Pastor's Column

Sunday, March 24, 2019 

Dear friends,

First, a clarification about registering for the Dinner Auction. We’re doing that on-line this year.  All you have to do is enter this address into your web browser and it’ll take you right there: Now, if you don’t do computers, or if you need help, please call us here at the rectory and we’ll get you signed up. While a lot of what we’re doing for the auction is ‘online’, we can still get you registered the ole fashioned way!

Our next Parish Life Initiative Apostolate meeting is Monday, March 25 at 7pm in the Naeger Room (basement of the parish office; enter through back door). Our focus at this meeting is our Social Justice and Outreach to the Poor Ministry. Lots of great ideas coming out of this. Join us! 

If you want to make a donation to Fr. George’s school in Uganda, you can still do so. Two options here:

1.     Make a check payable to St. Joan of Arc and we’ll make a bulk transfer directly to the school at the end of Lent. You can use the blue envelopes in church and either drop it in the Sunday basket or drop it at the rectory.

2.     Or you can call the school’s St. Louis’s ‘headquarters’ at (314) 724-6654. The office is located near St. Margaret of Scotland parish where Fr. George was living while here in St. Louis.

The Parish Lenten Mission is this week. Fr. Simon Felix, a Dominican priest, will be our Mission Preacher. Join us Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings, 7-8pm in church. Fr. Simon is an excellent preacher and teacher. Give this time to the Lord and you will not be disappointed!

 Know that you are loved dearly and prayed for daily.

Pastor's Column

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Dear Friends,

Well, how’s your Lent going?

I want to offer just two bits here for your prayer:
1.     I want to invite you to attend our Lenten Parish Mission on March 26, 27 & 28(T-Th), 7pm-8pm in Church. Fr. Simon Felix, a Dominican Priest, will be leading the Mission. If you’re in need a spiritual pick-me-up I hope you’ll come. If you need a little inspiration, I hope you’ll come. If you struggling a bit and need some encouragement, I hope you’ll come in. If you need a break from the craziness, stress, or boredom, I hope you’ll come. If the Lord is consoling you now and everything is going your way, I hope you’ll come. There’s going to be a little something for everyone. Give this time to the Lord and He will not leave it wasted.

2.     Our parish Penance Service is scheduled for Monday, April 1st at 7pm in Church. If it’s been a year since your last Confession, you’re due. Come on in and celebrate this Sacrament of Healing and Restoration before our celebration of Easter. Big sins, little sins, lots of sins, not so many sins- Forgiveness and Second Chances are available from God’s Abundant Willingness to hang in there with us and call us to become those people that we were created to be. 

Donuts this weekend! Come over to the school cafeteria after Sunday Masses for some fellowship!

Know that you are loved dearly and prayed for daily.

Fr Craig

Pastor's Column

Sunday, March 10, 2019
Dear Friends,

Happy Lent. We’ve begun our Lenten observance in preparation for the celebration of Easter. A few things to keep in pray with here.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the Appeal for our Sister Parish in Guatemala. We are assisting them in building a church on the parish grounds. We’ve raised $13,413.25. That number automatically gets doubled thanks to an anonymous generous donor who has matched every penny that we’ve raised. Our total gift to Fr. Sergio and the Community of Hope in Guatemala is $26, 826.50.  WOW!! Once again, SJA is a witness to the generous hearts of Christians. Thank you!

Here's a special opportunity to support our school community. There’s a Trivia Night to benefit South City Catholic Academy on Saturday, March 30th, 6pm at the Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Center- Faenger Hall. It’s $200 for a table and all the fun that comes with a Trivia Night. The contact is Therese Nims at (314) 775-6016 (call or text) or  Please consider putting a table together and joining in the fun. All proceeds benefit the South City Catholic Academy Makerspace. Let me know if you need more information.

It’s with a grateful heart that we recognize the retirement of Ed Ortleb as SJA’s St. Vincent de Paul Society Conference President. Ed has served faithfully for years and years. Ed- thank you for your generous service to the parish and to the needy who come to us asking for help! I’d like to thank Denny Brennan for agreeing to serve as the new President. Denny will assume leadership responsibilities immediately. Thank you, Denny, for being willing to serve.

To that end, I am pleased to announce our third Parish Life Initiative Apostolate Meeting on Monday, March 25 at 7pm in the parish office. Our topic is Social Justice, Outreach to the Poor and our St. Vincent de Paul Society. We’ve got a lot of great ideas to expand our outreach to the poor both in our neighborhood and beyond. So, if you’re interested in getting involved and have some ideas to share, please join me, Monday, March 25 at 7pm in the parish office.

So, here’s the line-up of the Parish Life Initiative Apostolate Meetings scheduled so far.

-Tuesday, March 19th – New Parishioner Outreach/Welcoming/Mentoring Apostolate

-Wednesday, March 20th – SJA Goes Green! Caring for our Common Home Apostolate

-Monday, March 25th – Social Justice, St. Vincent de Paul, Outreach to the Poor Apostolate

All meetings will happen at 7pm in the parish office/rectory. Please contact me directly if you have any questions or would like more information.  There are more Apostolate meetings coming, so please keep an eye on the bulletin, web site blog and Facebook page. 

Know that you are loved dearly and prayed for daily.

Pastor's Column

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Dear Friends,

Ash Wednesday is this coming Wednesday: Mass times are 8am and 6pm.  This is 6pm Mass time is the new Mass time following the survey issued last month.  This 6pm Mass time will be for all Holy Days of Obligation. (The Saturday evening Mass time WILL NOT change from 4:30pm.)

I’d like to invite all those interested in the New Parishioner Welcoming/Mentoring/Outreach Apostolate to attend our first organizational on Tuesday, March 19th at 7pm in the Naeger Room.  The first things we’ll need to do is come up with a new name! ;-)  This new apostolate was a top priority from the All is Gift Survey and the Parish Life Initiative back in January. We have new parishioners join every month! At our meeting on March 19th we’ll brainstorm about what we can do to invite, welcome, and empower new parishioners to enter into the parish community feeling welcomed and appreciated.  Some preliminary ideas from the PLI were: monthly ‘welcome breakfast’ with the pastor with tour and introduction to the parish; home visit from current parishioner to meet and greet; monthly BBQ or ice cream social after a Mass; developing a welcome packet with information about getting involved in the parish community.  All great ideas! So, let’s get together and hammer it out. If you’re interested in being a part of the New Parishioner Welcoming/Mentoring/Outreach Apostolate- and you have an idea for a new name(!)- join me on Tuesday, March 19th at 7pm in the Naeger Room to brainstorm and develop a new way to extend our famous SJA hospitality to our new parishioners.

Then, on Wednesday, March 20th at 7pm in the Naeger Room I’d like to invite all those who are interested in helping SJA Go Green! The care of our planet, the preservation and conversation of our natural resources, and the way in which we use and consume energy, food, water, and other natural resources has ramifications beyond our time and life on earth. SJA can help care for our common home by examining how we use and consume, preserve and conserve our natural resources. Some initial ideas from the PLI: going Styrofoam-free at fish fries, homecoming, and donut Sunday; being more intentional about recycling; buying from vendors who use recycled products or support conservation efforts; complete the transition to LED lighting throughout the campus. Let’s get together and talk about this, make an assessment, brainstorm and see where we as a community can work together. Join me on Wednesday, March 20th at 7pm in the Naeger Room to assess, brainstorm and implement a way of life now that will preserve God’s Creation for our children, grandchildren and beyond!

Please see the annual Lenten Brochures in the back of church this weekend. It contains a lot of information about what’s going on around the parish community during Lent, including the Parish Lenten Mission scheduled for March 26-28 (Tues-Thurs) at 7pm. Lent begins with our celebration of Ash Wednesday- Masses are at 8am and 6pm.

Know that you are loved dearly and prayed for daily.

With peace and prayers for you,
Fr. Craig Holway

Pastor's Column

Sunday, February 24, 2019 

Dear Friends,

It’s time to start talking about baseball. Pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training on February 12th and their first exhibition game was on February 23rd. Opening Day for the 2019 Cardinals Season is April 1st and the Home Opener is April 4th. I’m optimistic about the Redbird this year- it looks like a good roster provided everyone stay healthy.

But, I’m even MORE optimistic about this years Dinner Auction- AT BAT FOR SJA!!!  Play ball my friends!

When: Saturday, May 4th

Where: The SJA Parish Center

Why: To Support the Mission of SJA and enjoy a good meal, fun and fellowship.

Event Reservation Postcards will be mailed out on March 1st. The Committee, led by Jeff and Annie Niklawski, has been working for months already! I guarantee a good time.

It’s a privilege to be able to introduce this year’s Fund-A-Need: A Revitalization of the SJA Parish Center. The SJA parish center was built in 1981. Since then it’s seen almost 40 years of sports, flea markets, trivia nights, Homecomings, meetings, gatherings and parties of every stripe and color. About a 10 years ago the bathrooms were updated and two years ago it got new air conditioning and heating. Now, it’s time for a cosmetic revitalization! Parishioner Julie Abner, owner of Julie Abner Interiors, LLC is leading the design and bid-out process. (Julie was an instrumental part of the church renovation project back in 2008-2009.) The revitalization of the Parish Center will be a boon not only to the SJA community but also the SCCA school community.  The total scope of the work will depend on how much money we can raise at the Fund-A-Need portion of the Dinner Auction.

So, the Committee is dreaming BIG! Here’s our wish list for the SJA Parish Center Revitalization:

-       New flooring, paint and lighting in the entrance foyer. Including the SJA logo in-laid on the floor.

-       New flooring, paint, lighting and redesigned layout for the two concessions stands.

-       New paint in the gym.

-       And if we hit the jackpot- a new floor in the gym.

We hope you can attend the dinner auction, maybe invite some friends and bring a whole table.  If you can’t attend the Dinner Auction please consider supporting the Auction by donating an item to the Silent or Live Auction. No item is too small and no item is too big! (Rumor has it Monsignor Dempsey is looking for a puppy!) We’re in need of items like restaurant gift certificates, golf outings, sporting and concert event tickets, vacation rentals. The Auction is also registered at Target and on Amazon. The Auction wreath is on the Choir Loft Door in the back of church if you’d like to take an ornament and donate that item to the Silent or Live Auction.

We’ve also got a Facebook page. Find us at “At Bat for SJA”.  There’s more information elsewhere in the bulletin.

Keep the Dinner Auction in your prayers: our Prayer of Petition is for a successful and fun evening! All to support the mission and ministry of SJA!

Play Ball!!!

Know that you are loved dearly and prayed for daily.

Fr. Craig

Pastor's Column

Sunday, February 10, 2019
Dear Friends,

On Monday, February 18th, the Parish Life Initiative ad-hoc Steering Committee will meet to debrief our Initiative meeting from January 20th. At this meeting we’ll summarize the comments and suggestions and develop a game plan to respond to questions; respond to immediate concerns; and prioritize our implementation steps.

 Please know that I’m already meeting with parishioners who have enthusiastically responded to the Initiative and are already looking to start new or revitalize existing apostolates.  We’ll continue to disseminate information here, the web site blog (located here: and the parish Facebook page.

Don’t forget to sign up to participate in the annual Progressive Dinner. Held on March 9, this is a great opportunity to come together as a community, meet new people, enjoy food and fellowship and trash other people’s houses! (Just kidding!) Come be a part of the fun!

Know that you are loved dearly and prayed for daily.

Fr. Craig

Pastor's Column

Sunday, January 27, 2019

 Dear Friends,

Happy Catholic Schools Week! Today we’ll celebrate Mass with the South City Catholic Academy community.  There’s an Open House after the 10:30am Mass; all are welcome to join the SCCA community for donuts, tours of the school building, and meeting students and faculty.  The students will enjoy special activities throughout the week.

The Parish Life Initiative (PLI) was a great success. My thanks to all those who participated in the planning meetings and those who came last Sunday. We generated so many ideas and got such valuable feedback! I’ve already got meetings scheduled to start cultivating some of these ideas and put them into action. We’ll use the bulletin, website blog, and our Facebook page to disseminate those ideas and action items. There are two next steps then:

1.     One more meeting of the steering committee to debrief on the PLI.
2.     Individual Group Apostolate Meetings with interested parishioners who are ready to initiate and motivate some of the ideas generated.
Watch the bulletin, website blog, and Facebook page for more information.

Next on our radar: Progressive Dinner. It’s scheduled for Saturday, March 9th. There’s more details coming in the bulletin but save the date for this casual, fun, community-building event. Participants will visit the homes of two parishioners for drinks, food and fellowship; and then the entire group returns to the SJA Parish Center for dessert! It’s a great evening! I hope you can join us.

And finally: I’m heading out on a little mid-winter R & R. I’m leaving Tuesday, January 29th and I’ll be back Monday, February 4th.  Monsignor Dempsey is in charge but please DO NOT let him give away the cats or sell the school parking lot to CVS.  In fact, this time, I’m taking the check book with me, because last time I was gone, he was watching Home Shopping Network and bought a 30-piece pot-and-pan set, 3 vacuums, a curling iron, and a gold watch. Brutal!

Know that you are loved dearly and prayed for daily.

Peace and prayers for you.

Parish Life Initiative Apostolate Spot Light

The St. Vincent de Paul Society

The SVDP has a long pedigree in St. Louis and at St. Joan of Arc. Its mission is simple:  assist the poor with as much help as our resources allow. At St. Joan of Arc we are able to help with food and utility and rent assistance. Volunteers respond to requests by meeting with them and not only providing for their immediate needs, but also working with them to budget their finances and help them with similar tasks.

Our SVDP maintains our Food Pantry and also assists St. Agatha’s food pantry in Soulard. Volunteers collect and sort food items and when requested, fills orders and either delivers the food or makes arrangements for the food to be picked up at the parish office.

Our SVDP never gives cash but always works with landlords and utilities to assist in bill payment and budgeting assistance.

Our St. Vincent de Paul society is always looking for help. If you’re interested in helping, please contact Fr. Craig and he’ll put you in touch with current members of the SVDP.



Pastor's Column for Sunday, Dec 16th

Dear Friends,

Advent Penance Service and Individual Confession: Monday, December 17th, 7-8pm in church. Monsignor and I will both be available.  We also have our regular confession times: Saturdays, 8:30am until all are heard; and then 3-4pm before the Vigil Mass.

Introducing the Parish Life Initiative on Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 11:45am-1:15pm in the school cafeteria. Last summer we participated in a survey for the All is Gift project.  From those surveys we learned that parishioners wanted to see more ‘town hall meetings’ where information could be presented en masse. This is a great idea and I’m happy to do it.

After discussion and discernment, though, a group of parishioners have come together and have collaborated to make these ‘town halls’, now called “Parish Life Initiatives”, not just information sharing, but also an opportunity to provide feedback and ideas about how to enrich and engage the life of the parish in all its facets. So, our Parish Life Initiative is not just about information sharing, but it’s also going to be a group effort to brainstorm and share how we can enrich our parish community.

So, what are we going to do on the 20th? Well, come and see! I’m inviting all parishioners: young, old, families, singles.  Anyone who has a vested interested in the life of the parish, our present and future- please come and be a part of the Parish Life Initiative. We all have something to contribute to the life of the parish because we are all essential, vibrant and vital members of the community. WE are SJA!!!

We’ll begin with donuts after the 10:30am Mass. After some fellowship, we’ll start and will conclude by 1:15pm.

-Our agenda will include:

1. A summary of the survey results

2. A vision statement by the pastor

3. A brief presentation of our financial position

4. Break out groups to share ideas on enriching our apostolic and community life

5. An opportunity to ask questions of the pastor/parish leadership

Please come with ideas and a willingness to share!

I’ll look forward to seeing you on January 20th at our Parish Life Initiative.