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-Noon          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

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
Monday
Mar192018

Reflections - March 18, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

Many of you have heard me in the past speak of Lent as a spiritual “springtime” – a time for new life, new growth in our relationship with God and our relationships with our neighbor.  Indeed, the word “Lent” is derived from the old English word lencten, meaning springtime.

Those of us who enjoy gardening know that if we’re going to have a spring of new growth, part of what’s involved is taking the time to prepare the soil, perhaps fertilizing and composting so that the soil is as rich as possible to sustain what has been planted.

Very seldom (especially when our hands are in it!) do we pause to think about what exactly rich, fertile soil contains: waste and various forms of rotting organic matter. Lovely. But, while ironic that new and healthy growth springs up from waste and rot, there is a profound comparison with “what’s in the garden” with “what’s in our lives.”

So much of the new growth that we experience as human beings – growth in our relationships with God, neighbor and (yes) self – is rooted in the “waste” of our past: our struggles, our failures and our sins. If we allow God to do so, God uses exactly those past experiences that we might consider “waste” or “rot” to provide a rich and fertile soil for our own growth as Jesus’ disciples. A paraphrase of that wonderful passage from the eighth chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans comes to mind: God works all things together for the good of those who love God. All things – not just the noble, righteous and holy things, but also the failures, the sins, the struggles of our lives. If we let God do so, God can turn all of that into rich soil in which we can take root and grow strong in this Lenten springtime. This is how our all-merciful, all-loving, all-compassionate God works!

One of the ways that we Catholics are able to celebrate God’s mercy, compassion and ability to use our failures and sins to further our own growth is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Confessing our sinfulness and hearing – from another human being – the reassuring words of God’s forgiveness along with receiving the absolution of the Church as well as advice on how we can grow from past failures is a huge grace available to us in this Sacrament. And what better a time to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation than during Lent?

This Monday, March 19th, nine priests (all of whom are compassionate confessors) will be in church from 6:30 until 8:30PM for our annual Lenten Evening of Reconciliation. They will simply be there to hear confessions and minister the mercy of God. You may come anytime during those two hours to experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation with one of the confessors – and come to see how God can indeed work all things together for the good of those who love God!  Celebrating this Sacrament is an excellent way to embrace new growth during our “spiritual springtime.”

 

Grace and mercy in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Monday
Mar122018

Reflections - March 11, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

Do you have a special care or sensitivity to those outside the Catholic Church? Maybe you grew up in another Christian denomination, or perhaps you’re married to someone who’s not Catholic.  Maybe you’ve experienced the RCIA or preparation to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Maybe you have relatives who are members of non-Christian faiths or are active in Protestant churches.

Any of these circumstances of life can bring about a particular sensitivity in one’s life for maintaining good relationships with people of other faiths or denominations… as can a thirst to simply grow in respect and knowledge of how our neighbors, friends and co-workers believe and worship.

If you can relate to any of the above, maybe you’re a perfect candidate to become a Parish Ecumenical and Interreligious Representative (PEIR).  

Each pastor of our Diocese of Phoenix is encouraged to appoint a PEIR for his parish: one who will be a “point person” on behalf of the parish, pastor and staff in representing (in this case) the St. Theresa Community at Diocesan Ongoing Formation days (usually three or four Saturdays per year from 9:00AM until Noon). The PEIR also helps to facilitate the participation of the pastor, parish staff and fellow parishioners in ecumenical or interreligious events, prayer services and outreach. (The term “ecumenical” refers to the relationship of Catholics to members of other Christian denominations, e.g. Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, etc. – while the term “interreligious” refers to our relationship to people of non-Christian faiths: Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Bahai, etc.).

The PEIR helps us as a parish community to achieve more fully what the Second Vatican Council calls us to be, namely: to assist and support the Pastor in making the parish “the place of authentic ecumenical witness;” to foster a deeper ecumenical and interreligious awareness among parishioners; to encourage and facilitate parish participation in local ecumenical and interreligious activities; to represent the parish, when appropriate to local custom, with neighborhood ecumenical and interreligious organizations or ministerial associations; and finally to serve as a liaison between the parish, the Diocesan Director for Ecumenism and the Diocesan Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. While this might sound like a “fulltime job,” it’s nowhere near that.

If the potential of serving as the St. Theresa PEIR sounds intriguing, please bring it to prayer and contact me at the parish office (602.840.0850 or info@sttheresaphx.org). We can then simply set a time to meet to discuss the role more fully and to explore whether this is a role that you’d like to explore in service to our community.

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor  

 

The West Door… those of you who use the church’s west door have noticed that it is “dragging” on the outside walkway when opening it. This situation has become progressively worse in the past few weeks; it’s being caused by a root under the walkway that is pushing the concrete up and into the path of the door. We are in the process of arranging to have the offending root removed and the concrete slab replaced, hopefully before Holy Week. Meanwhile, thank you for your patience!  

 

Friday
Mar022018

Reflections - March 4, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

On this Third Sunday of Lent, at all Masses except the 9AM Mass at which the First Scrutiny is celebrated,* we hear the Gospel passage (John 2:13-25) describing Jesus’ “cleansing of the Temple:” the Lord throws over the tables of the merchants, vendors and money-changers and drives them all away from the Temple with a whip of cords. For those of us who grew up with a message of “it’s not nice to be angry,” or that anger is somehow “ungodly” or an unacceptable emotion… this scripture passage can come as something of a jolt.

It’s one of those rare incidents in the Gospel where we hear about Jesus’ anger.  He’s justifiably angry in that ordinary Temple pilgrims and worshippers were being taken advantage of. The Jewish tradition called for various forms of sacrifice (turtle doves, cattle, etc.) to be offered at the Temple in thanksgiving to God for blessings received.  It was also customary for those pilgrims and worshippers to make a monetary gift to the Temple treasury.  Since many of these faithful Jews had travelled some distance to the Temple, it was a convenience for them to acquire the animals for sacrifice or to change their foreign coins right there in the temple precincts. Hence, the presence of vendors and money changers on the Temple grounds. 

Now, while one could argue that the money-changing and provision of what needed for sacrifice would be a worth endeavor and a genuine service to the Temple visitors, this was complicated by the fact that many of the “businesspeople” were profiteering or gouging those who had come to the temple to pray and offer sacrifice. They were taking advantage of the visitors to make excess profits for themselves.

This is what roused Jesus’ anger – not so much that the vendors were providing a useful service to the worshippers, but that they were essentially defrauding them. Many of those who had travelled to the Temple weren’t at all wealthy, so the “gouging” inflicted by the merchants was all the more painful. 

The anger that Jesus displays is completely justified. He wasn’t just “peeved” because merchants’ tables were cluttering up the Temple precincts – he was deeply offended that these businesspeople were making excess profits at the expense of the people, many of whom could least afford it.

There are many layers of meaning in this Gospel passage, but one of which is that – by Jesus showing his justified anger when confronted by a situation where there is injustice, where people are being cheated and taken advantage of – the Lord “gives us permission” to stand up for the rights of others who are disadvantaged by the greed of others. As Jesus’ disciples, we are being reminded that “it’s okay to be appropriately angry” when we see injustice, when we are defending the defenseless or when we see someone profiting excessively at the expense of another. It’s okay to come to the defense of someone whose rights are being trampled. In doing so, we are only following the Lord’s example!

 

Peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor   

 

* On the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent at Masses celebrating the Rites of Scrutiny for the Elect (the catechumens preparing for Easter Baptism), the readings for Mass are always taken from Cycle A of the Lectionary.  Other Masses of the day use the readings of the lectionary cycle proper to that particular year – which is currently “Year (or Cycle) B.”

 

 

Thursday
Feb222018

Reflections - February 25, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

Those of you who had the opportunity to participate in our 6:30AM Mass this past Monday (or perhaps read or heard the daily Mass readings that day) were treated to a couple of scripture passages that – in my opinion – are absolutely focal for our Lenten journey of growth in discipleship.  Of course, this is a journey that doesn’t end on the evening of Holy Thursday as the Season of Lent concludes… but rather this journey continues until the moment we take our last breath!

The daily readings I’m speaking of were Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18 and the Gospel passage from Matthew 25:31-46.

In the Gospel, Jesus shares with his disciples a vision of the final judgment.  It’s quite a dramatic picture that the Lord paints… the Son of Man accompanied by all the angels, coming in glory at the end of time and taking his place on a royal throne with all the nations of the world assembled before him. The Lord then separates them into two groups, “like a shepherd separates sheep from goats.” At that point, the “final exam” begins… an exam far more important than any of us ever took in the course of our academic careers. Jesus essentially reviews those qualities required of those who will enter the kingdom of heaven. At no time does the Lord give any significance to one’s political affiliation, who an individual may have voted for president, how one participated in any “culture war” within society or the church, how much money one dropped in the collection, how “orthodox” or “holy” one appeared or how many novenas one prayed.  Rather, Jesus says to those on his right: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”  When questioned by those chosen “When did I do that?,” the Lord replies “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.” 

There it is. “The” final exam for entering the fullness of the reign of God, for “going to heaven.”  Those who passed the test, inherited the kingdom… while those who failed the test heard from the Lord “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels….” 

This is quite a sobering passage – a “wake-up call” for each of us as we pursue our growth in discipleship. God, speaking through Moses in the passage from Leviticus, tells the children of Israel what true holiness is… summarizing the description of holiness with the words “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  

It really couldn’t be more clear, could it? We are hearing from both the Old and the New Testaments what is required of us. Each of us would be well-advised to review and reflect on both of these scripture passages, cited above, as we enter this Second Week of Lent. 

 

Blessings and Lenten peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Friday
Feb162018

Reflections - February 18, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate the First Sunday of Lent, we hear a familiar call from Jesus in today’s Gospel:  “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:1-12).

Every year on the first Sunday of Lent, we hear a variation of this story of Jesus going into the desert for forty days… after which he issues the call to repentance and belief in the Gospel. 

We heard these words as we were signed with blessed ashes this past Wednesday: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” What can this really mean to us in 2018… particularly as we begin this Season of Lent?

The English word “repent” doesn’t ordinarily come up in social conversation… many people, I think, presume that “repent” pertains to those who are hell-bound through their sinfulness.  Sort of a “do-an-about-face-from-your current-way-of-life-or-else.” Actually, though, the word in the original Gospel text that’s translated into our language as “repent” is the Greek word μετάνοια (metanoia). There are a few things that significantly differentiate metanoia from our common understanding of “repent.”  First of all, metanoia is not a one-time thing… it’s an ongoing process that is lifelong.  Secondly, metanoia more literally means “a change of direction or course; a change of mind.”  

So, one can argue that what Jesus truly means by “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” is to be open to ongoing, lifelong changes of direction and changes of mind as we continue to deepen our belief in the Gospel. This makes sense: we evolve gradually in our understanding of – and belief in – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We evolve in putting the ways of Jesus into action in our lives as his disciples… and this ongoing conversion, ongoing growth – God willing – goes on ‘til we’re lowered into the grave. In essence, if we’re going to live as disciples of Jesus Christ, we must be open to constant course corrections, constant adjustments in our lives in order to remain “on track” as ones who believe in – and follow – the Gospel. New opportunities present themselves constantly in our lives… opportunities that call forth new responses from us. Do we simply say “I’ve always done it this way” and address the new situation or new opportunity in the “same old, same old” way – or does the new opportunity lead us to a response of applying a Gospel teaching in a fresh way?

It has been said that change is difficult – and so it can very well be. Some of us grew up in a Church that we were told was “never supposed to change,” but in reality the Church has made changes and course adjustments over and over again throughout our history of two millennia to address new situations in life from a Gospel perspective. This is what metanoia is… changing course to more fully live the Gospel life that we are called to live. This is our call this Lent and for the rest of our lives!

 

Lenten blessings and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor