Dear Friends in Christ,

Here are a few updates from the parish for the week of Sunday, November 15, 2020:
1) Dispensation from the Obligation to Attend Mass Extended: As I announced earlier this week by email and at all the masses this weekend, Archbishop Vigneron has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass until Ash Wednesday, February 21, 2021. Please click on the link below to read the full text of Archbishop Vigneron's letter.
2) Christmas Mass Survey: Our Christmas liturgies are right around the corner and we are in planning mode to ensure we bring the light of Christ to as many parishioners and visitors this season.

One piece of information that may influence your intentions is the formal obligation for mass attendance. This year, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fall on a Thursday and Friday, respectively. Normally, the obligation would be to attend one of those Masses as well as one of the Masses from the following Saturday Vigil or Sunday morning. Given that Archbishop Vigneron has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend mass until Ash Wednesday, we need to create a plan for our Christmas Masses that will allow us to accommodate as many as possible.

With this information, please complete our Christmas Mass Survey by clicking on the following button.
3) CSA 2020 Update:
I am grateful to those who have already contributed to CSA 2020. As of today, we have $153,939 in pledges and gifts toward our $198,393 goal. This amount represents gifts from only 590 families. We have thus achieved 78% of our goal! THANK YOU!

Here is a breakdown by gift range:

$2,500+ (6)
$1,000+ (24)
$500+ (56)
$250+ (83)
$100+ (238)
$75+ (16)
$50+ (79)
$25+ (55)
$10+ (29)
$0.25+ (4)

I would ask that you please prayerfully consider making a one-time or a monthly gift today.

The easiest way to give is electronically. Please click on the link below to make an electronic gift. If you wish to give by check and do not have your envelope, please complete your pledge card (this is important so we get credit for your gift), make your payment payable to “Catholic Services Appeal (CSA)” and send it to:

Catholic Services Appeal
P.O. Box 44077
Detroit, MI 48244-0077

Also, if you make your payment electronically through your bank, please be sure to use this address (and mark your ID number in the memo field).

4) Living Life Through the Lens of Scripture: Starting January 1, 2021, Father Mike will be releasing 365 daily podcast episodes that walk you through the Bible in one year.
Every day hear two or three Scripture passages, prayer, and commentary from Father Mike and special guests! Through this program, learn how your story is the continuation of salvation history.

To sign up for emails about the podcast, click the button below. 
5) SJA School's Wreath and Poinsettia Sale - FINAL WEEKEND

6) Holy Hour on Thursday at 7 PM: Please consider spending some time with the Lord at Holy Hour this week. This week's Holy Hour will have praise and worship music with Rick Flores and Kristine Hass.

7) Farewell to John Perna: We bid farewell this weekend to our Music Director, John Perna. John has been with us for over 16 years, the last 11 of which he has served as our Parish Music Director.  

I want to thank John for all his work with our music ministry, leading many of our Sunday Masses and funeral and wedding liturgies, and for all his work with our choirs, and cantors.

We wish John the absolute best in pursuing his music ministry, with his many talents and gifts, as he starts his new position. 

As a small token of our appreciation we presented John with a Waterford Crystal Star Cross Sculpture at the 12 Noon mass today in appreciation for all that John has done for our community. God speed John! Know of our prayers and blessings!

8) This Sunday's Readings - Sunday, November 15, 2020


9) Grow+Go for the Thirty-third 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.


10) Sunday Reflection by Jeff Cavins:
In this week’s Encountering the Word video for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jeff Cavins reflects on Jesus’ parable of the talents found in this Sunday’s Gospel.

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:
The Beginning of Another Clark Griswold Christmas Adventure: With the spectacular weather we’ve had lately, our family decided to gather at our parents’ condo last Friday and Sunday to get a jump start on all the outdoor Christmas decorations. 

When the calls went out on Friday afternoon, a few in the family had to be quarantined because of possible exposure to COVID. While they showed no signs of having COVID, they were still waiting for test results. Given they didn’t have their results yet, a decision was made that they wouldn’t join in on the festivities. So the tasks were left to me, Jackie, Lonnie, and my parents. Since it was such a nice day, I figured the tasks would be a breeze. Usually, we are doing this closer to Thanksgiving and dealing with 30 degrees or colder weather. When it’s that cold, decorating the outside seems to take so much longer since you’re dealing with gloves and then having to go inside to warm up. Given that it was 70 degrees and sunny most of last weekend, you couldn’t ask for better weather to accomplish outdoor Christmas decorating tasks in Michigan.

The biggest task for us, once all the electrical lines are put in place, is decorating this large tree in front of their condo. I’ve learned from experience about properly labeling my light reels from year to year and ensuring everything is stored away correctly to avoid hassles the following year. We decorate the trunk of the tree in solid white lights. Then the branches of the tree are decorated with these light sets I got from Costco one year. They are made by Sylvania and can be programmed to be solid white, multi-color, or fade from solid white to multi-color. We keep them on the program that changes the colors, which gives the tree an interesting look at night. Most of the lights in front of the condo are these Sylvania lights, so they do their color changing all night. It creates an interesting effect.

The lights for the tree are on one controller, so they all change at the same time. I store these lights on two big electrical cord reels. One reel is purposely labeled the TOP of the tree, and the other is labeled the BOTTOM of the tree, so that all of my connections are where I need them. With my 30 foot telescoping poles in hand, my sister and I started to decorate the tree. Our parents were parked in chairs in the driveway enjoying the late afternoon sun. They were tasks with testing all the light sets before we put them into “service” around the condo. As they were accomplishing their tasks, Jackie and I were busy with the tree. Given the beautiful day, we got to entertain a few neighbors who were out and about walking. After the first reel was unwound and put into place, Jackie grabbed the second reel. We connected it to the last string of lights and continued circling the tree. Just as I was about to hook the very last section of lights on my huge pole, Jackie looked at me while holding the very end of the light set in her hand and said, “Uh ….. is this supposed to be like this?” By this time, my arms were tired, and I was faced with a setting sun and the knowledge we soon had to break for dinner. I just wanted to get these lights up. I took one look at the end Jackie was holding and wanted to scream. But I contained myself. The end she was holding was completely clipped as if someone had taken wire snips and cut it off. How could I have missed this one last year? Then I saw we started with the “TOP” reel first and then started to use the “BOTTOM” reel. As the laughter started to grow, we began to blame each other for the mishap, and eventually, the blame wound in my court because I was the one who handed the reels off to my dad and sister. But I then shifted the blame to my squirrel friends who have caused havoc at my parents’ condo and at SJA in the past (they must be from the same family)! At this point, I was sure we tested this second reel, but there was no way we could see to the end of the reel given its size. My sister just looked at me and said, “What’s the family you keep calling us? Oh, yes, the Griswold’s. Congratulations CLARK, you did it again!” I could only roll my eyes. My sister asked if we had to take the lights down. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I wasn’t even sure if that TOP section of lights was going to turn on. SO, Clark grabbed an extension cord and made his way out to the front of the tree. “THIS better work,” is all I kept saying to myself. With Mom and Dad sitting in chairs in the driveway enjoying the beautiful day and conversing with the occasional neighbor out walking, I plugged the lights in and just hoped they all lit. THANKFULLY they did. So, I grabbed some electrical tape, wound it up around the cut off end (which ended up being nothing more than a connection point for another light set), and finished topping off the tree. I was breathing a sigh of relief! We left for dinner and called it a night, knowing we would return on Sunday to finish decorating the rest of the bushes and trees.

When we returned on Sunday afternoon, I was confident our tasks would be easy. With the big tree fully decorated, dealing with the bushes and shrubs was going to be a breeze. Like the previous Friday, it was a beautiful and sunny day. When all was said and done, we turned on the lights so my mom could take a picture. The sun was still up, so you couldn’t get the full effect of all the lights. My mom took the picture, and we called it quits outside so we could clean up for dinner. I felt rather content that we escaped a near disaster with the tree and that everything looked great. We were off to a great start with our Christmas decorations knowing the outside was ready to roll; all we had to do was turn everything on once we got closer to Thanksgiving.

On Monday, my mom sent me a text with a picture of the tree and decorations in front of the condo. She said that some of the lights were out and wondered if they were on different circuits. Right away, I thought they got up on a ladder, plugged in the main extension cord, and took another picture. There waso way, I thought, this was the picture from yesterday because I would have noticed the burned-out lights. My mom confirmed this was the same picture from yesterday. UGH! Sure enough, as I blew up the shot, you could see whole sections of lights were out at the base of the tree! I wanted to scream, but given I was in my office I had to contain myself! Either the squirrels did me in again, or this will be another Clark Griswold moment with our outdoor Christmas decorations! 
There was nothing I could do now. I had to wait until I ventured back out to their condo this weekend to see what happened and repair what needed to be repaired. Given it is only the beginning of November, I’m already getting the sense this will be a real Clark Griswold Christmas Decorating adventure this year. Which only means there will be more stories to come!
Enjoy the week. Know of my prayers.

In Christ,
Msgr Mike Simply Signature
13) Tire Tracks in the d’Arc
Not giving your peace away: A tumultuous year seems to have intensified over recent weeks and for months it’s been clear in conversations and in confessions that people are under a lot of stress. There have been a couple of times this week where I’ve had to turn off the news and walk away.
 
A number of years ago when I was walking at camp with another priest, with a big bunch of keys in my hand, he looked at me and said, “you know why you have all those keys, don’t you?” I said “No,” not knowing where he was going with that, other than the obvious that I have a lot of doors to lock. He whispered a response, “Sin.” He had a wry grin on his face, but I understood the point. We have to lock doors because people who have no business opening them, will still try. Although my friends and I will still joke about that, throwing the question into conversation every now and then where it doesn’t fit - “You know why you’re eating that sandwich, don’t you?” “SIN!” - it kind of changed my outlook. Think about the number of ways we have normalized sinful actions and just adapted to it. We have oodles of technology that is aimed directly at protecting us from sin. We have laws because left to their own devices, people sin. We have lawyers because…… no, I’m not going there….! But you get the idea. We have keys because of sin. But remember that the key is also the sign of our reconciliation with God, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:19)
 
What’s the key to virtue? What’s the key to peace? How do we normalize goodness and the beauty of the human spirit and adapt our lives to seek it out? Because right now that’s immensely important; that we see the good in our world and in each other. We could so easily become jaded and very negative toward people in the public eye and even toward each other. That can eat away at our sense of peace. Someone I know, will often say, “Nobody can take your peace away from you. You can give it away, but they can’t take it.” It’s so important that we do not give it away. We have to keep our eyes on the Lord and remind ourselves He’s in charge: “where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.” (Romans 5:20) We have a to know ourselves well enough to be able to rise above it all. The world needs virtue. It needs not only examples of virtue, but to have virtue and goodness and reasons for hope and thankfulness pointing to it. And to do that, we have to be attentive to virtue and to look for those occasions for virtue and goodness. And we have to have a sense of peace in us in order to find those occasions ourselves.
 
I had a longing at one point this week to visit a place I used to go when I was in college back in England when I needed to get away and find some peace. I went to college in Plymouth, the original Plymouth, where there is still a plaque at the place where the Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower and headed for the New World. Fourteen miles north of there is a wild and windswept place that looks like something from a Wordsworth poem. It’s a place called Sheepstor(“Tor” means mountain). At about 1200 ft above sea-level, it’s the highest point in the southern part of the Dartmoor National Park. At the top is a weathered rocky granite bluff. I would walk up there and sit on those rocks. From there, on a clear day, you could see the farms around and a local church and out over the English channel toward France, the water shimmering in the sun. But mostly, I remember the constant noise of the wind, which would seem to drown out all the stress of the world around.
I loved the National Park. It was one of the best parts about studying in Plymouth. But I can’t go there when I feel the need anymore. So where do we go to find peace, to get away? Some go up north, others on a cruise. But what about the small moments in the day when you just want to scream?! Where can we go to get away? We can always go inside - not to hide and to keep our stress from anyone, because that’s not a healthy response, but go inside where the Lord is found, in the stillness of the heart. It’s a gift to have the Blessed Sacrament close at hand at the parish, but even if we don’t have immediate access to the Blessed Sacrament, we always have immediate access to Him in the heart. I was praying over the mass readings recently and the words of Psalm 46 spoke to me loud and clear when I needed to hear them. Here is Psalm 46:
 
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Thus we do not fear,
though earth be shaken and
mountains quake to the depths of the sea,
Though its waters rage and foam
and mountains totter at its surging.

Streams of the river gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken;
God will help it at break of day.
Though nations rage and kingdoms totter,
he utters his voice and the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Come and see the works of the LORD,
who has done fearsome deeds on earth;
Who stops wars to the ends of the earth,
breaks the bow, splinters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire;
“Be still and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
exalted on the earth.”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
 
Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving: I may be a week early to bring-up Thanksgiving, but I am recalling this week 3 years ago. Like some of you, perhaps, I was blessed to be able to attend the beatification of Fr. Solanus Casey on Nov. 18, 2017. This was only 5 months after my ordination to the priesthood. I had wanted to include him in the litany of saints at my ordination and there were rumors early in the year that his cause was advancing. Alas, I could not invoke his name in the litany until the Beatification mass, but I was thrilled to be able to attend. There are so many great Fr. Solanus stories, some I even heard from the day of the beatification, but that’s for another day. Right now, as Solanus would repeat often, let’s “thank God ahead of time,” that throughout difficult times in all our lives, “God is in its midst… the Lord of hosts is with us.” And we can always go inside to find Him.
You are in my prayers this week.

Fr. Andrew

 


14) Families of Parishes:


15) SJA's Livestream Page and Schedule:
This week's LIVE Stream
Schedule at St. Joan of Arc:
  
Monday (November 16):
7 AM - Mass
10 AM - Funeral for Marc Branch
12:00 PM - Funeral for Ruth Monczewski
6:15 PM - Faith Formation Mass

Tuesday (November 17):
7 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass


Wednesday (November 18):
7 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass
7:00 PM - Annual Memorial Mass


Thursday (November 19):
7 AM - Mass
7 PM - Holy Hour (Praise and Worship Music with
Rick Flores and Kristine Hass)

Friday (November 20):
7 AM - Mass
10 AM - Funeral for Bertha Condne


Saturday (November 21):
11 AM - Baptism of Anthony John Cammarata
12 PM - Baptism of Elliot Marie Norrod
1:30 PM - Baptism of Annabelle Elizabeth Bahr
2:30 PM - Baptism of Olivia Grace Lucia
4 PM - Mass
6 PM - Mass


Sunday (November 22):
8 AM - Mass
10 AM - Baptism of Joshua Luke Turk
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.
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for November 15, 2020
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