Dear Friends in Christ,

Here are a few updates from the parish for the week of February 14, 2021.
1) Ash Wednesday: As we start the great season of Lent, consider joining us at one of our three masses scheduled for Ash Wednesday. While Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, many like to attend mass on this day as a great way to jumpstart their Lenten journey.

Our Mass schedule for Ash Wednesday is as follows:

7 AM
12 PM
7 PM

The distribution of ashes will take place ONLY DURING mass.

The Church will be open for private prayer and reflection after the Noon Mass until the start of the 7 PM Mass. While it was our custom in the past that the priests and deacons of the parish would be present in Church throughout the day to distribute ashes, that will not be the case this year because of COVID restrictions. While we will not be distributing ashes except during the celebration of Mass, it still is a great opportunity to stop by Church for some time of prayer and reflection as you start your Lenten journey if you are unable to attend one of the Masses.
2) Ash Wednesday Fasting and Abstinence Obligation: Please remember that Ash Wednesday is also a day of fasting and abstinence. Those who are 14 years old and older are obliged to abstain. The fasting obligation is obligatory for persons age 18 until and including their 59th birthday.
3) A Reflection on Lenten Fasting:

By Rev. Daniel Merz

In the early Church and, to a lesser extent still today, there were two fasts. There was the “total fast” that preceded all major feasts or sacramental events. The ancient name for this fast was “statio” from the verb “sto, stare” to stand watch, on guard or in vigil. The second fast was a fast of abstinence from certain foods, e.g., meats or fats. This was more an act of self-discipline and self-control. The statio fast was total and a means of watching and waiting…i.e. for something. The fast of abstinence was more general and personal, to help oneself be more disciplined or self-controlled. The total fast is still kept today prior to reception of Holy Communion. Following Holy Communion, the total fast ceases because Jesus had explicitly stated that we don’t fast when the bridegroom is here, in other words, what we’re keeping vigil for has arrived, the wait is over. On the other hand, the fast of abstinence was allowed on Sundays because the continuity of abstinence can be important for it to be effective.

These initial observations, then, teach us that the Eucharist is always the end of a preparation. It is always the fulfillment of an expectation. In the Orthodox Church during Lent, they have Eucharist only on Saturday and Sunday. But because Wednesdays and Fridays are total fast days, those two days are also days for the Communion service (Liturgy of the PreSanctified) which are held in the evening, i.e., after the day of preparation. Fasting is always preparatory.
But how did fasting become such an important means of preparing for the Eucharist and of learning virtue through self-discipline? Christian fasting is revealed in an interdependence between two events in the Bible: the “breaking of the fast” by Adam and Eve; and the “keeping of the fast” by Christ at the beginning of his ministry.

Humanity’s “Fall” away from God and into sin began with eating. God had proclaimed a fast from the fruit of only one tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17), and Adam and Eve broke it. Fasting is here connected with the very mystery of life and death, of salvation and damnation. Food perpetuates life in this physical world, which is subject to decay and death. But God “created no death.” (Wis. 1:13) Humanity, in Adam and Eve, rejected a life dependent on God alone for one that was dependent rather on “bread alone.” (Dt. 8:3; Mt. 4:4; Lk. 4:4) The whole world was given to man as a kind of food, as a means to life, but “life” is meant as communion with God, not as food. (“Their god is their belly.” Phil. 3:19) The tragedy is not so much that Adam ate food, but that he ate the food for its own sake, “apart” from God and to be independent of Him. Believing that food had life in itself and thus he could be “like God.”  And he put his faith in food. This kind of existence seems to be built on the principle that man does indeed live “by bread alone.”

Christ, however, is the new Adam. At the beginning of his ministry in the Gospel of Matthew, we read, “When He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He became hungry.” Hunger is that state in which we realize our dependence on something else—when we face the ultimate question: “on what does my life depend?” Satan tempted both Adam and Christ, saying: Eat, for your hunger is proof that you depend entirely on food, that your life is in food.  Adam believed and ate. Christ said, “Man does NOT live by bread alone.” (Mt. 4:4; Lk. 4:4) This liberates us from total dependence on food, on matter, on the world. Thus, for the Christian, fasting is the only means by which man recovers his true spiritual nature.

In order for fasting to be effective, then, the spirit must be a part of it. Christian fasting is not concerned with losing weight. It is a matter of prayer and the spirit.  And because of that, because it is truly a place of the spirit, true fasting may well lead to temptation, and weakness and doubt and irritation.

In other words, it will be a real fight between good and evil, and very likely we shall fail many times in these battles. But the very discovery of the Christian life as “fight” and “effort” is an essential aspect of fasting.

Christian tradition can name at least seven reasons for fasting:

  1. From the beginning, God commanded some fasting, and sin entered into the world because Adam and Eve broke the fast.
  2. For the Christian, fasting is ultimately about fasting from sin.
  3. Fasting reveals our dependence on God and not the resources of this world.
  4. Fasting is an ancient way of preparing for the Eucharist—the truest of foods.
  5. Fasting is preparation for baptism (and all the sacraments)—for the reception of grace.
  6. Fasting is a means of saving resources to give to the poor.
  7. Fasting is a means of self-discipline, chastity, and the restraining of the appetites.

This article draws in part on the writings of Alexander Schmemann, “Notes in Liturgical Theology,” St. Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 1, Winter 1959, pp. 2-9. 

Rev. Daniel Merz is a former Associate Director of the USCCB Divine Worship office. 

This article was originally published on 
4) Preparing for Lent (by Father Mike Schmitz):
5) Hallow App: I am excited to share with you a gift from the parish that will hopefully be useful in your own prayer lives and those of your families.

Hallow is a Catholic prayer and meditation app that helps users deepen their relationship with God through audio-guided contemplative prayer sessions. The app launched 2 years ago and is already the #1 Catholic app in the world.

We have a number of parishioners who are already using the app and loving it. Great for praying alone or together with your spouse/family, Hallow truly has something for everyone, no matter what you are going through (see below for their different content categories).

Hallow is free to download and has tons of permanently free content, as well as a premium subscription, Hallow Plus.

This Lent, we have partnered with the Hallow team to provide Hallow Plus access to all parishioners for FREE through Easter. No credit card required.

To get started, simply click the button above/below to activate your free account on the Hallow website. Make sure to select “Sign Up with Email” when registering. For step-by-step instructions, you can visit this process guide. If, for any reason, your parish code does not automatically apply, you can manually enter the code [stjoanofarcmi] on the subscription screen.

If you run into any issues, simply reach out to Hallow support using the live chat at or by emailing  

6) Regarding the General Dispensation from the Obligation to Attend Mass

Archbishop Vigneron Calls the Faithful Back to Mass Starting March 13 ... with some exceptions. The dispensation remains in place for people in high-risk categories, caregivers and others; masking and capacity rules do not change.

From the Detroit Catholic:

Citing the “essential and central nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice” in the life of the Church, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron on Feb. 9 announced the general dispensation from Sunday Mass for Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit will expire on March 13.

However, while the general dispensation — which relieves all Catholics in the archdiocese from their moral obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days — is expiring, the archbishop said he will continue to grant “particular dispensations” to those in need, including those who are at high risk of COVID-19.

Others who may continue to be excused from their Sunday obligation include:

  • Those who are ill or whose health would be significantly compromised were they to contract a communicable illness;
  • Those who care for the sick, homebound or infirmed or someone in a high-risk category;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Those age 65 or older;
  • Those who cannot attend Mass for other reasons (such as a lack of transportation or being turned away because of capacity limits); and
  • Those who have “significant fear or anxiety of becoming ill by being at Mass.”


Come home to the sacraments.
Come home to community.
Come home to hope.
8) Holy Hour This Week: Please consider joining us for Holy Hour this Thursday (also live-streamed) at 7 PM. This week's Holy Hour will have Praise and Worship Music with Ted Devine.
9) This Sunday's Readings - Sunday February 14, 2021
10) Grow+Go for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time:
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. Look for Grow+Go in our weekly emails.
11) Sunday Reflection by Jeff Cavins:
In this week’s video for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jeff Cavins reflects on the Sunday Readings and makes a compelling case for walking in holiness.
12) 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.
13) This week's edition of TALLer Tales:
Oversized Old Clothes: Those who go to the 4:00 PM mass know that Father Rich challenged me the weekend after my Dad’s funeral to take a day off each week either to spend with my Mom or to just get out of the office. It was a great challenge and one that I have been trying to live up to (otherwise, I’ll be ratted out at the 4:00 PM mass … OH, the power of a microphone). For the last few weeks, I’ve been picking my Mom up from my sister’s house on Fridays, and we’ve traveled back to the condo to begin the process of sorting through my Dad’s clothing and stuff. I’m learning quickly that this process takes time, and it’s not something you can rush as many items bring back memories or starts a conversation. It’s meant to be and has been therapeutic.
At the end of these outings, which lately have been focused on my Dad’s clothes, I usually end up with three piles. One pile is for St. Vincent DePaul or other charitable groups, another to toss, and another to bring back to my sister’s house for family members to rummage through. Some of my Dad’s iconic shirts and sweaters are being used to create a throw or blanket. What we’ve enjoyed seeing most are all the shirts and sweaters we’ve given our Dad as gifts in recent years still completely packaged up. I guess once you get up in years, you don’t need all those new shirts and sweaters! He would tell us this all the time, but we never listened!
For the next part of this story, it’s important to remember that my Mom is currently living with my sister Cindy in Allenton. It’s also important to remember that my brother-in-law Jay died on Thanksgiving Day in 2015. So, the two widows live together with a couple of young adults (Cindy’s kids) and two dogs.
When we gathered in Allenton last weekend for our Sunday gathering (and to watch the Super Bowl), one of our tasks was to rummage through some of our Dad’s clothing. We wanted to see if anyone wanted any of his stuff and determine which of his “iconic” shirts or sweaters would make their way into a throw or blanket. I pulled out three garbage bags of clothing, and we started going through it all. “OH, I’ll take that,” one would say. Another would comment, “OH, let me try that one.” “OH, do you remember how Dad would always wear that even in the heat of summer?” The comments went on and on. Through all of this, my niece McKenzie watched in amazement. As my sister Cindy was putting on one of our Dad’s jackets, McKenzie piped up, “There she goes again!” Heads immediately turned toward McKenzie. “What do you mean, ‘There she goes again,’” her quizzical mom inquired somewhat mockingly with laughter as only a mother can do with her children. “Yes, there she goes again … trying on dead people’s oversized clothes,” McKenzie responded. “She does the same thing with my Dad’s stuff. Widows!”
Ash Wednesday: As I mentioned last weekend, Ash Wednesday will look different for us this year. Given all the COVID precautions, several traditions we’ve become accustomed to on Ash Wednesday will change.
First, our public masses that day will be at 7 AM, Noon, and 7 PM. The celebration of Mass will include the distribution of ashes. All of our Masses will be live-streamed.
Second, the Church will be opened only after the Noon Mass until the 7 PM Mass. There will be NO DISTRIBUTION of ashes during this time. We will still have handouts with the readings of the day and prayers for you to recite. The handout and resources will also be emailed and made available on the homepage of our parish website.
Third, the distribution of ashes will look different this year. We are one of the few countries in the world where ashes are imposed on the faithful’s forehead in the form of a cross. In most places around the world, ashes are sprinkled on the crown of the faithful’s head. This is how ashes will be distributed at SJA this year.
Please remember that Ash Wednesday is also a day of fasting and abstinence. Those who are 14 years old and older are obliged to abstain. The fasting obligation is obligatory for persons age 18 until and including their 59th birthday.
Concerning fasting, here’s a blurb from one of my favorite Catholic websites, “The Catholic Church, our Mother, His Body on earth, is a very wise mother. She knows we aren’t perfect. She knows we struggle. In her wisdom, she asks very little of us when it comes to fasting. The Church officially lays out for the rest of us mortals the minimum requirements that to fast, one must be between the ages of 18 and 59 (inclusive) and that fasting involves taking only three meals a day…. Those three, by the way, should include no meat and that two of the meals together not equal the size of one full meal.”
Lenten Resolutions: Have you decided on any Lenten resolutions yet? Lent gives us concrete time to step back and set some spiritual priorities in our life. Many people will give up chocolate, ice cream, and the like. But honestly, those practices do little to make us better disciples, nor do they prepare us to celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ. What are your Lenten resolutions? Here are some suggestions: 1) attend daily Mass more often; 2) spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration on Thursdays; 3) make more time for prayer or spiritual reading, possibly being faithful to reading the Little Black Book or praying the Liturgy of the Hours; 4) take time to read some of the Lenten resources available on the internet (,,,,,, to name a few). And there are plenty of apps for your phone or iPad / tablet to consider: iMissal, iBreviary, and Laudate are always favorite apps. There is also the Stations of the Cross app from Ave Maria Press, the Mass Times app, the 3 Minute Retreat app, the Catholic TV app, the Rosary app, the Hallow app, the Pray as You Go app. Consider having reflections sent to your inbox with Bishop Barron’s Daily Lenten Reflections ( You could also explore many of the phenomenal videos available on (remember we have a parish subscription to, so there’s no charge to you). There’s certainly no shortage of material on the internet to help us with our Lenten journey. Happy Lent!
Enjoy the week. Know of my prayers.

In Christ,
Msgr Mike Simply Signature
14) Tire Tracks in the d’Arc
Ash Wednesday is this week already, somehow! We move into a new Church season. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. This is a season of penance, but it is far from a time of gloom. It is a season rich with opportunities to re-engage with what lies at the heart of our faith – that we are loved intensely by the God who created us: “God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16). That’s worthy of our attention this Lent.

The forty days of Lent are a time for us to get back to the basics of who we are as followers of Jesus. This is why Lent was once described as “a time of returning to God … a time of refocusing, of re-entering the place of truth, of reclaiming our true identity.” It’s a time for a review of how our faith is expressed in the lived reality of our lives. Does who we profess to be as Catholics and what we say we believe, hold-up in the light? Do we really appear to be authentic? If being Catholic was a job you were applying for, would you have trouble filling-out the “Previous Experience” section of the application, without stretching the truth? If we can’t convince ourselves that we’re making a good application, we won’t convince God either.

The term “Lent” is derived from the old English word “Lenctern,” meaning “springtime.” It hasn’t felt much like Spring in Michigan this week, but where I grew-up, March definitely meant Spring and most of Lent runs through March. In March, the grass was growing again, and trees showed signs of life, signs of hope. I certainly don’t mind living in a state of denial and telling myself that it’s practically Spring now. But I know of my need for Lent too. I know of my need for conversion. You can’t get to the Cross and to the Resurrection without first going through the desert and travelling to Jerusalem. And that’s what Lent allows us to do - to walk those steps with Jesus and His disciples. Lent is not a time of gloom, it’s a time of honesty about our own response to the gift we have been given in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, nailed to a cross for you, for me, for all. And it’s a time of hope and of re-engaging those practices in our faith-lives that lie barren: Sunday mass every week, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, family prayer, devotionals, a personal prayer time, scripture-reading. A great practice is to read a few verses of scripture last thing before you go to bed at night, so that the last thing you read and the last thing on your mind before you go to sleep is something Jesus did, or something Jesus said. Read the daily mass Gospel so you accompany Jesus on route to the Last Supper on Holy Thursday and the Cross on Good Friday. Lent is a season to clear away the brush of distraction and to focus on responding to God. Do that, and we’ll plant new seeds of devotion that will sprout, bud, flower and sing to God’s glory with Our Savior at His Resurrection on Easter morning.

Looking back to move forward: A few days ago I was on a hunt for some (4,000!) photographs from a trip across Europe that I had lost track of. A couple of friends and I had parted ways with our seminary pilgrimage group after being in the Holy Land and Rome, so we could do some travelling for a couple of weeks before returning to Detroit. It was a great, mostly train journey across Italy, with stops in Milan, Lucerne, Switzerland, Paris and then northern England before returning to London for the flight back. I fired-up what I thought was my slow and almost defunct 10-year old laptop, but didn’t find the photos. Then I realized this was the wrong laptop. This was actually my 17-year old previous computer. I located, still packed in a box from last July, my “newer” 10-year old machine and cranked that into some form of ailing life. Happily I found the file of photos and then spent hours transferring them onto a flash drive so I could secure them elsewhere. And of course, I couldn’t resist looking through them again, even though it was 10:30pm by then.

I took so many photos because they are great memory stamps on what we saw and did. I look at the photos and I remember the conversations behind them. I look at the photos and I remember taking them. I remember how cold it was on the lake in Lucerne. I remember the pizza in Milan and the incredible roof of the Cathedral there. I remember riding that crazy steel flume down the slopes of the Alps at 500mph! I remember the deafening wind sweeping up the ridge of the hill we climbed over the valleys of the Lake District in England. I remember sitting in a 17th Century barn around a wood-stove, watching laundry dry after a rain storm on that hill. I remember my friends’ giddy excitement getting onto a double-decker London bus and watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.

One video particularly brought back memories. We had planned our trip, city by city, and had pre-bought some train tickets at a good price. Along the way, we had always intended to spend one night in a railway station… it just worked-out easier that way with the timing of the trains. We had intended that night to be in Zurich, which has one of the nicest railway stations in Europe. We would get the train from Milan and arrive too late for the connecting trip to Lucerne, but that was okay. Unfortunately, even though it had been 3 months since we purchased the tickets, and we had been all across Israel and Italy for weeks, none of the 3 of us thought to check the tickets and remind ourselves of the train’s departure time from Milan. I had in my head an approximation…. 7:30pm…. So we found the platform at a around 7:10pm… plenty of time… time to see the previous train leaving…. so we thought. But nope, a check of the monitors and the timetables and NOW, our tickets, confirmed that THAT was our train, leaving on time at 7:10pm, not 7:30, the last train to Zurich! The video was of us drinking bad McDonald’s coffee in the strangest-looking McDonalds and coming to terms with now having to spend the night on the platforms of Milan…. not the nicest railway station in Europe… as EVERYTHING began to close around us for the night, even the restrooms! There was a photo of my friend, Fr. Mark, on his 25th birthday, ripping-up our non-refundable tickets before we purchased new tickets for the next morning at 3 times the cost. We decided to think of this as “an adventure,” but we also decided for quite some time afterwards, that it was still “too soon” to mention it again.

The moral of this story might be to buy refundable tickets. Or, that as much as we want to forge ahead, there is value in looking back - we’re more likely to catch the train if we think to look back at the ticket. Lent is for us a chance to reflect back on our past year since last Easter. Have we grown in faith, or is our journey stuck at the wrong station? What are the good and helpful spiritual practices that lie barren in our lives. Lent is a time for reflection, taking a better look, turning back to God and a time for moving on.
You are in my prayers this week!

Fr. Andrew

15) Words on the Word: February 14, 2021 – Table Manners

One of the consequences of this extended pandemic is that many of us are learning new ways of doing things that, prior to Covid, we took for granted.

For example, eating at a restaurant.

It was always something of a no-brainer before. You walk in, you sit down, you order, you eat, you pay and you leave.

But as restaurants in Michigan began to re-open a few weeks ago, at least one local media outlet ran a story reminding people to “be kind” when dining indoors.

Among the reminders: capacity is tight, so many restaurants might now require reservations or alternate (i.e., outdoor) seating arrangements; some restaurants might not be fully stocked; some may have less-than-optimal staffing levels; some may have different rules regarding the use of masks.

And, the final line of the story: “Tip well.”

Most of the reminders are part of the common sense of what has become the new normal, but it doesn’t hurt to hear the admonitions, anyway. At the end of the day, if the list is not available before heading out to eat, a quick review of today’s scripture might be helpful.

“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God,” St. Paul says in today’s second reading from the first letter to the Corinthians. “Avoid giving offense, whether to Jews or Greeks or the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved.”

The context is different, of course, but the lessons are as applicable as ever.

He concludes, in other words, with a sentiment similar to what we often ask rhetorically – what would Jesus do?

“Be imitators of me,” he says, “as I am of Christ.”

Bon appetit.

© 2021, Words on the Word
16) The Chosen: The Chosen is the first-ever-multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus. Created outside of the Hollywood system, The Chosen allows us to see Him through the eyes of those who knew him.

The series is incredibly done and I have been mesmerized by each episode I have watched.

The series is available on Pure Flix or you can purchase a digital copy or a DVD of Season One on The Chosen website (

Below is the series official trailer. If you are interested in being part of the watch party and discussion group, please click on the watch party flyer below.
17) 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 (February 15):
7 AM - Mass

Tuesday (February 16):
7 AM - Mass

Ash Wednesday (February 17):
7 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 1-4)
9:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 5-8)
12 PM - Mass
7 PM - Mass

Thursday (February 18):
7 AM - Mass
7 PM - Holy Hour (Praise and Worship Music)

Friday (February 19):
7 AM - Mass

Saturday (February 20):
10 AM - Funeral for Paul Tatti (Read Obituary HERE)
4 PM - Mass
6 PM - Mass

Sunday (February 21):
8 AM - Mass
10 AM - Baptism of Claire Lenz
12 Noon - 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, February 14, 2021
The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.