Dear Friends in Christ,
Here are a few updates from the parish for the week of May 2, 2021.
1) The 52nd Annual Raffle: Thanks to all who turned in their raffle tickets already. The response thus far has been great. Please remember that you have until 1 PM on Sunday, May 9, to qualify for the early bird drawing. Two lucky winners who have their 100% tickets in by Sunday, May 9, will each win $1,500! We will draw the lucky winners on Monday, May 10.

As I announced at all the masses last weekend, Father Rich set a lofty goal for us to accomplish. He explained at the end of the 4 PM Mass that given all the financial challenges our parish has experienced because of the pandemic, we should set out sights to do better than last year. Then he said, let’s make our goal $200,000 this year! And so it is … our goal for 2021 is $200,00. I think this goal is doable.

One of our seniors and lectors, Bill Taylor, sent me this email: “After reflecting on the challenge to hit a goal of $200K for raffle sales Dot and I came to this conclusion: we’ll double what we sold/purchased last year.  Further, we offer this challenge for you to make to individuals or the parish: If everyone who is able doubled their sales, we would very likely exceed the $200K goal. You may use our commitment as an example of seniors supporting SJA.” THANKS for the example and challenge!

Raffle tickets can be dropped off at the Parish Center (through the mail slot in the door), dropped in the offertory box in the Gathering Place at Church or they can be mailed to us with the business reply envelope.

If you need or want more tickets either stop by the Parish Center or click on the button below to order more tickets; we'll then get them ready for you for pick up or drop them in the mail.

Regarding the business reply envelope, we ran into some delays with the Post Office last year in receiving those envelopes in a timely manner toward the end of the Festival. As such, we are suggesting that those envelopes not be used after May 10; rather do everything you can to drop your envelopes off in person or use first-class mail rather than the business reply mail envelope after May 10.
2) A note about the 10 AM Mass on Sunday, May 16: A few weeks before we brought the 10 AM Mass back into the schedule, we scheduled one of our First Communion Masses at 10 AM on Sunday, May 16 (the Sunday after Mother's Day). Given our capacity limits and the need to maintain social distancing, we are asking parishioners who regularly attend the 10 AM mass to attend one of our other Sunday masses that weekend. Thanks for your understanding.
3) Camp Ozanam WORK DAY
Calling all Vincentians, volunteers, camp alumni, and friends!

After being closed for a year and a half, we need YOUR help to get Camp Ozanam spick and span before campers arrive this summer. Join us for our 2021 Camp Work Day on Saturday, May 8th from 9 AM - 4 PM to help get our cabins cleaned, grounds straightened up, and facilities ready for the summer.

Some tools and cleaning supplies will be provided at camp, but we ask you to bring any yard work tools, cleaning equipment, etc. that you have at home if you're able. This may include:

  • Garden shovels
  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • Vacuum with hose
  • Rake
  • Chainsaw
  • Power washer

There will be space on the registration form for you to indicate what you'll be bringing with you so we have adequate supplies the day of! This is a family-friendly event-all ages are welcome, as long as they can help out. A light breakfast, snacks, and lunch will be provided.

Click the link below to register for Camp Work Day or contact Julia Hohner (313-393-2871 / if you're having trouble registering through the online form.

Please be sure to complete a separate registration for each individual attending.

Once you're registered, you will receive directions to the camp and more details about what you'll be doing at Camp Work Day via email by May 1st at the latest.
4) Information about Retrouvaille - A lifeline for Married Couples:
The Retrouvaille Program is for Married Couples Facing Difficult Challenges in their Relationship

  • A Marriage program that helps couples restore their marriage and rebuild a loving relationship.

  • A Christian marriage program, Catholic in origin, where couples of all faiths or no faith background are encouraged to attend.

  • Primarily a practical program to improve communication, build stronger marriages, and help couples reconnect.

  • Presenters are not trained marriage counselors, but rather couples sharing their personal stories of marital struggles and the tools they used to rediscover their love.
5) This Sunday's Readings - Sunday, May 2, 2021
6) Grow+Go for the Fifth Sunday of Easter:
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.
7) Sunday Reflection by Jeff Cavins:
In this week's Encountering the Word video for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Jeff Cavins discusses how we are nothing if we are separated from Christ because he is the vine and we are the branches.
8) 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!
9) Giving to SJA: I'm truly grateful for all of your support of SJA during this pandemic. Your support means so much. The increase in electronic giving has been tremendous. Giving electronically, whether on a one-time or recurring basis is pretty simple. For more information on online giving, please click on the following button.
10) This Week's Edition of TALLer Tales
Microphone Police: Okay, I admit it. I can be obnoxious about audio and microphone issues. I’m forever on the patrol to correct a wayward microphone sitting on a celebrant’s head that isn’t picking him up correctly or making sure the audio levels are just right inside Church and now online. It’s even more complex now that we have to pay attention to the sound inside the Church AND what is outputted to our livestream congregation. Even though technology issues often become the cause for me going to confession because I lose my patience rather quickly with this stuff (ask any staff member or my family, and they will tell you to stay clear of me when I’m having a bad tech day), I enjoy it and the challenges it all brings.

Recently, we had audio and video issues in Church and online. It wouldn’t be a St. Joan experience if we didn’t have multiple problems happening simultaneously. The video issues started with a flaky camera. The camera was having problems focusing. I tried calibrating it numerous times, but it wouldn’t behave. So I called Rob from RMW Productions (who handles all of our audio and video systems and support) and asked that it be sent out for repair. We replaced it with a new camera that would have eventually gone in the Emmaus Hall (I figured we could put the repaired camera there instead). Rob and sons came and swapped out the camera and copied all the settings to the new one. Copying the settings was essential because the church audio travels through our primary camera to our video mixer and then to the livestream feed. The video image was superb, but I forgot to test the audio feed. Sure enough, the next day we had multiple calls that the audio feed was quieter than usual and that people had to pump up the volume on their phones or tvs to the max. So, I made some additional tweaks to the livestream audio feed to correct the problem.

Then, at last week’s holy hour, we had some audio issues in Church that required some tweaks for the Church feed (as opposed to the livestream feed … see how complicated this can get). You may see me messing around with an iPad during Mass sometimes. It’s not that I’m texting, but instead controlling the audio and video systems from “Control Central.” After the tweaks were made and the sound was perfect for that Holy Hour, I inadvertently saved the settings on our master audio scene (the settings are saved as “scenes”). With a simple push of a button by saving that setting on our master scene, I created a ton of new headaches and havoc. This would now require me to make sound tweaks at all of our masses because I wiped out the perfect and master scene. UGH!

Conscious that I messed up the settings and would be hearing about it from multiple sources, I had my iPad in hand the following morning for the 7 AM mass. With my iPad in hand, I could make tweaks throughout Mass as needed. From the get-go, the audio was low in Church. I made a tweak right away and brought up the volume. I eventually sounded fine, but then our Deacon … and let’s just say for the sake of this story his name rhymes with Tom … was super quiet. The fact he was super quiet boggled my mind. As he was speaking his brief part at the Penitential Rite at the start of Mass, I had my hands on the iPad trying to figure out what and how I messed up his settings too. No matter what I did to the settings, I couldn’t get any volume when he spoke. I was really frustrated. As I could sense my frustration boiling, I knew I had to drop it because I was the celebrant and needed to turn my attention back to Mass. I was waiting for the texts to arrive about the volume issues (my mom is our main livestream analyst as she lets me know when we are having issues as they happen so I can correct them), but nothing came, so I thought all was okay.

Mass continued as usual, and I convinced myself I would deal with the audio issues later that day. However, I was still super confused why I couldn’t get any volume on the Deacon’s microphone. I gave the final blessing, and Deacon Dom spoke his dismissal part. Again, he couldn’t be heard in Church. My frustration instantly returned because the lack of sound reminded me that my simple push of a button messed up the master scene on the audio system. As we left the altar, I glanced over to the Deacon’s face to see if his microphone was maybe out of place. It wasn’t on his one side, so I waited until we rounded the corner to see if his microphone was on the other side of his face. It wasn’t there either! WAIT. A. MINUTE! This wasn’t a technology problem after all. He just didn’t have his microphone! UGH. I guess we were talking so much in the sacristy before Mass that he forgot to put his microphone on while we were vesting. He figured his daily Mass parts were minimal enough that my microphone or another microphone would pick him up if he spoke loud enough. I couldn’t figure out why he was shouting! At least this time, it wasn’t a St. Joan tech issue. But then again, the Lord only knows how many other problems I created that morning by pressing all kinds of buttons on that iPad in an attempt to make it work and sound perfect. Thankfully, my iPad didn’t cave or crack during Mass under the pressure of my frustrated fingers pushing very hard on the volume control sliders to get some volume. Oh, the behind-the-scenes life of a Pastor!
Enjoy the week. Know of my prayers!

In Christ,
Msgr Mike Simply Signature
11) Tire Tracks in the d’Arc
Roots and Shoots: I promised an update on my gardening exploits. Will I never learn? “Don’t plant vegetables until after the last chance of frost!” I know that. And I knew that Easter week was not that time! But it was 70 degrees! I wanted to get a jump start on it. Maybe this would be the year the early Spring would surprise us all by actually staying….

Nope. Not this year. I knew it was risky, but I played the odds. At least it wasn't ignorance. Imprudence…? Maybe. I prefer to think of it as over-optimistic hopefulness. Either way, it has led to me needing to baby my vegetable garden and its goofy three-legged raised planter box. It’s probably been saved by being raised off the ground. I have been watching the weather, watching the night-time temperatures, wrapping the box at night by varying and ever-improved means, and opening it up to the sunlight in the morning. 
Well, praise God….“I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7)

By the grace of God, my seedings appear to have survived frost, snow, hurricanes, tornadoes…. I exaggerate. But, although I was out of town at the end of last week, the coldest of the weather was already behind us (we hope) and I came back anxious to check on my garden.

And lo and behold, poking out of the soil were these tiny shoots.
Only by the grace of God; sure I planted and watered, but it’s always a miracle to watch new growth in the Spring. It amazes me how these apparently dead-looking seeds somehow know when the time and conditions are just right to begin to turn into something that will produce a great fruit (or vegetable!).

And so it is in the spiritual life. As we hear in today’s Gospel of John, the branch that bears fruit is the one that the Lord tends to. We must labor to put in the necessary work to grow in virtue, but we must also accept that the Lord is the grower, and be willing to be pruned of anything that is holding us back and keeping us from producing good fruit in our lives. And that good fruit is ripe when it is seen in action, not just heard in our words and pious thoughts.

The Father will “prune” our fruitful branches so that we will bear even more fruit. The Greek word John uses, which is translated as “prune” literally means “to cleanse.” So for us, Jesus’ analogy takes on a deeper spiritual meaning in that the Father is waiting to cleanse his faithful disciples of anything impure in our lives. We may be aware of our short-comings, but we should not be discouraged by them if we are sincerely trying to ensure that Christ is the vine we draw strength from. “God is greater than our hearts,” St. Paul writes in the second reading and He understands the difficulties we encounter. 

That process of cleansing will happen when we remain attached to the vine that is Jesus Christ. Jesus says it’s a matter of “remaining in Him.” He’s not asking us to for much. He’s not asking us to become great in the eyes of the world or even that the universal church will know our names. He’s not asking us to become St. Teresa of Calcutta or Pope St. John Paul II. He’s just asking us to “remain in Him” - to be with Him. He’s just asking that we choose to make Him our guiding light, and that we view our actions in that light. What Jesus says is true; to let anything else be our guide is to allow ourselves to be led astray and away from the light of truth. And how do we know that we are staying in the truth? St. Paul says it’s a matter of keeping God’s commandments, which are summed-up simply in two: love God and an active love of each other. If we are honestly striving to keep these central in all our actions, we can be sure that we “remain in Him and He in us.” And then the consolation of the Holy Spirit will be visibly at work in our lives, as it was in the early church, reported in the Acts of the Apostles.

Time for a Coffee?: Other than my vegetables in the garden, I have one house plant. Well, I have a cactus too that someone gave me. I hope I don’t kill that, but it’s happened before. A friend has been cultivating a banana plant for me for a while, but right now my only house-plant is an Arabica coffee plant. I rarely drink coffee, and that’s fortunate. The plant is supposed to produce coffee beans after 5-6 years. I’ve kept it alive now for about 6 years (that alone is evidence that God is in control of our world). But despite my efforts, not a bean…. Not even the merest suggestion of it wanting to squeeze out a bean. But this plant and I have been through some trials together. 60% of its stalks died in seminary, oddly. I think it’s forgiven me for “The Great Drought” of August 2020, when I went on a fishing trip and forgot to ask anyone to water it. Its withered leaves have spung back green and fresh (except the 80% that fell off). So it’s spindly and tall, void of beans, but continues to slowly grow new leaves. I’m hopeful that I may have offered it a new lease of life by re-planting it in a bigger planter last week, with fresh potting soil. I’m now confident it will be easily mistaken for a Keurig machine within weeks! (Humor me please). What I’ll do with all that abundant supply of coffee, I’m not so sure. Maybe I’ll have to open my own coffee shop and become a priest barista. Either way, it shows me that there’s always hope, in spite of me. In spite of my decidedly un-green fingers, there is always hope for life, for fruitfulness. God is in charge. He is the vine grower. Jesus is the vine. We do what little we can and entrust the rest to Him. But always, always, remain in Him. By this we can bear much good fruit.
You are in my prayers this week!

Fr. Andrew

12) Words on the Word: May 2, 2021 - Tending the Garden

For home gardeners with a green thumb, this is, to be sure, one of the very best times of the year.

But for those who do not – and for those who depend on agriculture to make a living – the numerous variables beyond their control can be daunting.

A recent story in The Detroit News described the challenges being faced right now by the domestic apple industry -- problems with the balance of international trade made worse by tariffs; problems with declining levels of demand here in the U.S., and the associated lowering of prices.

And on it goes.

These are the same types of challenges faced in many industries, but for those unfamiliar with high-stakes agriculture, it may be surprising to learn of the complexities.

It may serve as a good reminder then, that whether our business is growing apples, selling Apples, or helping customers compare apples to apples, we are best serving God when we keep him at the center of it all.

“I am the vine, you are the branches,” Jesus tells his disciples in today’s gospel passage from St. John. “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

And how do we remain in him?

Simply by living according to his truth, loving God above all things and tending to the garden he puts in our care; the garden of family, of friends, of co-workers, customers, and others – those who we may know and those we do not – who need to see and experience our witness through our daily actions.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you,” the gospel passage concludes. “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

 © 2021, Words on the Word 
This week's LIVE Stream
Schedule at St. Joan of Arc:

Monday (May 3):
7:00 AM - Mass
6:30 PM - Faith Formation Closing Mass

Tuesday (May 4):
7:00 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 5-8)
5:00 PM - First Communion Mass

Wednesday (May 5):
7:00 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 1-4)
10:00 AM - Funeral for George Washnak (Read Obituary HERE).

Thursday (May 6):
7:00 AM - Mass
10:00 AM - Funeral Allen E. Pittoors (Read Obituary HERE).
7:00 PM - Holy Hour (Praise and Worship Music)

Friday (May 7):
7:00 AM - Mass
10:00 AM - Funeral for Laura Fortier

Saturday (May 8):
10:00 AM - Funeral for Elena Roose (Read Obituary HERE).
1:00 PM - Wedding of Kimberly Cooper and Alexander Brantigan
4:00 PM - Mass
6:00 PM - Mass

Sunday (May 9):
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 May 2, 2021
The Fifth Sunday of Easter

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Read the latest from the DETROIT CATHOLIC
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