Saint Theresa Parish

A Roman Catholic Community
5045 E. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 840-0850 Parish Office
(602) 840-0871 Parish Fax  

Parish Email

Parish Office Hours
Monday through Thursday
9:00AM-Noon & 1:00PM-5:00PM
Friday 9:00AM-12noon         Sunday 8:30AM-Noon

Closed Saturdays
& most Federal Holidays.

Liturgy Schedule
Saturday Vigil Mass 4PM
Sunday Masses
9:00AM (Liturgy with Children)
11:00AM and
5:00PM (Teen and Young Adult)

Daily Masses
Monday through Friday
6:30AM and Saturday at 8:00AM
Holy Day Masses as announced in bulletin prior to the Holy Day.

Sacrament of Reconciliation
Saturday, 9:00AM to 10:00AM
Wednesday, 5:00PM to 6:00PM and by appointment


Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Parochial Vicar 

(Associate Pastor)

Rev. Joachim Adeyemi

Rev. J.C. Ortiz

Priest in Residence

Rev. Kevin Grimditch

Assisting Priest

Rev. Paul Peri


Colin F. Campbell

Mark Kriese

Ralph Ulibarri


Saint Theresa Catholic School
5001 East Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018

(602) 840-0010 School Office
(602) 840-8323 School Fax




Reflections - July 23, 2017


A week or so ago when I was scheduled for the “Midnight Mass” (the 6:30 a.m. weekday Liturgy), I began to read through all of the readings for the upcoming week that Sunday afternoon.  Yet, I found myself still pondering the Sunday readings for that Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Psalm especially for that weekend had called for disciples to be gracious , merciful, and compassionate.  I was stuck at gracious. Just what is/was gracious? I hadn’t heard that word used since my mother had said that, “one of her friends was a gracious person and to act accordingly when we visited”. Indeed, as I looked up gracious, there happened to be a chart on the web site that I visited showing the frequency of the use of the various words. Gracious was used frequently in the 1800s but the chart showed that the word gracious almost “flat-lined” by 2010. Did this mean that we moderns stopped using the word? Did modern Americans, like myself, stop using the word because we had no idea of what it meant to be gracious? Had social media taken it’s toll on graciousness with the lack of opportunity to actually be social? I mean, that we have all experienced to some degree, either by watching or participating, the act of being in the same spot with another person and actually texting one another and not engaging in actual conversation. I must confess. I have been on car trips and instead of talking, I have asked questions, sent quips, photographs, cute sayings, etc. via text while people were less than a foot away. Mea culpa! I don’t think that was gracious. Well, I had the perfect opportunity with the upcoming weekly homilies to investigate not only gracious, but merciful and compassionate as well. The readings for that week actually lent themselves to this task quite well. That Monday I explained my dilemma and with the collective wisdom of the “Early Birds” we set out to find out what the scriptures were asking of us. Several early morning Mass attendees came up to me after Liturgy and gave me examples and situations where someone had acted in a gracious manner. Well, at least I knew that they were listening. Some of the synonyms for gracious were, among many, considerate, courteous, polite, thoughtful, kind. In Christian belief and usage, gracious meant showing divine grace. Alright, we were getting somewhere. Parishioners kept giving me their own definitions such as “joyful giving” as an attempt to better understand. So, we tackled merciful and compassionate in the same manner. It was quite easy to begin to get a handle on these words or give examples of when someone was gracious or merciful or compassionate. However what seemed to be lacking was making these words, these attributes  part of our individual lives. We knew when someone was gracious, or merciful, or compassionate but how did we become gracious, merciful, or compassionate? Is not Liturgy meant to change us, transform us, converts us? How does this work in our own lives? We (I needed!) agreed we needed some simple act or advice or a constructive way to become more of what the Scriptures were asking us to become. I needed a visual reminder! A chart, I needed a chart. I looked at all of the words again. I looked at their definitions. I looked at their synonyms again. These words were used to define the other. Merciful was used to define gracious. Compassionate was part of being merciful. Gracious was the act of being compassionate with others… Then it jumped out! There it was obviously present. The one word that was used to help in defining the other three words-KIND! To be gracious was to be KIND. To be merciful was to be KIND. To be compassionate was to be kind. KIND. Simple, direct, easy, and obvious; all we had to be was KIND! In being KIND, one was on the road to being gracious, to being merciful, to being compassionate. Our lives would be more attractive to others when we are KIND. That is one of the components to Evangelization. To live lives that are attractive to others. To evangelize is to be KIND. That week we heard in Scripture that The mission of Jesus is authenticated. (by being KIND)  Jesus prayed to send (KIND) laborers for the harvest.  Jesus chooses and sent (KIND) disciples to proclaim the reign of God. We are called to share God’s love as gift (KINDly). When one encounters opposition and even persecution, return it with KINDness.

There it was! 


Love and KINDness,

Fr. JC



Reflections - July 16, 2017



You’re Kidding?

  “I was?”

I told someone at the ice cream social this past weekend that they were Evangelizing. They responded, “I was?” I replied, “YOU ARE!”

Who can remember the essential “marching orders” issued by the founder of the Christian religion, namely Jesus Christ? To answer that one, just take a look at the last two verses of the final chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel: “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (28:19-20).

Could Jesus have put it any plainer than that? Why is it, then, that we Catholics seem so strangely, stubbornly resistant to the idea, the injunction actually, to go out and spread the Good News? Almost, it seems, to the point of neurosis. How can something so central to the teaching of the Gospel become an impediment among those who already believe in the Gospel? “Christians who are afraid to build bridges,” Pope Francis tells us, “and prefer to build walls, are Christians who are not sure of their faith, not sure of Jesus Christ.” Why then this fear? A faith grown cold and anemic cannot survive, much less share its marvels with others. Hardly an appealing face, one would think, to present to a world thirsting for the redemption of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul, who could not even bring himself to boast about his own preaching since to do so was nothing more than an exigency inscribed in the gospels themselves. “Woe to me if I do not evangelize” (1 Cor 9:16). This, after all, is the job description of anyone who puts on Christ. 

“There are backseat Christians,” the Pope reminds us. “Those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and Apostolic zeal.” Their fear of soiling the linen prevents them from going out in search of others, especially along the edges where the dust and the dirt, the muck and the mire are likely to accumulate.  Among the poor and the needy, that is, for whom Jesus shed his blood.  “We cannot become starched Christians,” the Pope warns. Do not become, says the Pope, “too polite, who speak of theology calmly over tea. We have to become courageous Christians and seek out those who are the flesh of Christ.”

It was a crazy Saturday afternoon. The parking lot was full at 2PM, but that didn’t make sense. Down the road was “The Cannabis Cup” with free samples for those with a Medical Marijuana card. They were using our parking lot. Why God? It’s the opening event for our own re-start/kick-off  of evangelization. Cheryl and I looked at each other both thinking, this is the muck & the mire. “Thanks a lot God!  Ok then, OPEN  the field and put out the overflow parking signs. We are not towing anyone when we are about to proclaim that “Our Doors are OPEN!” “OPEN to all!” But what if we make mistakes, falling flat on our newly apostolic faces? “Well, what of it,” the Pope snaps. “Get on with you: if you make a mistake, you get up and go forward: that is the way. Those who do not walk in order not to err, make the more serious mistake.” AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

Blessings, Fr. JC



Reflections - July 9, 2017


Has it already been 1 year? Can you believe it is that time again? It is time for the Ice Cream Social!!! We continue our call for Evangelization as a parish & through our individual efforts. It would be beneficial for all of us to revisit what our pope has called The Baptized to achieve through evangelization.

"Ask me, for ice cream. ”At 7:30 in the morning?" was the response from one of the staff members. "Of course. Why not?" I yelled over my shoulder running through the office chanting, "Ask me, ask me, ask me, ask me for ice cream." Of course we all know that it really isn't about ice cream. So then what is the Ice Cream Social about after all the masses this weekend? I'm glad you asked. ASK ME! It is about Evangelization. Which by the way, is one of Pope Francis' hopes for the Church. Pope Francis has been trying to tell us more and more about how he hopes the Church can evangelize. Pope Francis has the amazing knack for preaching while embodying this preaching with his own life. He is not simply a great marketer for the Church; he is a model of evangelization that we can all learn a lot from. Each of us can come up with our own lists of what evangelization should entail but my list of dreams concerning evangelization most closely resembles that of Kevin Cotter who writes for Focus on Campus at University of Texas El Paso. It's easy. It's simple. It's something you will find you have already been doing. We just need to keep marching forward spreading the Good News and proclaiming that the kingdom is near. Kevin pens the following:


The List of 10 things Pope Francis wants You to Know about Evangelization 

1. Everyone is Meant to Evangelize

Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.—Evangelii Gaudium

2. Want Authentic Personal Fulfillment? Evangelize

When the Church summons Christians to take up the task of evangelization, she is simply pointing to the source of authentic personal fulfilment. For “here we discover a profound law of reality: that life is attained and matures in the measure that it is offered up in order to give life to others. This is certainly what mission means”. —Evangelii Gaudium

3. Evangelization Starts with Our Own Relationship with Jesus

The spread of the Gospel is not guaranteed either by the number of persons, or by the prestige of the institution, or by the quantity of available resources. What counts is to be permeated by the love of Christ, to let oneself be led by the Holy Spirit and to graft one’s own life onto the tree of life, which is the Lord’s Cross. —Homily, Mass with Seminarians and Novices, July 7, 2013

4. We Must Witness the Faith with Our Lives 

If you happen to be with an atheist who tells you that he does not believe in God, you can read him the whole library, where it says that God exists, and where it is proven that God exists, and he will not believe. [However] if in the presence of this same atheist you witness to a consistent, Christian life, something will begin to work in his heart…. It will be your witness that brings him the restlessness on which the Holy Spirit works.—Homily, Domus Sanctae Marthae, February 27, 2014

5. An Evangelizer Must be Joyful

Consequently, an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! … And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervour, who have first received the joy of Christ”. —Evangelii Gaudium

6. We Must Encounter People to Evangelize

Be servants of communion and of the culture of encounter! I would like you to be almost obsessed about this. Be so without being presumptuous, imposing “our truths,” but rather be guided by the humble yet joyful certainty of those who have been found, touched and transformed by the Truth who is Christ, ever to be proclaimed. —Homily, World Youth Day, July 27, 2013

7. We Must Know How to Give an Initial Proclamation of Jesus

On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation must ring out over and over: “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you…. nothing is more solid, profound, secure, meaningful and wisdom-filled than that initial proclamation. ” —Evangelii Gaudium

8. Get Out of Our Comfort Zone

I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and which then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. —Evangelii Gaudium

9. Evangelizers Love People

Evangelizers thus take on the “smell of the sheep” and the sheep are willing to hear their voice. An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be. It is familiar with patient expectation and apostolic endurance. —Evangelii Gaudium

10.   Everyone Needs to be Evangelized

Jesus teaches us that the Good News, which he brings, is not reserved to one part of humanity, it is to be communicated to everyone.—Angelus, January 26, 2014

Numbers 1 & 10 are the bookends as one can see: Everyone is Meant to Evangelize and Everyone Needs to be Evangelized. What better way to begin the discussion on Evangelization, in these hot sticky Julys of Arizona than to cool off and be joyful with the Faith community of Saint Theresa, by eating ice cream, getting out of our individual comfort zones, and beginning to live our baptismal call more fully as the EVANGELIZERS we are all called to be. Still uncertain about it all? Then "ASK ME!" or any one wearing an "ASK ME" apron. Blessings!

–Love, Fr. JC



Reflections - July 2, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate Independence Day this week, we can – as always – take some time to reflect on the abundant blessings that we enjoy as Americans.  We are free to worship, free to speak out, free to associate with those whom we please… so many of us have countless material goods at our disposal, the foods we like, shelter that cools us in the desert heat, the ability to travel for vacation. The list of blessings for the majority of us is literally endless.  God is so good to give us a wonderful land in which to live! 

Yet with abundance comes responsibility. As Jesus reminds us: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Luke 12:48).  Of all the gifts that have been entrusted to us, few are as great as the environment in which we live.  God has created beauty and purpose everywhere we look… from “sea to shining sea” in these United States of America.  And this is only one nation in the whole world that God has fashioned for us.  Yet we can take the created world, the environment, so much for granted.

Perhaps, as we celebrate our nation’s independence this July Fourth, we can set aside a little time to give thanks to God for the beauty and abundance of this world that God has entrusted to us.  Whether we spend the Fourth here in the desert, or in the mountains, or at the shore… we can ask God to give us the grace to be good stewards of the creation with which he has gifted us.  We can ask God for the strength to care for our world… as we give thanks to God for all the beauty and bounty that is given to us by our loving Creator.

 God of love, show us our place

in this world

as channels of your love

for all the creatures of this earth.


God of mercy, may we receive

your forgiveness


and convey your mercy

throughout our common home.


Praise be to you!

-From Pope Francis’ World Day of Prayer

            for the Care of Creation, Sept. 1, 2016



In Christ’s peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




Reflections - June 25, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Recently, I had an experience that completely shattered all my “expectations” (in a most positive way).  It all began a few months ago, when a two of our recent St. Theresa Catholic School alumni, Katie Coury and Gregory Abbott, approached me – armed with a PowerPoint presentation – to make a request: that they be allowed to gather a group of fellow STCS alumni together to stage a summer production of Les Misérables to benefit Catholic education (the beneficiaries being our own school and the University of Notre Dame’s ACE Program, which prepares teachers for the vocation of serving Catholic schools in underprivileged areas).  Katie and Gregory (then-sophomores at Xavier and Brophy College Preps, respectively) quite honestly stunned me with their altruistic, community-building and yes – ambitious – plan.  How could I say no?  Katie and Gregory, who had both been involved in student theatre as STCS students, had reached out to our other alumni who had been involved in our school’s spring musicals of the past – and had already enlisted the support of Mr. Terry Temple, founder of Temple Music and Performing Arts, who has directed past St. Theresa musicals and who privately instructs a number of our students in music and the performing arts.  The work began… Terry, his wife Ginny and their college-age daughter Emily along with 33 cast members and stage crew and “techies” embarked on a mad-dash effort to pull together a complicated Broadway hit in 13 weeks’ time.

Along the way, a 34th member was added to the cast when Katie and Gregory came to me and asked if I would play the role of “the Bishop” in the play.  Since Fr. JC had played “the Wizard” in our spring musical The Wizard of Oz, my response was “sure… why not?”

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Yes, there was a lot of hard work (I think that the younger brain is far more adept than the older brain is when it comes to memorizing lines, cues and music) – but what was truly unexpected was the sense of awe on my part as I became part of this team of young people, bonding together to tell a story of mercy, redemption and God’s love overcoming anger, bitterness and strife.  It was honestly one of the most powerful and joyful experiences of my time as Pastor of St. Theresa.  There were moments when tears welled up in my eyes as I witnessed young actors passionately sing lines like “to love another person is to see the face of God” and an overarching sense of gratitude and pride in these young people whom I have the privilege to serve as priest and Pastor.  Of course, none of the cast could have been involved without the support of their loving families who did so much to “make it all happen” though their encouragement of the young performers, a lot of behind-the-scenes efforts as well as underwriting a significant amount of production expense.

Following “closing night” last Saturday, I was humbled by the talents of so many who had given of their time to make possible an incredible experience to benefit Catholic education. I “had a blast” being part of Les Misérables, feeling the teamwork and bond of being part of something magical, and confess that I felt a sense of letdown once it was all over!

Special thanks to the parishioners and friends who attended one of the three performances in our Msgr. McMahon Center – your affirmation of the efforts of our young performers and your support of the Church in its timeless role as Patron of the Arts is greatly appreciated.


Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer