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.