds we will use to build a large meeting space off the main parking lot and adjacent to the gym (the current grassy area). While we are blessed with many ministries and groups who meet at our parish, we are unfortunately challenged with a lack of meeting space, and a lack of a large meeting space. This new, handicap accessible building would allow for more of our groups to meet, and would be used as well by our school, which is also at maximum capacity. Secondly, with the funds raised we will build outdoor stations of the cross–either 7 or 14 standing pillars composed of red-face brick with gray stone trim, to match the exterior of our church, around the perimeter of our campus down Northwest Highway, Washington Avenue, Summit Avenue, and Ridge Terrace. Not only would this be a fine architectural addition to our already beautiful grounds, but parishioners would now be able to pray the Way of the Cross on any day at any time. It is our hope too that pedestrians, drivers, visitors, and other seekers would stop and pray before these monuments, and have their hearts inflamed with love for the Lord who died for them. Saint Paul of the Cross himself said, “Oh blessed is that soul that remains crucified with Jesus Christ” (April 2, 1750). I will be reaching out with more information in the coming weeks. Thank you in advance for your prayers and your support of this campaign.

            Happy Fourth of July. On Thursday, July 4th, please note there will be only one daily Mass at 8:30am. There will be no 6:25am and no daily confessions at 8am. Enjoy your holiday and may God bless America.


Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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