Fr. James' Letters

Sunday Evening Mass

We are a large parish. In fact we are very large. We have over 4600 registered families. Unfortunately more than half of those families probably do not participate at all. Of the other half, about 50% attend Mass on a regular Sunday. We see a good number of our parishioners for Christmas and Easter, and perhaps for Ash Wednesday. This is why I have been insisting on Sunday Mass attendance in various forums. To get our people to Sunday Mass has been one of my top priorities as the pastor.

Trying to increase our Sunday Mass attendance we have come up with an interesting proposal and I would like to discuss it in this week’s column. The suggestion has come from several quarters including the Parish Pastoral Council and the pastoral staff. All the priests who will be most involved in carrying out this proposal are on board with it. Haven’t I piqued your curiosity as yet? As you know, people’s lives have become too hectic. Most families are over-committed with sports, trips and extra-curricular activities. Many moms run a regular limo service as they bring their children from one activity to another. Sundays are no exception. Whereas in the old days going to Mass on Sunday morning was normal and taken for granted, today it is no longer so. We have seen a growing number of older and younger people coming to Mass on Saturday evening. Oftentimes families with children prefer to go to Mass on Sunday evening when all the activities are over and done.

Taking these changes into account, some years ago a few parishes introduced the Sunday evening Mass and these Masses have become quite popular especially with families with children. More and more parishes are offering these Masses. In recent months some of our neighboring parishes have added a Mass on Sunday evening to their regular schedule. Since we did not have a Sunday evening Mass, our parishioners have been going elsewhere. Over the last three years several individuals and groups have asked me to have a Sunday evening Mass here in our parish. They said that they would prefer to go here than to some other parish. They also pointed out how convenient a Sunday evening Mass would be. As the pastor I would like to give our people an added incentive to come to Mass. This proposal to have a Sunday evening Mass came from the Pastoral Council and it was echoed by the parish leaders gathered for the Parish Leadership Day last fall. Both the pastoral staff and the priests favor the idea. Even though we already have 8 Masses every weekend, we feel the need to have an additional Mass on Sunday evening. You are aware that our priests do work hard, but they are willing to say another Mass on Sunday evening if only it will bring more of our faithful to Sunday liturgies.

And so, this is what is going to happen. Starting the Second Sunday of Easter (April 14), we will have a Mass on Sunday evening at 5:30 pm in the Holy Family Chapel. Our regular weekend Mass schedule of 8 Masses will continue as before. This will be an additional Mass. Obviously in the beginning the Mass may not have music. We are hopeful that eventually we will build up a separate choir – perhaps a youth choir – that will sing at this Mass. We are also dreaming that this Mass could become the youth Mass where our junior high students and high school teens will play leadership roles. We have a group of moms who are working with Deacon Bob on this project. If you would like to help in any way, please contact Deacon Bob . After six months we will conduct a review to see how the Mass was received and how we should proceed. Your input is very important. I would like to get your honest reactions to this proposal. You can send in your comments to me or contact my assistant, Michele Yarbrough.

I am grateful to our priests, Fr. John, Fr. Muraya, Fr. Dan, and Fr. Pat for their great pastoral zeal and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for our parishioners. Let us hope and pray that this new initiative will transform us into a more prayerful faith community.

I wish you a fruitful season of Lent! Please do not forget to participate in our Lenten Mission (March 11-13). It will be a moment of great spiritual energy and renewal.

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)


8:00 am (UC) - weekday Mass

4:30 pm (UC and HFC) - vigil


7:30 am (UC)

9:00 am (UC and HFC)

10:30 am (UC and HFC)

12:00 pm (UC)