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-Noon

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
Monday
Jun262017

Reflections - June 18, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Each year – immediately after concluding the Fifty Days of Easter with the great celebration of Pentecost – our Church marks two Solemnities on successive Sundays that direct our attention to central mysteries of our Catholic Christian faith.  Last weekend, we celebrated the Solemnity of the most Holy Trinity… and this weekend, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  By calling these two feasts “solemnities,” the Church designates the highest level of feast day to them… and fittingly so, because both our belief in the One God who is Three Persons (the Trinity) and our belief in – and devotion to – the Body and Blood of Christ (the Eucharist) are absolutely vital to faith life.

As we celebrate today’s Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (formerly known by its Latin designation, Corpus Christi), we recall the fact that Jesus – at the Last Supper –   gave the Church his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under the appearance of bread and wine to be our real and physical nourishment as his disciples.  While it might be more “comfortable” for us to regard the Eucharist as some sort of “symbol” or representation of what took place at the Last Supper, scripture makes it clear that that the Eucharist is not merely symbolic or an acting-out of what happened on that night before Jesus died on the cross.  No, the body and Blood of Christ is exactly what Jesus says it is.

The sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John is an absolute goldmine for anyone who wishes to reflect on the true Christian meaning of the Eucharist.  The section of John’s Gospel known as the “Bread of Life Discourse” begins at John 6, verse 22 and ends at verse 59.  The Gospel of today’s Mass (Jn. 6: 51-58) is an excerpt of that Discourse of Jesus.  We hear Jesus saying something incredible – literally, unbelievable – to his listeners: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven… the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  Those who heard this quarreled among themselves, saying “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (they thought that Jesus was talking about cannibalism).  So Jesus goes on to make it crystal-clear to them: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you… for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”

This is not simply “Catholic doctrine.”  These words come directly out of the Bible – and provide us with a central pillar of our faith.  Yes, Jesus nourishes his disciples with the Word of God – but equally importantly, Jesus nourishes us with his very self: his Body and Blood (as he says in the Gospel), under the appearance of bread and wine in the Eucharist.  How does this take place? The Church has come to describe what happens to the bread and wine at Mass as “transubstantiation:” the substance of the bread and wine (what it actually is) is changed through God’s power into the actual, true and real Body and Blood of Christ… while the appearance of the bread and wine (what it looks like and tastes like) remain unchanged. 

What an amazing God we have – that God gives us himself to eat as the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist… nourishing us, strengthening us, sustaining us to be the Body of Christ, the Church, in our world… as faith-filled disciples of Jesus Christ. How blest we are!

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Monday
Jun122017

Reflections - June 11, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

The Most Holy Trinity.  One God, comprised of Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  In the words of the Preface of the Holy Trinity in the Second Edition of the Roman Missal, “You, Father, have revealed your glory as the glory also of your Son and of the Holy Spirit: three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.”

Ever since my ordination as a priest, those words – from the prayer of our Church – have given me fruitful contemplation about the nature of our God.  No matter how much one contemplates, though, the idea of “the one being three and the three being one” is impossible to completely grasp through human logic.  The Trinity is essentially a mystery that will not become clear to us until we reach the Kingdom of God.

Even though Christians have, for two thousand years, acknowledged the Trinity as a mystery of faith… it hasn’t stopped us from at least trying to understand something about the Triune nature of our one God – who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Different analogies have been employed to help us understand – for instance, the three-leafed shamrock was reputedly employed by St. Patrick to help him explain the idea of a God who is One yet at the same time Three.

Probably the most helpful “explanation” of the Trinity I’ve ever heard was one that drew upon the Greek theatre of pre-Christian times.  An actor in Greek drama would often use masks in his portrayal of a character – and a particularly skilled actor, by using different masks, could appear and re-appear in several different roles during the course of a single drama, thus preventing the audience from identifying the actor to one specific character.  Effectively, the mask transformed the actor as much as the memorization of lines. These masks were called “persona” (πρόσωπον); they would convey to the audience the personality traits of particular character being portrayed – for example, a king, soldier, wise old man, young girl, etc.  Yet, it was the same actor behind the mask. 

So, like a single actor of ancient Greece would covey different personality traits or character identities to the audience through the use of “persona,” so the One True God in an analogous way manifests Godself to us in three different Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  One God, three “identities” so to speak.  Three ways of our God revealing Godself to us… as Father/Creator, Son/Redeemer and Holy Spirit/Sanctifier. 

What an amazing God we have: God so desires relationship and intimacy with us that God comes to us in/as three distinct Persons – in order to show us the fullness of God’s love and to invite us to reciprocate by loving God in return.  This is what we celebrate today!

 

Blessings and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Monday
Jun052017

Reflections - June 4, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Fiftieth Day of Easter and conclusion of the Easter Season. This is the day on which the Church commemorates the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, upon the first disciples… and upon you and me, as Jesus’ present-day disciples.

We are given different insights about the Holy Spirit in today’s scriptures. In the Acts of the Apostles (which has been the source of our first reading throughout the Easter Season) we hear how the Holy Spirit was manifested in a strong wind and tongues of fire – both of which are signs of God’s presence throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. According to Acts 2:1-11, the disciples were “filled with the Holy Spirit” and enabled to speak “of the mighty acts of God” in various languages to the various people who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish feast of Pentecost (the fiftieth day after Passover). The disciples were thus empowered by the Holy Spirit to go forth and preach the Gospel to all nations.

In our second reading (1 Cor. 12:3b-7; 12-13), St. Paul reminds the people of Corinth that “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” and that “there are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit… to each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” Paul goes on to present his well-known analogy of the body: Christ is the head of the body; we all comprise various parts of the body fulfilling specific roles and functions for the good of the whole. Paul offers the Church timeless advice: each one of us is given specific and unique gifts by the Holy Spirit, building us as a Church into the Body of Christ and reminding us that – as a result of this unity in diversity – there really is no need for envy of another’s gifts or destructive competitiveness that can only weaken the Body.

Finally, our Gospel reading (John 20:19-23) relates the beautiful origin of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: how Jesus came into the Upper Room “on the evening of that first day of the week,” proclaiming peace to a group of frightened disciples and then breathing on them (reminiscent of the breath of God bringing life in the Creation story) and saying “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

On this Solemnity of Pentecost 2017, we can truly rejoice in the many gifts and blessings bestowed on us in and through the Holy Spirit – the Spirit first given to us in our Baptism and then strengthened within us at Confirmation – the Spirit who enables us to glorify God the Father by living as joyful disciples of Jesus Christ, using our gifts willing and lavishly in the service of all.

 

In the joy and light of the Holy Spirit,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Monday
Jun052017

Reflections - May 28, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today we – along with most communities in the American West – celebrate the Solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension instead of the Seventh Sunday of Easter (in some parts of the world, the Ascension was celebrated this past Thursday as a Holy Day of Obligation).  One of the primary reasons that this Solemnity is transferred to a Sunday is so that a greater number of people (those of us who are “regulars” at Sunday Mass) can participate in celebrating this major feast of the Easter Season.

Why is the Ascension a significant feast for us to celebrate?  As we have seen during the Easter Season, Jesus returned his disciples following his death and resurrection.  In each of his post-resurrectional appearances, the Risen Christ reassured his disciples that he was indeed alive, he brought them both peace and confidence, and he continued to mentor them in various ways so that they could be ready to receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost – which would continue God’s abiding presence in their lives.  First, though, Jesus had to ascend to the Father so that the Holy Spirit could be poured out upon the disciples.  As we hear in today’s Gospel (Matthew 28: 16-20), Jesus first commissions the disciples to carry on in his name, saying to them “Go forth 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.”  Essentially, Jesus was “turning over the reins” of the Church to his disciples – he was passing on the torch to them… and ultimately to you and me – so that the Gospel message of God’s redemptive love could continue to be spread to all people.   But – as we heard in last week’s Gospel – the Risen Lord was not going to leave his disciples “orphaned;” rather he planned to go to the Father and send forth another Advocate to his followers: the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, who continue to make God’s presence and grace alive as the disciples undertook their mission.

In a sense, the Ascension event functions as “commencement exercises” for the disciples: like graduation ceremony, they are found ready to be sent forth to new adventures in the world after having been taught and mentored to be messengers of Jesus Christ.   The disciples have reached a new level of maturity and commitment; they will now begin building the Christian community under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What a great legacy we have, stretching back to those first days of the Christian Faith.  We too are sent forth in the name of Jesus – as his present day disciples – to evangelize, to spread the Good News of the Gospel in word and deed.  But (as we will celebrate next week at Pentecost, the Fiftieth Day of Easter) you and I can be confident that, as we respond to our call to evangelize and bear witness to our faith in our daily lives, we do so in and through the power of the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts.

 

Easter peace and joy,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

Tuesday
May232017

Reflections - May 21, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Although we continue to celebrate the Fifty Days of Easter, our Gospel reading for this Sixth Sunday of Easter places us back once again at the Last Supper… and Jesus’ farewell discourse to his disciples.  Previously, Jesus had washed the feet of his friends – modeling for them the humble, selfless love that he then called them to imitate.  He emphasized that to follow this command of love is the surest sign of true discipleship.  Jesus then speaks of his coming departure from this world, but assures his disciples of his presence that will continue with them – in a new and different way.  That’s where today’s Gospel (John 14:15-21) picks up.

Returning to the One who sent him, Jesus tells those at the Last Supper that he will ask the Father to send “another Advocate to be with you always.”  The original text uses the word parakletos, a Greek word literally meaning “one who stands beside,” for the word that is rendered “Advocate” in our scripture translation.  Jesus reference to “another Advocate” – or “Paraclete” as it is sometimes translated – implies that he himself has been the disciples’ first Advocate, the one “standing beside them” to reveal in his own humanity the Father’s character and will.

Jesus is preparing the disciples’ minds and hearts to eventually come to understand that, after his death and resurrection, he will no longer be at his followers’ side in tangible and visible flesh, but rather will be with them (and with you and me, his present-day disciples) in the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.  It is through this powerful, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that those who believe in Jesus will share in divine life.  As believers, as disciples of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit, we are swept up into the unity that characterizes relationship of Jesus and Father (“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you”).  In one sense, it’s a bit mind-boggling… but what this section of John’s Gospel underscores is the unique unity of Jesus with God the Father, a oneness now available to believers through Jesus.  And, as the words of our Gospel indicate, the power uniting believers, Jesus and the Father is love: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.  And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

In light of Jesus example and command of love at the Last Supper, you and I – as disciples of Jesus – are being called to continually imitate and pour out the love of Jesus to and for others, through our service (“washing of others’ feet”), our acts of mercy, our forgiveness and patience with our brothers and sisters.  As daunting as this call can be, we must never forget that Jesus has sent to us one to “stand beside” us – dwelling within us – to empower us and unite us with God: the Holy Spirit – our Advocate, our Paraclete.              

 

Grace and peace in the Risen Lord,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor