This is the night of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me,
and full of gladness.
 
The sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness,
washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen,
and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord,
and brings down the mighty.
 
(The Exsultet – The Solemn Proclamation of Easter)

Dear Friends in Christ,

The above lines, taken from the Solemn Proclamation of Easter from the Easter Vigil, known as the Exultet, take on, as it did last year, an entirely different meaning for us. As our world continues to grapple with the ongoing effects of the COVID pandemic and we continue to wrestle with all that the pandemic has done to uproot and disrupt our lives, we need to help one another stay focused on Christ and the incredible power of His resurrection. With lockdowns, changes to our way of life, and helping families work through illnesses or deaths, staying focused on Christ can be challenging. We need to trust that Jesus is walking with us and that He will use the power of His resurrection to bring us joy, and most assuredly, bring light into the midst of the darkness that this ongoing pandemic has brought us.

Remember that Jesus promised he would never leave us orphaned or abandoned. Stay close to him! Bring Jesus into your hearts and homes, unlike any other time in your life. And reflect on the ultimate message of these days, namely that every Good Friday brings about an Easter Sunday. The LONG Good Friday experience we have had with the COVID-19 pandemic will also see its Easter Sunday. We may not know when that Easter experience will shine forth, but we need to trust that Christ will see it through because of His great love for us!

May we be like the early disciples of Jesus, who used the power and grace of the resurrection to transform lives. In Christ’s name, may we go forth to bring peace to our family and friends, may we go out and bring mourners joy, and most importantly, may we go out and help dispel all kinds of darkness and evil so that the Kingdom of Christ may continue to grow in our midst.

Happy Easter!
Msgr Mike Simply Signature
1) History of the Adoration of the Cross:
As I was praying on Good Friday, I came across an article from Our Sunday Visitor on the history of the Adoration of the Cross. I found it very insightful and it gave me some great things to think about as I prayed.

I thought I would provide you with a link to the article here. It's a short read and worth the time to read.



Msgr. Mike
2) 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.
3) Bishop Barron on the Meaning of Easter:
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 4, 2021
7) Grow+Go for Easter 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 Easter—the Resurrection of the Lord—Jeff Cavins tells us that since Jesus is risen from the dead, our hearts and our lives ought to change to reflect that reality.
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) Tire Tracks in the d’Arc
Alleluia! Praise God, Christ is Risen: A very Happy Easter to you all. May this be a joy-filled season for 50 days and may it begin the re-forming of our relationship with Jesus Christ in a freshly committed way. And yet, paradoxically, Easter doesn’t do anything new; rather it affirms something true - it affirms for us the divine reality that we’ve been saved for a purpose, and further, that we’ve been commissioned and sent to bring God’s world back to Him.
 
There is a section in John’s Gospel, which we heard at daily mass a week or so ago, in which John simply says that Jesus “went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.” (John 10:40). It’s toward the end of Jesus’ ministry and there is growing tension between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus knows where this is heading. They try to stone Jesus and they accuse Him of blaspheme for making Himself God. Jesus escapes their attempts to arrest Him and He goes back across the Jordan. It’s after John the Baptist has been arrested and executed. Jesus returns to where it had all begun. He returns to where John had baptized Him, when the voice of His Father declared Him to be His Beloved Son and where the Holy Spirit had descended upon Him as a dove, confirming Jesus’ commission and ministry to God’s people.
 
In this moment of heightened tension, even Jesus looked for a way to bring His mission and purpose back into focus. He went to the source - to this place and time of encounter with His Father. At Easter, we go forward in our faith, not by reaching out for something new, but by going back to where it began and by being renewed in an old calling that still rings as true today as it ever did. Specifically, we are reminded at Easter of our own baptism into the Body of Christ and into His mission, which is ours too. We review our baptismal promises and renew the commissioning we received at our confirmation, when the Bishop sealed us with the Holy Spirit and offered us the peace that Christ brings.
 
I feel so very blessed as a convert to be able to recall the details of Holy Week and receiving the Sacraments of Initiation when I joined the Church at the Easter Vigil, 15 years ago this month. I remember the struggle of Holy Week as I discerned whether or not I was ready to receive the sacraments. I remember vividly the unsettled feeling I had after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday night, after going home, and I recall feeling that I had to go back to church and pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel of Repose that had been temporarily set-up for the night. And there, in that temporary “garden,” I wrestled with my doubt until I was convicted that it was that night, as Jesus wrestled with His Agony in the Garden that He laid down His human will and submitted to the Will of His Father. I asked myself one question: “Never mind all the other details that I still don’t understand, do I believe that that is Jesus in the Tabernacle?” The answer was unequivocally “yes, I do.” And that was all that mattered in that moment to move ahead and be baptized into His Church. The rest is a lifetime of learning.
 
I remember the power of the moment of baptism, kneeling in the font and having the water poured over me. I remember the tears in my eyes watching a lady by the name of Gloria being baptized. Gloria was in her late 80s and quite sick toward the end of the RCIA program. She’d been unsure as to whether she would be able to participate in the Easter Vigil. But that evening she was received into the Church. She passed away not too long after, born into, and died in, the Body of Christ.
 
I remember receiving the Eucharist for the first time and being profoundly impacted by that moment… for so long the stumbling block between me and the Catholic faith, and an obstacle that the Holy Spirit had used directly and to turn into the source of my conversion three years earlier. I remember my confirmation that night and the liberally-applied Sacred Chrism oil dripping down my face and off my nose.
 
I also remember the shooting pains up my lower legs throughout the Vigil Mass! The Church had a marble-tiled sanctuary on which we had been kneeling throughout the Litany of Saints chant. We’d been given elasticated knee-pads to wear under our albs and they were waaaay too tight.
 
What’s funny is that we only needed them for that moment, early in the mass, and it took me 10 years to realize, “Wait a minute! Why didn’t I take them off after that?!!” Ten years!! I guess it really was a profound experience and my mind was elsewhere!
 
I remember going out to celebrate with the rest of the RCIA group after the Vigil. And I remember going home and being too wound-up to go to bed until 3:30am.
 
And I remember going back to Church on Easter Sunday morning, wearing my white garment as the neophytes (newly baptized) are encouraged to do. 
 
All these memories have made the Holy Week Triduum a very special time for me each year. There is great value in being able to go back and re-live the different moments of this beginning in my life.
 
Whenever I would leave Camp Sancta Maria when I worked there, or anytime I would visit, I made it a point to stop by the Chapel and sit for a few minutes right where it all began for me - to sit where I was sitting for that first mass of the summer in 2003, with 150 other staff and campers and to remember the Eucharist being elevated at the consecration. I remember breaking down and instantly knowing that what I was looking at was not just a piece of bread, but that something had happened before me. I knew what the Church taught and I knew I needed to take a closer look at that because I knew my old ideas were wrong.
 
That moment, that memory, that reflection has sustained me in many difficult times. I encountered Jesus that day and nothing has been the same since.
 
You may not be able to go back in your mind to the day of your baptism. You may not recall that first sacrament. But today, Easter Sunday is a moment to be reminded that, that was a beginning for you. It was your moment of encounter with Christ, regardless of your memory of it. It was the moment of your inclusion in the Body of Christ in which we all share and play a part. And it was your commissioning, with a very particular purpose and mission, to join Jesus in the work of saving souls and bringing others to know Him and to love Him.
 
Christ chose me and He chose you. Today, praise God! It’s good to go back, but always we go back to go forward. Jesus Christ is risen and He’s on a mission. Let’s go with Him.
You are in my prayers this week!

Fr. Andrew

11) Words on the Word: April 4, 2021 - New Life

It is a compelling metaphor for the joy we celebrate today.

You’ve got an aging road, its infrastructure fallen into disrepair, with many empty storefronts between the otherwise strong businesses. You’ve got some safety concerns; some things you’d rather not look at too closely for fear of what the underlying reality is.

That is the scene on the east side of Detroit, specifically East Warren Avenue, which once was a thriving stretch of commerce but in more recent years has become a shadow of its best self. And so it was heartening a few weeks ago to see stories about a revitalization effort intended to strengthen the corridor and restore its luster.

According to a story in The Detroit News, a public/philanthropic/private coalition has formed to help a several-square-block portion of the area with revitalization efforts focused on businesses, streetscape improvements and housing stabilization.

The metaphor, of course, is our own lives, which sadly also tend to decay a bit over time, thanks (no thanks!) to the tarnish of sin.

In effect, we don’t shine like we once did, and there can be a reluctance to look too closely inside, for fear of the underlying reality.

But the good news, especially today, is the joy of the risen Christ, who makes all things new again. A revitalization effort aimed at our wounded souls, cleansing and rebuilding what had been broken.

“On entering the tomb (Mary Magdalene and two others) saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed,” we hear in St. Mark’s gospel message from the Easter Vigil. “He said to them, ‘Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him.’”

He is risen. He is truly risen! Alleluia!

 © 2021, Words on the Word 
12) 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 5):
7:00 AM - Mass
10:00 AM - Funeral for Catherine Boles (Read obituary HERE)


Tuesday (April 6):
7:00 AM - Mass


Wednesday (April 7):
7:00 AM - Mass


Thursday (April 8):
7:00 AM - Mass


Friday (April 9):
7:00 AM - Mass
10:00 AM - Funeral for Elena Roose (Read obituary HERE)


Saturday (April 10):
2:00 PM - Baptism of Hayes Ryan Demers
4:00 PM - Mass
6:00 PM - Mass


Sunday (April 11):
8:00 AM - Mass
10:00 AM - Mass (and Baptism of Henry Joseph Militello)
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 4, 2021
Easter Sunday
Weekly bulletin: Sending the bulletin has been greatly received by so many people. IF you are getting the bulletin online and would prefer that it not be mailed to your home, please click on the button below to be removed from the mailing list.

At the same time, if you are NOT getting the bulletin and would prefer to get it, click on the same button and ask to be ADDED to the list.

Read the latest from the DETROIT CATHOLIC
Click on the image below.