Dear Friends in Christ,

Here are a few updates from the parish for the week of March 28, 2021.
1) Bad Lent? Start Over!
2) Confession Schedule: Even though we are in the "home stretch" to the celebration of Easter, don't forget we have plenty of opportunities to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. These are not reconciliation services as we have done in the past, but opportunities for individual celebrations of the sacrament like what is done on Saturday mornings. Chairs will be lined up in the Gathering Place, and you will wait your turn to celebrate the sacrament with one of the priests.

If it's been a while since you've celebrated the sacrament of reconciliation, please watch the Busted Halo videos below. These two short videos will guide you through the "mechanics" of celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation. Don't let not knowing the "mechanics" or the "how-tos" keep you from experiencing the mercy and forgiveness of Christ.

Here is the confession schedule for Holy Week:
Monday, March 29, 2021..................... 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Monday, March 29, 2021..................... 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Tuesday, March 30, 2021..................... 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Wednesday, March 31, 2021................ 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Saturday, April 3, 2021........................ 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
3) Confession 101 Videos by Busted Halo: Below are two short videos from Busted Halo on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Busted Halo® looks at the Sacrament of Reconciliation from the perspective of the seeker who has been thinking about confession. In part one of Confession 101, we looked at the initial steps you take before the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

In part two, Father Dave Dwyer, CSP, walks us through the four essential elements of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and assuages the fears you might have about not having confessed in a long period of time.
4) Triduum and Easter Schedule: Below is our schedule of liturgies and Masses for the Triduum and Easter Sunday. All of our liturgies and Masses will also be live-streamed at livestream.stjoan.church.


Tuesday (March 30):
7:00 PM - Taize Prayer Service

Thursday (April 1):
7:00 PM - Mass of the Lord's Supper

Good Friday (April 2):
12:00 PM - Stations of the Cross
1:00 PM - Liturgy of the Lord's Passion

Holy Saturday (April 3):
11:00 AM - Confessions
12:00 PM - Blessing of Food
8:30 PM - Easter Vigil

Easter Sunday (April 4):
6:00 AM - Mass
8:00 AM - Mass
10:00 AM - Mass
12:00 PM - Mass
5) Taize Prayer Service - Tuesday, March 30 at 7:00 PM
6) 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!
7) 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.
8) This Sunday's Readings - Sunday March 28, 2021
9) Grow+Go for Palm 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.
10) Sunday Reflection by Jeff Cavins:
In this week’s Encountering the Word video for Palm Sunday, Jeff Cavins shows us how Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was the beginning of his entering into a new covenant with humanity.
11) 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.
12) This week's edition of TALLer Tales:
Palm Sunday Appearance: A mom and dad returned home from Church on Palm Sunday. Their little son, who was ill that day, stayed home with an older sibling. The little guy was intrigued by the palms his parents brought home. He decided to pepper his parents with questions about the palms and the Palm Sunday liturgy. They described how they started outside and then processed with the palms, almost as if in a parade, to celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. At one point in the dialogue the little guy said, “Wouldn’t you know it, the very day I stay home from Church, Jesus finally shows up.”

Holy Week: Today we begin our solemn journey with the Lord. We have celebrated his entrance into Jerusalem and now we journey with him to the cross and ultimately stand as witnesses to his glorious resurrection. These sacred days are filled with beautiful liturgies that have special meaning for us as Christians. I hope and pray you and your family will make the time to attend as many of these liturgies as possible, or even watch them online at livestream.stjoan.church if you are unable to be there in person, because we celebrate events that changed the world and events that changed your life and mine.
 
Many of us approach this sacred week with lots on our minds. We might be helping extended family members work through a tragedy or maybe our own family is dealing with a heavy cross. As you reflect on these situations in your own life, place them at the foot of the cross and know that just as God had a plan for Christ and asked him to embrace the cross for a reason, God likewise has a plan and a destiny for you. The events of this week are certainly centered on the saving reality of the Cross of Christ but it is also about the saving reality of the crosses that Christ asks us, in the name of the Father, to embrace for the world’s salvation (this line is worth re-reading again).
 
The Paschal Triduum: What exactly does Triduum mean? Triduum comes from two Latin words (tres and dies) meaning a space of three days. We calculate these days in the same way the Jews count days and festivals, that is, from sundown to sundown. Thus, the Triduum consists of three twenty-four hour periods. The Triduum starts with sundown on Holy Thursday with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and concludes with evening prayer at sundown on Easter Sunday.
 
“The liturgy we celebrate these days is far more than an objective recall of the events of first century Palestine, or even a prayerful recollection by means of which we understand and appreciate more fully what God has done for us. Despite the dramatic impact of these liturgies we do much more than dramatize what happened once in the history of salvation. More fundamentally, the liturgy these days is our present privileged experience of these same saving mysteries in Christ. Through these liturgies we are inserted into and are made sharers of the same saving deeds Christ accomplished for our salvation and sanctification. We do not observe again what Jesus accomplished; we share in the accomplishment of salvation. Through the symbols and gestures, scripture proclamation and prayers, we participate in the same redeeming actions which Christ underwent for our salvation. What Jesus accomplished through his death and resurrection is actualized and made real in the liturgy. Through the various celebrations over three days we are progressively and more intimately brought into the paschal mystery. What God accomplished in Christ continues to draw us into the love of God. This incorporation into Christ makes us the body of Christ on earth (Kevin W. Irwin, A Guide to the Eucharist and Hours: Easter, p. 14).”
 
The liturgies we are about to celebrate are sacred indeed. They are filled with much symbolism and ritual. In celebrating the memorial of the institution of the Eucharist and the command to be of service as ritualized in the washing of the feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we enter more deeply into the paschal mystery. From hearing the proclamation of the Lord’s Passion to our veneration of the cross on Good Friday, we enter more deeply into the paschal mystery. From seeing the fire being blessed, hearing the proclamation of the Easter Exultet, to witnessing the baptism of those in the RCIA, the reception of those being brought into the Church, to our own renewal of baptismal promises where we reject Satan and profess our faith in Christ Jesus, we enter more deeply into the paschal mystery. But this entering into the paschal mystery is not just a once a year occurrence. We need to live the paschal mystery each day of our lives. We need to die to self by doing God’s will and serving others so we can rise to new life. Living the paschal mystery is about putting God and others ahead of ourselves. Living the paschal mystery is about keeping Christ as the center of our lives.  “As we live this Christian mystery we gradually grow in our awareness and experience of the reality that the only way to live as Jesus taught us is to die to self. Indeed, in the paschal mystery dying to self and rising to new life collapse into the same reality of surrendering ourselves to allow God to work in and through us. The paschal mystery is living the rhythm of dying and rising as a people who are on a mission – with Christ we bring salvation to those who hunger for justice and truth, forgiveness and reconciliation, mercy and peace. We are a people on a mission – and this is what these days are about (Joyce Ann Zimmerman, C.PP.S., et al., ed., Living Liturgy, p. 102).”
 
As you and your family make plans for Holy Week and Easter, please consider attending these sacred liturgies, especially those you have never experienced before. You should also consider inviting a family member, a friend, or someone who may not attend Church regularly to come along with you. The experience and prayer of the Holy Week liturgies may bring them closer to Christ and allow them to come to a fuller understanding of the saving reality and beauty of the cross of Christ.
 
 
10:00 AM Mass Resumes: For those who may not have heard the news, we have decided to put the 10:00 AM Mass back into the weekend schedule. Based on the reaction from the faithful who attended Mass last weekend and heard the news as part of the announcements, I know this is happy news to many! All those attending are still required to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
 
Have a blessed and prayerful Holy Week. Let us keep one another in prayer. See you in Church!
Enjoy the week. Know of my prayers.

In Christ,
Msgr Mike Simply Signature
13) Tire Tracks in the d’Arc
How dark is dark? How light is light?: It is so good to see the sun again! Now we’re officially in Spring. It’s so good to smell the lake, the smell of Spring. I found new, fresh green things growing in the front yard last week! I had been noticing the sun was beginning to come-up before 7am daily mass started, which was really good, until we changed the clocks and set ourselves back a while on that score. But we will be there again soon. The light makes us all feel better, I suspect. And it is an indication of what is to come in just a week’s time. The light and the hope and joy of Passion Sunday and Christ’s triumphant arrival in Jerusalem, gives way to the darkness and loss of Good Friday, only to rise again with the light of the Easter Sunday Resurrection.
 
At current count, I have almost 8,500 photos saved on my phone - somewhat ridiculous I often think when I’m looking for any one in particular. But I like what the iPhone does in selecting photos from “this day in history” and showing them to me. They can be fun memories to see again. Recently one popped-up from March 2017. That day was during Spring Break at the seminary. Almost all the seminarians were gone for the week, but I and one of my classmates from Wisconsin had stuck around to study for our comprehensive STB exam (well… he was studying like a champion…. I wasn’t doing so well on that!). That evening, we were invited by another seminarian, now a priest in our area, to have dinner with him and his parents, so we left and headed to Grosse Pointe. It was a really windy evening. When we arrived at the house, the power was out, so we decided to go out to eat, but driving through Grosse Pointe, a lot of the restaurants were out of power and closed. We eventually managed to find a place and enjoyed a nice dinner. Returning to the house, the power was back on, but there was a big tree through the roof of the neighbor’s home. When my classmate and I returned to the seminary that evening, we encountered one of the most eerie sights I could imagine. The campus was always brightly lit, from the parking lot, to the building security lights that would keep us awake at night, to all the lights from the hundreds of windows in that 360,000 sq. ft. building. But that night, the campus was in total black-out. Everything was dark, super-dark. There was just one tiny light, barely perceptible—a flashlight in the window of the guard’s desk in the main entrance. I would show you the photo but I don’t think it would print well!
 
In the entrance I ran into a newly-ordained priest I had been in seminary with. He was from the Diocese of Marquette and was back at the seminary overnight, just passing through on his way to Steubenville, OH, with a group of young people, headed to a conference. He told me that he was planning to have mass for the group in the main chapel at 8am. Then he asked, “Do you think we have any candles?” I said, “Fr. Brandon, this is a seminary…. I think we have candles.” I managed to round-up 8 or 9 flashlights for his group to find their guest rooms and I headed-off to my room for the night.
 
My room was on the 3rd floor, about as far from the main entrance as you could get, but I reached the 3rd floor and found my way to my room by feeling along the wall and counting doorways. There is an odd sudden slope in the floor on that floor of the seminary, so that was a clue too! The next morning there was still no power, but I set-up for mass in the chapel. The altar in that beautiful chapel is a long way from the windows, which are all stained-glass so there was still very little light. I have no idea how Fr. Brandon read the Missal, but I used my phone flashlight for the 1st Reading. Seeing that photo again of the outside of the building in complete darkness was also a reminder of the Tenebrae services we would have every Good Friday night. The priest who was the Director of Liturgy at the seminary would spend an entire day with a seminarian helper, hermetically sealing the chapel. All light was to be banished! Everything was boarded, covered and taped, and any offending pin-hole of light was to be blocked. It was always quite amusing a process to watch going on around us.
 
But the Tenebrae service was such a beautiful experience. It’s a sung version of the Office of Readings of the Church for Holy Saturday, that takes place after dark on Good Friday. Tenebrae translates as “darkness” and is also known as the Office of Shadows. While the Office is chanted, the fifteen candles are successively snuffed-out until the only remaining source of light is a solitary candle. Near the end of the service, that single candle passes behind the altar. As the candle, which symbolizes the Light of Christ, passes out of sight, the chapel is shaken by a shockingly loud clattering noise (we had two wooden machines with crank handles that sat in the choir loft—we never told 1st year seminarians about these and we all new to sit behind them so we could watch them jump!). This abrupt noise symbolizes the violent convulsions of creation, which shook Jerusalem at the death of Jesus on the cross on Good Friday. The Light of Christ then reappears and the noise stops as abruptly as it began. The single candle remains in the darkness and all depart in silence, profoundly aware of the loss of Light in the world, but looking to the hope of the Resurrection. 
 
My last Tenebrae in the seminary was just a week or two after that power black-out. I sat in the chapel a few minutes looking at that single candle. I couldn't help but think that the brief time that this candle had passed behind the altar and out of sight, that oppressive darkness in the chapel, is the darkness that those without faith have to experience at all times, if they stopped to ponder it. But we, as practicing Catholics, are assured of the hope and expectation that that Light will return. As I returned to my room that night, I opened the door and found this image on the wall:
I’d never seen this image on the wall before. It took me 15 minutes to work out how the silhouette of Christ on the Cross was appearing on the wall. A specific exterior security light, my open window-blinds and a crucifix I had recently moved onto my desk. But what a beautiful consolation in the midst of the darkness of Good Friday, to be reminded that the darkness was not for nothing. That Christ was at the center of it, and so there is always that single Light, burning through the darkness, giving us hope.
You are in my prayers this week!

Fr. Andrew

14) Words on the Word: March 28, 2021 - Investigating Death

It would appear, finally, that there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
 
There are still likely to be some flareups to come, of course, along with many reflections, commemorations, events, inquiries, and lawsuits.
 
Indeed, a Macomb County politician made headlines a few weeks ago when he called on the medical examiner’s office to create a panel to investigate nursing home deaths related to COVID-19.
 
Perhaps there are political or other motives behind such a request; that’s a debate for another time and place. For now, it’s enough for people of good will to agree that, properly handled, there is little harm – and maybe a great deal of benefit – in looking more closely at circumstances surrounding the deaths of so many peoples’ loved ones from the virus.
 
Maybe there are longer term lessons we can take away from the experience.
 
In a much larger and more important context, the good news, all these hundreds of years later, is that we continue to reflect on and learn from the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ death.
 
“They brought him to the place of Golgotha, which is translated Place of the Skull,” we hear in today’s Palm Sunday gospel passage from St. Mark. “They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it. Then they crucified him…”
 
We know well why Jesus chose to offer his suffering for our salvation. And, even on this most somber of days, we can rejoice.
 
“Because of this, God greatly exalted him,” we hear in today’s second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, “and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”


 © 2021, Words on the Word 
15) 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 29):
7:00 AM - Mass


Tuesday (March 30):
7:00 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 5-8)
7:00 PM - Taize Prayer Service


Wednesday (March 31):
7:00 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 1-4)


Thursday (April 1):
7:00 PM - Mass of the Lord's Supper


Good Friday (April 2):
12:00 PM - Stations of the Cross
1:00 PM - Liturgy of the Lord's Passion


Holy Saturday (April 3):
8:30 PM - Easter Vigil


Easter Sunday (April 4):
6:00 AM - Mass
8:00 AM - Mass
10:00 AM - Mass
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, March 28, 2021
Palm Sunday
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