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 info@sttheresaphx.org

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

Closed Saturdays
& most Federal Holidays.

Liturgy Schedule
Saturday Vigil Mass 4PM
Sunday Masses
7:30AM
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
(Confession)
Saturday, 9:00AM to 10:00AM
Wednesday, 5:00PM to 6:00PM and by appointment

Pastor

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

Deacons

Colin F. Campbell

Mark Kriese

Ralph Ulibarri

 

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

www.stcs.us

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

 

 

Administration
Tuesday
Nov212017

Reflections - November 19, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays… simply because we get the opportunity to “wallow in gratitude” for all that God gives us. Think of it – there are so many blessings, so many gifts that God gives us… gifts that, in many cases, are all too easy to take for granted. Gifts that are given to us… not because we’ve earned them, but simply because our God loves us.

In these next few days before Thanksgiving Day, perhaps we can take some time to take into account some of those easily-taken-for-granted gifts. Gifts like health, the gift of our five senses, relationships with those who love us – and with those whom we love.  Houses to live in, beds to sleep in, food to eat… these are some gifts many people don’t have.  Employment, security, the ability to travel – even the ability to simply drive or walk to church.  The beautiful weather and scenery of our state of Arizona; the ability to worship in freedom and enjoy our other constitutional rights as Americans. Of course, this only begins to scratch the surface in naming God’s gifts in our lives. It’s really incredible when we begin to list the gifts we have been given; the reasons we have to be people of gratitude.

Many of us are aware that the word eucharist has its roots in the Greek word that means “to give thanks.” Every time we gather for Mass, every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we are expressing our gratitude to God. Listen carefully to the words of the Liturgy – especially the words of the Eucharistic Prayer – and it becomes so very obvious that “thanksgiving” is really a strong theme of every Mass.

What better way can there be to begin our Thanksgiving Day than celebrating the Eucharist? Though it is not one of the “holy days of obligation” of the Catholic Church, Thanksgiving Day could well be called a “holy day of volition:” one of those days we voluntarily choose to celebrate Mass together, under no obligation, simply because it feels right to do so in order to give God thanks.

This Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, we will gather for Mass at 9:00AM. Plan to join the community in celebrating the Eucharist as we begin the wonderful day of gratitude we call Thanksgiving! With a little advance planning, this should be a convenient time in everyone’s schedule. Please note that the 9:00AM Mass is the only Mass celebrated at St. Theresa on Thanksgiving Day – there will be no 6:30AM Mass this Thursday. If you’re planning to serve bread with your Thanksgiving Dinner, you’re welcome to bring it along with you for a special post-Communion blessing that will be offered.

May God’s blessings continue to come upon us and upon those we love during this season of gratitude… and may God continue to form us as a community of thankful praise!

 

With grateful prayers,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Tuesday
Nov142017

Reflections - November 12, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

We hear an interesting parable in today’s Gospel (Matthew 25: 1-30), a parable that in some ways at first glance seems harsh. It focuses in on the Jewish wedding custom of Jesus’ time, where it was traditional that the groom would be escorted from his home to the place of the wedding feast by virgins (likely the bridesmaids). Since weddings were often in the evenings, the bridesmaids would go before the groom with oil lamps or torches to light the way. In the Gospel story, we hear how the groom is delayed – when finally at midnight, the groom was ready. The women, who had drifted off to sleep, awoke and prepared to do their duty of meeting and escorting the groom to the feast. 

In the parable, Jesus points out that some of the bridesmaids were foolish – and their lamps had run out of oil. They were unprepared; whereas the wise women had brought along extra oil for just such a situation as the groom being delayed. Interesting, the wise ones would not share their oil with the foolish – they sent them off to buy more oil.  Meanwhile, the wise women – torches blazing – escorted the bridegroom to the wedding banquet and entered the feast.

What are we to make of this parable? Jesus is teaching his disciples the necessity of being prepared; remaining vigilant for the “coming of the bridegroom.” Those who are prepared will be ready to enter the wedding feast along with the bridegroom; those who aren’t prepared will be left to fend for themselves.  The “bridegroom” in the parable is Jesus himself; he’s speaking of his return in glory at the end of time – at a time impossible to predict. Those who are prepared, who have remained vigilant in living their lives as his disciples, will enter the heavenly banquet… while those who have “run out of fuel,” so to speak, in living their discipleship will find a closed door instead.

Perhaps the fuel that keeps our lamps of discipleship burning symbolizes all the good works – mercy, justice, faithfulness, love – that characterize the life of the believer.  Those who maintain a sufficient supply of this “fuel” will be prepared to greet the bridegroom (that is, Jesus when he comes in glory at the end of time) and those who haven’t prepared with enough “fuel” for their lamps will be unfortunately in no position to borrow the good works of discipleship from another person… even if that person were willing to give them. Each will be accountable for his or her own deeds.

As our Church Year moves toward its conclusion (the Sunday after Thanksgiving this year is the final Sunday of the year, the Solemnity of Christ the King) and we then move into the Season of Advent, we hear at Mass an increasing number of scripture passages having to do with apocalyptic (or, “end time”) themes. These readings have a common theme, summed up in the final verse of today’s Gospel: “”Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”  As his disciples, we are to always be prepared to greet the Lord – no matter when he comes or when we are called to him!

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Wednesday
Nov082017

Reflections - November 5, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

We hear an interesting parable in today’s Gospel (Matthew 25: 1-30), a parable that in some ways at first glance seems harsh. It focuses in on the Jewish wedding custom of Jesus’ time, where it was traditional that the groom would be escorted from his home to the place of the wedding feast by virgins (likely the bridesmaids). Since weddings were often in the evenings, the bridesmaids would go before the groom with oil lamps or torches to light the way. In the Gospel story, we hear how the groom is delayed – when finally at midnight, the groom was ready. The women, who had drifted off to sleep, awoke and prepared to do their duty of meeting and escorting the groom to the feast. 

In the parable, Jesus points out that some of the bridesmaids were foolish – and their lamps had run out of oil. They were unprepared; whereas the wise women had brought along extra oil for just such a situation as the groom being delayed. Interesting, the wise ones would not share their oil with the foolish – they sent them off to buy more oil.  Meanwhile, the wise women – torches blazing – escorted the bridegroom to the wedding banquet and entered the feast.

What are we to make of this parable? Jesus is teaching his disciples the necessity of being prepared; remaining vigilant for the “coming of the bridegroom.” Those who are prepared will be ready to enter the wedding feast along with the bridegroom; those who aren’t prepared will be left to fend for themselves.  The “bridegroom” in the parable is Jesus himself; he’s speaking of his return in glory at the end of time – at a time impossible to predict. Those who are prepared, who have remained vigilant in living their lives as his disciples, will enter the heavenly banquet… while those who have “run out of fuel,” so to speak, in living their discipleship will find a closed door instead.

Perhaps the fuel that keeps our lamps of discipleship burning symbolizes all the good works – mercy, justice, faithfulness, love – that characterize the life of the believer.  Those who maintain a sufficient supply of this “fuel” will be prepared to greet the bridegroom (that is, Jesus when he comes in glory at the end of time) and those who haven’t prepared with enough “fuel” for their lamps will be unfortunately in no position to borrow the good works of discipleship from another person… even if that person were willing to give them. Each will be accountable for his or her own deeds.

As our Church Year moves toward its conclusion (the Sunday after Thanksgiving this year is the final Sunday of the year, the Solemnity of Christ the King) and we then move into the Season of Advent, we hear at Mass an increasing number of scripture passages having to do with apocalyptic (or, “end time”) themes. These readings have a common theme, summed up in the final verse of today’s Gospel: “”Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” As his disciples, we are to always be prepared to greet the Lord – no matter when he comes or when we are called to him!

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Thursday
Oct262017

Reflections - October 29, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we enter the month of November, we begin the time of the Church Year when we traditionally commemorate all those who have gone before us to the next life.  The great feasts of early November, All Saints Day on November 1st and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed on November 2nd, in a sense invite us to contemplate our own mortality… we naturally think of our own death (not just those who have gone before us) and the fact that we will not be in this present life forever. 

Because much is unknown about the life to come, it can be disconcerting or frightening for an individual to think about his or her own death.  So what can inform us, or guide us, as we celebrate these feasts of November and reflect on our own mortality?

Perhaps Pope Francis, in his weekly Audience in St. Peter’s Square on October 18th, was helping those present prepare for this annual time of contemplation in the Church Year.  Our Holy Father said this:

“We are all small and helpless before the mystery of death.  But what a grace we have if, in that moment, we keep the flame of faith in our hearts. 

I invite all of you now – perhaps closing your eyes – to think of your death; each of us to think of our own death.

Imagine that moment – that will indeed come – when Jesus will take us by the hand and will tell us ‘Come, come with me.  Get up.’

That is where our hope ends and reality, the reality of life, begins.

Think about this: Jesus himself will come to each one of us and take us by the hand… with his tenderness, his meekness, his love.

‘I am not death,’ Jesus says, ‘I am the resurrection of and the life!’

Do you believe this?  Do you really believe this?

All of us in the square: do we believe this?”      

All of us at St. Theresa: do we believe this? How can we not be comforted, how can we not be strengthened, by these thoughts of Pope Francis? Our God is victorious in all things… even over death itself!

 

 

With love and prayers,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

A reminder… This coming Wednesday, November 1st, is the Solemnity of All Saints, a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics in the United States. Masses for the Holy Day will be celebrated at 6:30 and 8:30AM as well as at 6:00PM.  Please note: there will be NO 10:00AM Mass: on an experimental basis on both November 1st and December 8th, the community of St. Theresa Catholic School will attend the 8:30 Holy Day Mass (their usual time for the weekly School Mass). This is a bit easier for students, teachers and parents – as the 8:30 Mass is part of “the routine” for the school. As a result, the 10AM Holy Day Mass during the school year will not be celebrated.   

 

Monday
Oct232017

Reflections - October 22, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

At the 4:00 Vigil Mass this past weekend, I happened to preach a homily on the Gospel parable’s theme of the wedding banquet given by the king for his son (Matthew 22:1-14).  Jesus, in teaching this parable, is making an allegory between the wedding banquet of the parable and the heavenly banquet that each of us is invited to join in our next life: that feast, referred to by the Prophet Isaiah in last Sunday’s reading – the feast of “juicy rich foods and pure choice wines,” at which God will destroy death forever (see Isaiah 25:6-10a).  I used an image of a wedding Mass that I had celebrated just a few hours earlier that day: a Mass at which there was palpable joy and enthusiasm from all the participants, attentiveness and – amazingly – no one left after receiving Holy Communion!  The Mass, as I noted, is a prefigurement of the Heavenly Banquet.  Every time we receive and are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion, every time we are praying in community and attentive to the Word of God – we are reminded of God’s incredible love, the salvation won for us and the “wedding feast” of heaven that we long for.

If this is the case, then… how can we possibly come to Mass apathetically, like we’re just “punching a spiritual timeclock” or “doing a duty?”  How can we come late to Mass and leave immediately after receiving Communion to beat the traffic out of the parking lot? How can we NOT go forth from Mass filled with joy and enthusiasm… if we believe that the salvation promised us is real?   

A surprising number of parishioners responded positively to this message… which led me to conclude that it was a message that could be worth sharing with our community at-large. 

It’s easy for any of us (even priests and other ministers) to fall into patterns of “being on autopilot” when we come to Mass.  Yes, it’s wonderful that we all make the effort to just show up… but when we think about the awesomeness of encountering our God in the God’s Word, the community gathered in faith and in the Body and Blood of Jesus; when we think of the fact that we are given a foretaste of the Heavenly Banquet, eternal life and the salvation that we have been promised as disciples of Jesus Christ.  With this in mind… how can we consistently come late to Mass or take off after Communion?  Why would we bring a great big cup of coffee into church (which tipped over under a pew and ran all the way down to the front of church at a morning Mass last Sunday)?  Do I have to show up for Mass Sunday after Sunday dressed like I’ve just come from the gym?  I can certainly understand emergencies that occasionally cause us to be late, or have to leave early, or glitches in schedule that prevent us from being able to dress and prepare ourselves to come to Mass… it’s much better to “come as you are” rather than stay away from church; but if these late arrivals, early departures, drinks in church (other than water for adults), etc. are part of our weekly routine when we attend Mass, respectfully I’d say that we have to take a look at these habits and ask ourselves “Am I really giving Mass what it deserves?”  “Am I giving God what God deserves, in return for the countless ways God touches me and sustains me with divine love?”

 

Blessings and joy in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor