Divine Mercy Sunday
1) The History of Divine Mercy
2) Listening for God Virtual Conference
Are you feeling lost and alone?

Stressed out and fearful?

Looking for direction in your life?

Then don’t miss the Listening For God VIRTUAL Conference happening April 16-18, 2021.

This is a FREE conference to help to you recognize God in your everyday life. Be inspired through personal testimonies, scripture, the lives of the saints, by more than 50+ amazing Catholic speakers including Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.; Mike Aquilina, Fr. Chris Alar, MIC; Jeff Cavins, Teresa Tomeo, Dr. Edward Sri, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, Fr. John Trigilio, and many more!

As a free gift to you, the parish purchased a parish subscription to the virtual conference. Click on the button below to access the online event later this week. Our access code, if needed, is 354-004-285.

Our parish subscription allows you to access all of the talks through December 2021! So, if you can't watch it live, you can watch and of the talks on-demand through the rest of the year.

A reminder about the conference will be sent later this week.

For more information and the full schedule of speakers, visit:

3) Easter People on MISSION Scripture Challenge:
The Archdiocese of Detroit's Unleash the Gospel Team recently announced the Acts of the Apostles Scripture Challenge.

The Acts of the Apostles was written in approximately 63 AD by Luke, a Gentile physician and traveling associate of the Apostle Paul. Written as a sequel to the Gospel of Luke, Acts continues the story of Jesus through the life and mission of the first disciples, tracing the first 30 years of Christian history from the Ascension of Jesus in Jerusalem to the imprisonment of Paul in Rome.

Acts begins a decisively new chapter in the history of salvation. God’s saving actions which began in the Old Testament came to a climactic fulfillment in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In Acts, God is present in the world in a new way through the activity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the Church. The principal theme in Acts is that Jesus’ followers are his witnesses, who are filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to speak and act in his name.  

Acts 1:8 outlines the course of the entire book: “But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The story unfolds in precisely this way beginning with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Chapter 2. Chapters 2 through 12 narrate the leadership role of Peter establishing the Church, while Chapters 13-28 narrate the missionary efforts of Paul in expanding the Church. 

Throughout Acts it is clear that the Holy Spirit sets the pace and direction for the growth of the Church. The book’s open-ended conclusion, with Paul still preaching the gospel in Rome, makes the entire Book of Acts a fitting prologue to the rest of Church history. 

Today, we are living in a time of abandonment of Christian faith on a scale we’ve never seen before. We, just like Jesus’ first disciples, are called to go out and bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. God has a specific role for you in this work. This brief study of Acts of the Apostles will help you consider what it means to live as a post-Resurrection Catholic Christian today, and inspire you to open yourself to the power of the Holy Spirit and step into the role to which God has called you.

Sign up for ‘Easter People on Mission’ Acts of the Apostles Scripture Challenge by clicking on the button below.

Suggested Structure for Weekly Reading and Reflection

  • Begin with a short prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to guide your reading and reflection.
  • Read the Overview provided for the week.
  • Read the assigned reading. (Do the reading ahead of time if you are part of a small group.)
  • Reflect on the questions provided and discuss if part of a small group.
  • Close with a brief prayer of thanksgiving for any insights or inspirations received.
  • Do the challenge in the upcoming week.

Resources Used in Developing the Commentary for this Scripture Challenge:

Kurz, William S. SJ. Acts of the Apostles. Grand Rapids: 2013.

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament RSV 2nd Edition. Scott Hahn, ed. Ignatius Press, 2010.

The New American Bible Revised Edition, St. Joseph Edition. Washington DC, 2010.
4) Stimulus Check 3 Gift to SJA: With each of the Stimulus Checks, many in the parish have called inquiring if there was a family that could use the help. The answer is YES ... your parish family!

As was mentioned a few weeks ago, the first Saturday of March would have been our annual School Gala, the 15th Annual Gala. But because of COVID, the Gala couldn't take place. That annual fundraising nets approximately $100,00 per year. Then given the decline in Sunday offertory and Christmas collections because of the reduced number of people coming to Church, the income we rely on to carry out our many great works has been on the decline. So, we created, and are widely publicizing, the Stimulus Check 3 Gift to SJA. I hope you can be a part of this little project and fundraiser.

I realize not everyone can afford to give part or all of their stimulus check, but to those who can, I would ask that you consider this easy gift to the parish.

Checks can be written to SJA with a memo: Stimulus Check 3 Gift. You can also donate electronically by clicking on the button below.

Thanks for your ongoing and generous support of SJA!
5) Registration now OPEN for SJA School: If you or someone you know might be interested in sending their child or children to SJA School, please let them know that registration is now open. We have openings in all grade levels.

For over 70 years, St. Joan of Arc School has had a rich tradition of excellence in faith-formation, academics, service, activities, and athletics. Focusing on Jesus Christ and the Gospel message, the school community provides a caring and supportive environment in which every member is valued and encouraged to grow to his/her full potential. Students are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and Catholic vision necessary to become responsible citizens who have a living, growing faith and an understanding of their responsibilities as Christians in today's world.

Among the indicators of SJA quality is our accreditation by the Michigan Nonpublic School Accrediting Agency since 1992. This honor certifies that St. Joan of Arc School meets or exceeds the 14 standards of excellence in staffing, curriculum, services, and program effectiveness in meeting the needs of young people. Additionally, SJA School was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education.

Extensive technology supports our fine academic program. All classrooms have interactive whiteboards and access to iPads. All students, K-8, learn varied applications of technology in our computer lab.

Check out our 6-minute Virtual Open House video below. For more information or to register call 586-775-8370 or visit stjoan.net.
6) This Sunday's Readings - Sunday, April 11, 2021
7) Grow+Go for Divine Mercy Sunday:
Grow+Go, content is designed to help you understand what it means to be an evangelizing disciple of Christ. Using the Sunday Scriptures as the basis for reflection, Grow+Go offers insight into how we can all more fully GROW as disciples and then GO evangelize, fulfilling Christ's Great Commission to "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) The concept behind the weekly series is to make discipleship and evangelization simple, concrete, and relatable.

Click on the button or image below to download a PDF copy of this Sunday's Grow+Go.
8) Sunday Reflection by Jeff Cavins:
In this week’s Encountering the Word video for the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, Jeff Cavins describes how Jesus wants us to look past our fears and accept his divine mercy. 
9) Giving to SJA: I'm truly grateful for all of your support of SJA during this pandemic. Your support means so much. The increase in electronic giving has been tremendous. Giving electronically, whether on a one-time or recurring basis is pretty simple. For more information on online giving, please click on the following button.
10) This Week's Edition of TALLer Tales
Some Things Never Change: Our family usually celebrates Easter on Palm Sunday. We’ve done this for years so family members can celebrate Easter with the in-laws or other family members on the day itself. Our Palm Sunday gathering this year was small because a few were quarantined because of exposure to COVID.

As plans for the day were evolving, my mom decided she would do an Easter Egg Hunt for the under 30 crowd. My dad was in charge of the annual Easter Egg Hunt for the grandkids when they were younger, so my mom thought it would be nice to do this in his honor, especially this year. The over 30 crowd was allowed to participate but only by being the designated “proxy” for someone who wasn’t able to come. More on that later.

My dad had this elaborate system for hiding his Easter eggs. They would be placed both inside and outside and in some very clever spots. Over the years, my dad learned to create a map of his treasures simply because one or two would go missing, and he wouldn’t be able to remember where he placed them. He then graduated to numbered eggs with an elaborate map with all of their locations; this way the missing eggs could easily be found. Before he created his numbering system, there were a few years where hidden eggs would show up in the summer or fall. I’m sure we’re not the only family who has these troubles! Could you imagine if we “hid” Christmas Gifts all over the house at Christmas time!

Ironically, I was sorting through some of the digital files I created from our family videos over the years and stumbled upon a family Easter Egg Hunt of 1994 at the condo. The 8-minute video showed the excited little ones looking for Easter eggs in the condo basement and a very perplexed grandpa trying to figure out where that one missing egg was located. I had fun watching this as we prepared for the Easter Egg Hunt of 2021. I planned to show the family this video clip after we concluded the 2021 Easter Egg Hunt.

Back to Palm Sunday weekend. My mom and sister Jackie spent Saturday night of Palm Sunday weekend at the condo. They got the condo ready for the family gathering, but more importantly, they prepared and hid the eggs all over the condo. Not knowing what the weather would be like on Palm Sunday, they decided this would only be an indoor Easter Egg Hunt and only on the condo’s main floor.

Considering this was an Easter Egg Hunt for the under 30 crowd, eggs filled with just candy and stuff would have been nice, but my mom decided to up the ante a bit. She decided that one of the eggs would have a $100 bill, and each of them would not only have the usual jelly beans and Easter candy but a $2 lottery ticket too! So there was now a real incentive to be a bit more diligent in finding eggs. The only other rule was that you were limited to four eggs and that you had to hold off on opening the eggs until everyone was gathered back in the kitchen. This wasn’t your typical Easter Egg Hunt then.

Once the green light was given, the hunt was on. For those joining by Zoom, they offered instructions to their proxy on where to look too. Someone found a Golden Egg and was quite excited, thinking they just cashed in on the hidden $100 bill. Mom just smiled.

In the end, we had trouble finding one missing egg. Mom gave clues, but her clues weren’t working too well because we couldn’t find anything in those locations. My sister Jackie then started trying to account for all the eggs. They were all numbered, but Jackie couldn’t find the sheet which showed all the locations, and she was getting pretty frustrated because history was repeating itself, but now it was her problem to figure this all out!

In the end, the golden egg didn’t have the $100 (my mom had fun messing with us on that one), and a few of the lottery tickets were small winners. Everyone had a grand time; we especially enjoyed the fact one egg went missing for some time … but was eventually found!

We then watched the video clip from 1997 and had a few good laughs, especially watching a perplexed grandpa trying to find that one missing egg. One year we might get it right … but then again, some things NEVER change! That’s what makes family traditions … and lots of laughs too!

Easter THANKS! It was another odd Easter, but at least this year, we had people in Church! And, I’m grateful the crowds were big at all of our masses. I continue to be thankful for all the beautiful ways God’s grace and light have shone and continue to shine forth during the pandemic.

I’m extremely grateful to our official “COVID-19 Church Team” who helped so much behind the scenes to make everything happen in Church for Holy Week and Easter. Thanks go to Sandy and Pat Markielewicz for all the Palm Sunday decorations. The beautiful woven palm creations helped set the tone and helped our entry into Holy Week.

Thanks to Father Rich, Father Andrew, Dina Ciaffone, Pat and Sandy Markielewicz, Mary Garofalo, Vern Dave, Greg Ruvolo, Anne Melise, and Ilona Higgins, who helped decorate the huge cross and get all the Easter flowers into place. Thanks to Kristine Hass, and the entire Hass Family, who have been the producers and real power behind all the streaming that takes place, along with all the slides with the lyrics and text of the mass parts that were up on the screen or broadcasted online. Getting all of this ready is no easy task!

Thanks to Catherine Thomas, Kristine Hass, Eleonore Ellero, and Ted Devine for all the beautiful music. I loved the combination of traditional hymns with some very prayerful contemporary songs. Simply put, our liturgies were beautiful, prayerful, and indeed honored Christ as we celebrated the great mysteries of His death and resurrection. God is good!

The crowds, both in-person and online, were impressive too. Our largest in-person mass was the Noon Mass on Easter Sunday. We had about 400 people in Church and close to 200 unique views online. With the 5 Easter masses only (Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday), we had approximately 1,300 people in Church and about 1,500 unique views online. Pretty impressive numbers for our COVID-19 world!

It was a beautiful and prayerful Holy Week. THANK YOU!
Enjoy the week. Know of my prayers!

In Christ,
Msgr Mike Simply Signature
11) Tire Tracks in the d’Arc
VeggieTales: On Monday I was at the grocery store and I saw a stand of vegetable seeds. I’m not much of a gardener, but I’ve grown a few vegetables before, and in the spirit of anything I can find remotely connected with Spring, I decided it was definitely a good idea—I needed to plant seeds and grow vegetables.
My parents used to grow a lot of potatoes and carrots and my mom always had tomatoes in the greenhouse (or ripening on my bedroom window ledge!) I like having cucumbers in the summer months—there’s something about my Englishness that makes cucumber sandwiches make me think of summer tennis and cricket matches. So cucumbers it was. For once, I read the instructions and it cautioned against planting before the risk of frost is gone, so I waited and have not planted them yet. I’ll keep you posted on their progress once I do, provided the squirrels don’t get them first.
There is something really neat about growing your own food. Some friends and I were talking about that when Covid first hit and everyone was panic-buying the stores into empty shelves. But there’s something beautiful about the patience it takes, putting these seeds in the ground and allowing nature to take its course, seeing those first tiny shoots appear, still so far away from being what they will become and from producing what you’re hoping for. It’s a mysterious process that somehow those seeds “know” when the time and conditions are right for them to kick into action. What an amazing world God has given us.
We had a small vegetable garden at Camp Sancta Maria when I worked there. Inevitably, by the time the campers arrived for the summer, it was already too late for what they planted to produce much before they left camp. All the same, it was a good lesson in patience and responsibility — in the idea that often it’s not we who reap the fruits of our labor, but others, but that doesn't mean it’s not worth the work. In this case, it was me who usually benefitted from their work! I was always the last one to leave for the winter, sometime in late-October. By then, I had been well-fed with lettuce, carrots and cucumbers, picked from that garden. One Spring I arrived in early April, well before the camp cook arrived and with no food at camp. I was hungry so I went over to the dead-looking garden and dug-up some of the carrots from the previous year. I’d been told that if the carrots remain in the ground over the winter, they freeze and thaw in the Spring and are actually become sweeter to the taste. I just brushed-off the dirt and I’m not sure they were sweeter, but they were fine…. if a little gritty!
A few years ago, when I was in the seminary, I was assigned to a parish in North Branch for the summer. I decided I would grow cucumbers there, too. It was a little later than ideal, but still, I had great hopes for my little patch! It wasn’t the ideal spot either… too shady really, but I planted and hoped. My mistake was not marking the spot. There was a gardener who tended to the plants a couple of days a week and the day after I planted the seeds, I found foot-prints all over the spot as she had walked there reaching to water other plants. The soil was compacted and it wasn't looking good. Nothing appeared through the soil for the longest time, even though I watered it religiously. Then one day, the tiniest little shoot heroically pushed its way though the surface! I nurture that shoot, lifted it’s head up above the soil, trying to stop it curling back into the ground, until it was big enough to reach for the sun itself. By the end of the summer, I had a few shoots, a few inches high, but my assignment was over and I left the parish and returned to my studies at the seminary. Sometime in September, to my delight, the pastor texted me a photo. It was the one little cucumber my patch had produced. I didn't taste the fruit of my labor, but he did and I felt vindicated that all my efforts had not been in vain. Against all the odds, my plants had produced! And I’d learned something - plant the seeds and mark the spot!!
This year, I just hope the squirrels can’t read!
Divine Mercy: This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope John Paul announced in the year 2000 that the second Sunday after Easter would forever more be celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday, marking the visions of Christ received in the 1930s by St. Faustina Kowalska, the Polish mystic. Holy Father said about all this at St. Faustina’s tomb in Lagiewniki, Poland, in 1997:
“There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy—that love which is  
benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights of the holiness of God.
“In this place we become particularly aware of this. From here, in fact, went out the Message of Divine Mercy that Christ Himself chose to pass on to our generation through Blessed Faustina.
“And it is a message that is clear and understandable for everyone. Anyone can come here, look at this image of the merciful Jesus, His Heart radiating grace, and hear in the depths of his own soul what Blessed Faustina heard: “Fear nothing. I am with you always” (Diary, 586).
“And if this person responds with a sincere heart: “Jesus, I trust in you,” he will find comfort in all his anxieties and fears....”
A week after Easter Sunday, and a week into our 50 day season of Easter, hopefully we are all more aware of the immensity of God’s Divine Mercy, demonstrated to us in an unequivocable manner through the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus. During these 50 days, our first reading at mass comes from the Acts of the Apostles. It’s the acts… it’s what the Apostles and disciples of Jesus did, having become aware of the incredible mercy of Jesus. They went out and continued to be deliverers of that mercy to others. They continued the mission. They continued the work of Jesus. They did not always reap the fruits of their labor in their own time. But their efforts at planting seeds and nurturing the growth of the faith continues to benefit us today. They would never know us, but they cared enough to ensure we had the means to know Jesus. Now it’s our turn. The next generations depend on us. Will we answer the call?"
You are in my prayers this week!

Fr. Andrew

12) Words on the Word: April 11, 2021 - Trending NOW

Is it a trend, we sometimes find ourselves asking about interesting anecdotes, or just a little blip on the radar?

Well, if Google searches are a reliable indicator, here’s something that’s a trend:

Searches on the terms “hope,” “hug,” and “prayer” are up considerably over the last year, while searches on terms such as “party,” “travel visa” and “festival” dropped to record lows.

That information comes courtesy of a news site out of Ireland that reported recently on the types of terms that had gained and lost popularity on the international search engine during the pandemic.

None of them are a particular surprise, given the way in which many people have altered their priorities since last year. Some of that, of course, is due to necessity – foreign travel dropped precipitously, for example – and some is due to people re-assessing what is most important in a changing world.

The good news for all of us, as we observe Divine Mercy Sunday, is the reminder that, while trends come and go, one thing remains constant through the ages – God’s infinite love and mercy.

And so whether we’re able to hug our loved ones at the moment or not … whether we’re able to relax with friends at a party or festival or not … or some combination of such things, we can rest assured that by keeping the faith we will win the day.

“For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments,” we hear in today’s second reading from the first letter of St. John. “And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

 © 2021, Words on the Word 
13) New Podcast From Fr. Mike Schmitz, featuring Jeff Cavins: The Bible In A Year:

If you’ve struggled to read the Bible, this podcast is for you.

Ascension’s Bible in a Year Podcast, hosted by Fr. Mike Schmitz and featuring Jeff Cavins, guides Catholics through the Bible in 365 daily episodes starting January 1st, 2021.

Each 20-25 minute episode includes:

  • two to three scripture readings 
  • a reflection from Fr. Mike Schmitz
  • and guided prayer to help you hear God’s voice in his Word.

Unlike any other Bible podcast, Ascension’s Bible in a Year Podcast for Catholics follows a reading plan inspired by the Great Adventure Bible Timeline® learning system, a groundbreaking approach to understanding Salvation History developed by renowned Catholic Bible teacher Jeff Cavins.

Tune in and live your daily life through the lens of God’s word!
This week's LIVE Stream
Schedule at St. Joan of Arc:

Monday (April 12):
7:00 AM - Mass
10:00 AM - Funeral for Joseph Bommarito, Jr. (Read obituary HERE)

Tuesday (April 13):
7:00 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 5-8)

Wednesday (April 14):
7:00 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 1-4)
10:00 AM - Funeral for JoEllen Danckaert (Read Obituary HERE)

Thursday (April 15):
7:00 AM - Mass
7:00 PM - Holy Hour (Praise and Worship Music)

Friday (April 16):
7:00 AM - Mass
10:00 AM - Funeral for Florence Zagata (Read obituary HERE)
3:30 PM - Wedding of Ann Marie Forunate and Cory James Monahan

Saturday (April 17):
12:30 PM - Baptism of Violet Seaver
1:30 PM - Baptism of Victoria Panzenhagen
2:30 PM - Baptism of Elena Chandler
4:00 PM - Mass
6:00 PM - Mass

Sunday (April 18):
8:00 AM - Mass
10:00 AM - Mass
11:15 AM - Baptism of Lucy Skoczylas and Maiya Swanigan
12:00 PM - Mass

Please note that all of our masses and events can be accessed through the ARCHIVE section of our Live stream page if you are not able to watch it live!

We also have our own ROKU Channel. Search for "CATHOLIC" in the ROKU channel store, and you will find SJA's channel. A Fire TV Channel is also available.
Click on the image below
to download a copy of our
Bulletin for Sunday, April 11, 2021
Divine Mercy Sunday
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