Praise be Jesus Christ! On July 1st I officially became the 9th pastor of Saint Juliana Parish. Allow me to begin by expressing my gratitude: first, to Archbishop Cupich for appointing me to this fine parish; second, to Father Beaven, Father Laurent, Father Roger, Father Kanonik, and all the priests and staff who have served the parish; third, to the people and priests of my previous parish, Mary, Seat of Wisdom in Park Ridge for their love and support; fourth and finally, to all of you, my new parishioners, for your prayers and your welcome. You are all good! I'm rejoicing because, to steal our Lord's line from this Sunday's Gospel, "your names are written in heaven" (cf. Lk 10:20).
Ah, joy. It's a theme we see present throughout the readings, which couldn't, by the way, be more apropos. Back to that in a second. Take a look at the references to joy: • "Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her," says Isaiah (Is 66:10). The Catholic Church, particularly incarnate here at Saint Juliana, is the new Jerusalem. Think of what we wouldn't have did this place not exist on Touhy. We are indeed glad because of her. • “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy," sings our psalmist (Ps 66:1). Sometimes a quality prayer can be simply that of joyfully thanking God for the blessings we have. For me personally at this present moment, I'm shouting out joyfully to God that I've found my home at 7200 N. Osceola. • “The seventy-two returned rejoicing," St. Luke tells us at the end of the Gospel. We have a lot of work to do here at Saint Juliana and in the Archdiocese, but instead of sapping our strength, the work will give us life and happiness as it did the disciples.
Just as our Savior appointed the seventy-two to various towns and villages, so too have I been sent out to Saint Juliana to "labor for his harvest" (cf. Lk 10:2). You are my mission; the "town" Jesus intends to visit. I'm excited for our years together. I pray to Jesus that I serve and love you well.
Yours in Christ,
Father James Wallace
P.S. Each week, in addition to my letter�, I will have in the bulletin a separate reflection entitled, "The Tassel of the Cloak." I wrote something similar while at Mary Seat, though I called it "Two Minute Drill: Spiritual Cadences from a Young Priest to His People." Below is an introduction to the column.
+++ God is in everything, be it sports or music or history or business or wine-making or church or whatever. Everywhere we look there is a spiritual metaphor to be found. Some metaphors may be hidden, some overt. I will attempt to point them out to you. That is the purpose of these laconic reflections. They are mostly intended to be fun and interesting. Perhaps, though, the reflections will provide you some guidance. Perhaps they will lead you to see everything through a spiritual lens, thus appreciating Catholicism all the more. When Jay Cutler throws a Hail Mary at the end of the half, might you move beyond your frustration with the Bears' offensive ineptitude and think of the Blessed Mother? Just an example.
These reflections will only be an introduction to deeper spiritual and theological truths. Hence the title, The Tassel of the Cloak. When David cuts off the tassel of Saul's cloak and shows it to him (cf. 1 Sam 24), Saul realizes that David is not his enemy. That moves them into a new relationship. Likewise, the hemorrhaging woman's grasping of the tassel on Christ's cloak in Luke 8:44 opens the door to her healing and conversion. The tassel was merely an entryway. The mundane anecdotes and simple spiritual lessons I provide are, in my opinion, the tassel. There's much more to Christ's Cloak. I hope you will experience it. So, please, go ahead and "Touch the Hem of His Garment." That is, by the way, the title of a Sam Cooke song.