Dear Friends in Christ,

Here are a few updates from the parish for the week of February 28, 2021.
1) Back to Church Sunday (March 13/14): With Archbishop Vigneron's call to the faithful to return to Church two weeks from now, we have designated that Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, as Back to Church Sunday. While the Archbishop has brought the general dispensation from the obligation to attend mass to an end, several individual dispensations remain in place and are explained in the article below.

To those who have been regularly attending mass in person, please spread the word about the many precautions we take at SJA and more importantly, share your personal testimony about what it was like to return to Church in person. Of course, we will continue to live-stream all of our liturgies at

To celebrate the weekend, we're going to have coffee and cookies at the Saturday Masses and coffee and donuts at the Sunday Masses. Everything will be pre-wrapped and ready for grab-and-go. While we can't necessarily gather and socialize yet, we can certainly enjoy a little bit of hospitality.

For the time being, our mass schedule will remain as it exists today: Saturdays at 4 PM and 6 PM and Sundays at 8 AM and 12 PM. It is only a matter of time before we bring the 10 AM Mass back into the schedule. So, stay tuned.

If you are looking for a Mass that is not that crowded, consider the 6 PM Mass on Saturdays.


Come home to the sacraments.
Come home to community.
Come home to hope.
3) 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.”

4) Where is God in the midst of suffering? I recently came across this video by Father Mark Toups, of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, about God's presence in the midst of suffering that I wanted to share with you. He offers his reflection based on the readings for this weekend, the Second Sunday of Lent.

From Ascension Press: "This week, Fr. Mark Toups meditates on the Transfiguration, and how God journeys with us even in the midst of suffering. Suffering is a natural part of life, and each individual’s suffering is completely unique to the person next to them. The evil one likes to tell us that we’re alone during these trials, but the reality is that the Lord is perhaps even closer to us in our suffering than he is to us in good times. We have never been alone: all we have to do is let God in and trust in his glory."
6) 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. If you are interested in continuing the PLUS version after Easter, our parish code will get you a 20% discount on a yearly subscription.

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  
7) Fish Fry Finder: The Archdiocese of Detroit recently launched an interactive Friday Fish Fry Finder to help metro Detroit Catholics find a Fish Fry located near them. The site can be found at

Read more about Fish Fries at parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit by reading the article found in the Detroit Catholic. Read More ...
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 include Praise and Worship Music.
9) This Sunday's Readings - Sunday February 28, 2021
10) Grow+Go for the Second Sunday of Lent:
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.
11) Sunday Reflection by Jeff Cavins:
In this week’s Encountering the Word video for the Second Sunday of Lent, Jeff Cavins focuses on the profound connections between the sacrifice of Isaac and the Transfiguration.
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:
Do As I Say Not As I Do: Throughout the campus, we have several Schlage keyless door locks. We have them in locations where it didn’t make sense to incur the costs of adding a door to our door lock system. While these locks operate by using a nine-volt battery, a key can also unlock them. My experience has been that the batteries usually last a year under normal use. Thankfully, there’s a warning indicator when the battery is dying. I’ve found that the warning usually continues for a week before the lock completely dies (I have practice). Once the lock is dead, you need a key to unlock it. I’m forever on everyone’s case to let us know when any of the locks start giving off the lower power warning. Usually, no one pays attention to the warnings. A lock is only discovered to be dead when the guy who’s listed at the top left corner of page three of the bulletin (me … the pastor) tries to use a dead lock that it’s finally “discovered” to be dead.
This past week was crazy. As I was going in and out of my house, my side door lock gave off the lower power warning. Given my experience, I figured I had about a week before I had to tackle the task of taking the lock apart to install a new battery. The task is pretty simple, but it just requires a bit of time. Unfortunately, time isn’t something that I have an abundance of especially on the weekends. All weekend long, though, I kept saying to myself, “You better change that battery, or else you’ll be sorry.” Can you see where this is going?
On Monday, in between running from one thing to the next, I had to run over to my house. I tried to enter my side door, but by the time I got to push the last number, the lock died. OH NO! I figured this wasn’t a problem because I could use my front door. So, I went to the front door. But the storm door was locked or stuck in a closed position (just my luck). I could only roll my eyes. I then tried what I thought was every key on my keyring, but none of them did the trick. At this point, I was trying to figure out how I would break into my house without anyone noticing (good luck with that TALL order). I then went back to the Parish Center and, by an absolute miracle, found a set of house keys for the guy who’s listed at the top left corner of page three of the bulletin (you guessed it, me … the pastor). As I walked back over to the house, I was already prepping myself for how I would pry open the storm door so that I could use my front door. Thankfully, the key worked, and I was able to get back into my house. I guess I have to lower my threshold of how many days I have to deal with low power warnings on those locks … or even better, just change the battery when I first hear the low power warning. It was another Clark Griswold moment. Thankfully, I didn’t have to break into my house. But it was a reason for me to be awarded the You Big Dummy Award for the second week in a row. UGH!
Some Advice from a Parishioner: At least once a year I publish the text from an anonymous letter I received in 2005 shortly after the First Sunday of Lent. The scripture readings each First Sunday of Lent tell the story of Jesus being led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan. The letter offers timeless advice, and it warrants being reprinted frequently. Usually, I toss anonymous letters right away, but this one escaped that fatal ending. By God’s grace, this letter has touched the hearts of many people at SJA and beyond (you would be amazed how many times I’m asked for a copy of it). I encourage you to keep a copy AND to pass a copy around to your family and friends. I have posted a PDF copy of the letter on the homepage of our parish website. You can also download the PDF copy by clicking HERE.
“Fr. Bugarin, I was very moved by your homily on Sunday, February 13, 2005, regarding Hell, Satan, and the response of faithful people to temptation. I am the father of an adult son and daughter, and it pains me to think of the mistakes my wife and I made in raising our children. We thought we had a clever, well thought out solution to the dangers and evils of the world, but instead we were victims of our over estimation of our own perceived abilities and power. In so doing we neglected the saving power and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the intercessory power of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Knowing the evils and temptations of our world, my wife and I sought to shield our children through endless activity. Like many other parents, we got our son involved in hockey and our daughter in dance; our goal was to keep our children busy and thus not give them a chance to get in trouble. However, I now realize that in engaging in a futile attempt to shield our children from battle with the Devil we were instead merely failing to equip our children for their inevitable battles with Satan. We attempted a human solution to a spiritual problem, and our human limitations and inadequacies resulted in failure. We failed to fill our children with Christ, and instead left a vacuum too easily exploited by Satan.
“In focusing our children on endless activity we created selfish, self-centered children. By failing to involve them in Catholic charitable works we taught them to believe they were the centers of their own universes. We replaced rosaries, adoration and bible study with ice time, games and recitals. We missed Sunday masses for tournaments and catechism for performances, and we rationalized it by asserting that it was ‘for the best.’ How wrong we were.
“Today, both of our children have left the Church. Our daughter is living with a man and has had an abortion; our son has experimented with drugs and regards the Church with contempt and cynicism. Our first priority should have been to pass on the faith and to teach trust in the Lord; instead, we relied on our human intellect and put our faith in schemes of this world.
“If I could only go back in time I’d make every Sunday mass as a family, lead my family in a weekly rosary, take my children to pray in front of an abortion clinic, lead them in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and help them volunteer at a soup kitchen. For despite our best efforts and intentions there still were times my children were alone and lonely, tired and weak, hungry and desirous. I failed to anticipate and prepare my children for those inevitable times of temptation, and the Devil had been patiently waiting.
“Father, please print my letter in the church paper. If it will serve as a warning to at least one family it may help them to avoid the pain and regret my wife and I have experienced. An Anonymous St. Joan of Arc Parishioner.”
Enjoy the week. Know of my prayers.
Enjoy the week. Know of my prayers.

In Christ,
Msgr Mike Simply Signature
14) Tire Tracks in the d’Arc
 Holy Land Pilgrimage: Next weekend, March 6/7, St. Joan will welcome a couple of seminarians to the parish to speak to us at the end of Masses in anticipation of their class pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the late-Spring. Every year, the Sacred Heart Major Seminary Theology I seminarians visit AOD parishes to ask for the support of parishioners to make this invaluable pilgrimage possible. They will be asking for any financial gift you are able to make, as well as your prayers. You will then be remembered in their prayers at the many masses celebrated at the holy sites they will visit. I was so blessed to be able to make this pilgrimage in 2014. The experience was quite profound. Visiting Jerusalem and beyond truly threw a perspective on the scriptures that none of us had been able to gain, no matter how much time we spent with the scriptures.
We arrived in Jerusalem late at night and woke-up at our retreat house the next morning, a quarter mile across the Kidron Valley from the walls of the Old City. The Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher were illuminated in the early morning sunlight. It was a scene I had seen many times on TV, but never imagined I would be there. The first day, we walked through the city toward the Holy Sepulcher, the site of Christ’s crucifixion and tomb. These two most significant locations were once part of the same rock formation—the rock between them has since been blasted away to form two separate sites under the roof of the same Church. There is nothing in scripture that had ever indicated to me that these two places were only 50 yards apart.
What put everything in context for me was day 5 of the pilgrimage. The previous night I felt more sick than I had ever felt in my life and, sparing you the details, by the next morning I was totally drained and unable to join the group on the day’s activities. I dragged myself out of bed around 1pm and went and sat outside, looking down into the valley and over the walls of the Old City. I was listening to an audio Bible of one of the Gospels and I heard all these places being described, the places Jesus was travelling with His disciples, I realized I was looking at them all in front of me. If anyone wanted to build the Holy Land theme park, I thought, this is what it would look like. You could walk it in a day. Psalm 122 rang true: “Jerusalem is built as a city strongly compact.” Dead ahead was the Temple Mount and the Pinnacle of the Temple that Satan tried to tempt Jesus to throw Himself down from during His 40 days in the wilderness. The height of the Pinnacle over the road and the valley below made that part of scripture make so much sense. Over my shoulder was Bethany and the house of Lazarus. To my left was the Cenacle, where the last Supper took place and the Eucharist was instituted by Jesus. From there, Jesus walked to the Garden of Gethsemane, the olive grove where the Church of All Nations sits today, containing the rock where it is believed that Jesus sweated blood as He prayed to His Father. In the bottom of the Kidron Valley I could see a shepherd, herding his sheep, a scene that probably looked no different than it had 2,000 years ago. Up the side of the Kidron Valley is the set of crumbling stone steps, the Scala Sacra, that Jesus was marched across after His arrest, and taken to the palace of the High Priest Caiaphas. Caiaphas’s palace is marked today by the modern Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (meaning ‘where the cock crowed’), and from the retreat house I could see that roof. Beneath the church, is a room hewn out of the rock that is believed to be the cell where Jesus was kept prior to appearing before the High Priest and the Sanhedrin at dawn. And to my right was the Holy Sepulcher, where in a few days we would celebrate mass, both on the elevated platform built around the site of the crucifixion and later inside Jesus’ tiny tomb.
One of my classmates managed to find the sacristan of the Franciscan chapel inside the Holy Sepulcher and to get our names on his list—a somewhat informal and secretive procedure—and that allowed 9 of us to spend a entire night locked inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I estimated that at any point during the day there may be 500-700 people packed into the church, but at 9pm every night, the Muslim family that has held the keys to the Church for 800 years arrives and yells at everyone to leave so that the Church can be locked. If your name is on the list of up to only 35 people, however, you can stay overnight. The enormous doors are then locked from the inside and the key-holder then climbs a ladder and steps through a hole high up in the door and climbs out and locks the door from the outside too. (Never heard of fire codes!)
Then the church is quiet and you barely run into another person. You are supposed to keep vigil all night and not sleep. Two levels below ground is the chapel of St Helena. The chapel is located behind Golgotha and this is where the Roman Empress is reputed to have discovered the cross of Jesus, which was pushed off the rock into this area. It was a quiet spot where a couple of my classmates were able to sneak a couple of hours rest in sleeping bags. I went to read the Passion account from the Gospel of John, first on the mount by the cross, then underneath, in a small chapel. This marks the spot where it is believed the earthquake split the rock as Jesus died. You can clearly see the cleave in the rock behind plexiglass, behind the altar. One of my classmates headed directly for the tomb at 9pm. But I wanted to walk through the Passion first, before coming to the tomb. I arrived at the tomb about 11:40pm, and the tomb actually closes nightly at midnight. But still, I was so blessed to be there alone, in Christ’s tomb for 20 minutes.
There were so many other incredible experiences in the Holy Land, from spending a night at the place of Jesus’ Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor, two nights on the Mount of Beatitudes, overlooking Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee—maybe the most beautiful place I had ever seen—the boat trip on Galilee itself, to the Northern desert, the Qumran caves, where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. It also included walking through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a quarter mile underground water channel carved out of the rock by King Hezekiah in 700 BC to save the besieged city, Bethlehem and the birthplace of Jesus, Mary’s house in Nazareth, St. Peter’s house in Capernaum and the birthplace of John the Baptist in Ein Karem, on the western slopes of Jerusalem, site of Mary’s Magnificat. It was just a breathtaking trip I believe has helped me so much in preaching the Gospel with a better perspective.
Many of you may have contributed to the trip the year I was blessed to go. Please consider supporting the seminarians to continue this good work and help them to have the opportunities I had. One day they may be your parish priest! The seminarians will be bringing envelopes next weekend for donations and there will be the opportunity to donate online even after next weekend. Thanks for your generosity.
You are in my prayers this week!

Fr. Andrew

15) Words on the Word: February 28, 2021 - Judge and Jury

Sometimes the case is clear and the punishment is certain.
Local media reported a few weeks ago on a former Macomb County legal official who recently pled guilty to obstructing justice. At its core, the case involved the alleged personal use of $70,000 in campaign funds over almost eight years. 
According to one account in The Detroit News, the case involved “the highest-ranking public official charged in a crackdown on public corruption in Macomb County.”
The story in The News indicated that sentencing is scheduled for April, and includes, at a minimum, disbarment and a $70,000 payment, as well as the potential to serve a prison sentence, as well.
“I knew it was wrong,” the official was quoted as telling the district judge who heard the case, “and I did it anyway.”
The evidence has been heard, and the punishment is forthcoming.
As clear as this civil matter may be, it gives rise to other questions – ultimately more important questions – about the culpability each of us has when it comes to our own sins.
We know we are sinners. We often know, essentially, that what we do is wrong, and yet we do it anyway.
The good news: it is God to whom we answer in such circumstances.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” St. Paul asks in today’s second reading from his letter to the Romans. “He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
“Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us, who will condemn? Christ Jesus it is who died – or, rather, was raised – who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.”
© 2021, Words on the Word 
16) 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 (March 1):
7 AM - Mass

Tuesday (March 2):
7 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 5-8)
10 AM - Funeral for Sr. Clement Stine, CSJ (Read Obituary HERE)

Wednesday (March 3):
7 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 1-4)

Thursday (March 4):
7 AM - Mass
7 PM - Holy Hour (Praise and Worship Music)

Friday (March 5):
7 AM - Mass
7 PM - Stations of the Cross

Saturday (March 6):
12:00 PM - Funeral for Elza Gross (Read Obituary HERE)
1:30 PM - Baptism of Joseph E. Jarvi
4 PM - Mass
6 PM - Mass

Sunday (March 7):
8 AM - Mass
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 28, 2021
The Second Sunday of Lent
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
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