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
Apr092018

Reflections - April 8, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter today, we celebrate the day that Pope St. John Paul II officially designated as our Church’s annual “Sunday of Divine Mercy.” The theme of God’s incredible mercy is dear to the heart of our Holy Father Pope Francis as well – recall the Jubilee Holy Year of Mercy that he proclaimed for our Church just a couple of years into his own papacy. 

It’s no accident that this Sunday was chosen as a focal point of Divine Mercy; a focus recognized in the Church as early as the fourth century. After basking in the almost-intoxicating glory of the resurrection for the first several days of Easter (known as the Octave of Easter), we hear readings in today’s liturgy that begin to open up for us the “difference that the resurrection of Jesus makes for us” as his disciples. In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (4:32-35), we hear how “the community of believers was of one heart and mind…” owning everything in common, caring for others (particularly the poor) such that “there was no needy person among them.” Those first believers were, in a very real way, a community of mercy: moved by the spirit of the Risen Lord to be disciples of compassion – unafraid to make real the love of God in their day-to-day lives.    

Nothing less than God’s unfathomable mercy is at work here, in the lives of those first century disciples. On Divine Mercy Sunday, this passage from Acts – and the powerful description in our Gospel (John 20:19-31) of Jesus’ post-resurrectional appearance in the upper room to the cowering, frightened disciples bringing them peace, deeper faith and the ability to forgive sins though the power of the Holy Spirit – vividly demonstrates God’s love and mercy at work from the first days of the Church. All is made new for Thomas and the other disciples; Thomas has come to believe and the others who had once cowered in the upper room have become powerful instruments of evangelization – spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Those first disciples and the early Christian community described in Acts were recipients of divine mercy – and as a result of their openness to this expression of God’s love, their lives were transformed. In turn, their preaching transformed the lives of those who made up the early Christian community described in the Acts of the Apostles. Today as we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, we too are invited to have that same openness – and to be transformed by God’s boundless love. Each of us, like all Christians who have come before us, struggle with sin, with brokenness, with weakness of faith. We experience Divine mercy when God’s love meets us and helps us in the midst of our suffering and sin, empowering us to become instruments of mercy in the lives of others.

St. Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), a Polish nun who was canonized by Pope John Paul II as the “Apostle of Divine Mercy,” spread the message of Divine Mercy in a whole new way in the twentieth century as a result of mystical visions she had in which the Lord appeared to her (a rendering of the image that St. Faustina described to an artist hangs in our church next to the tabernacle). Divine Mercy devotions and prayers flowed from St. Faustina’s experiences and writings. To learn more about these, you may want to go to www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/mercy/ where you’ll find a history and overview of Catholic practices centering on God’s merciful love… a reality for us not just today as we celebrate the Sunday of Divine Mercy, but every day! 

 

Grace, mercy and Easter peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Wednesday
Mar282018

Reflections - April 1, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

I confess to you that this is my favorite time of year: Holy Week and Easter.  This Solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection, Easter Sunday, is the pinnacle of our faith – and also the height of all our hope as disciples of Jesus.  The days leading up to Easter that we have celebrated in this past week (Palm Sunday of the Lords’ Passion, Holy Thursday, Good Friday) and indeed the entire forty days of Lent lead us through darkness to light, guilt to forgiveness, death to new life – all of which culminate in the Gospel story that we hear today of the discovery of the empty tomb (John 20:1-9).  The immensity of this hope, this victory and new life won for us in Jesus Christ is impossible for us to pack into one Sunday’s worth of Easter celebration – and so we have Fifty Days of Easter, from now until Pentecost (May 20th this year) to drink deeply of God’s mercy and love as we contemplate the impact in our lives of Jesus’ rising from the tomb.

All around us, nature echoes the joy of Easter – new leaves cover the trees that were bare several weeks ago, flowers are blooming, we’re surrounded by the song of birds.  Then, as we partake of the Easter brunches or meals with family and friends, the chocolate bunnies and the jellybeans… and perhaps we’ll even have the chance to witness the joy of a children’s Easter Egg hunt… it’s hard not to feel the overwhelmingly positive, optimistic nature of our Easter celebration.

Being caught up in this optimism, this joy of Easter is – for many of us – not hard to experience on Easter Sunday and perhaps even for the fifty days of the Easter Season (sometimes referred to as “the Great Easter”). But where will we be six months from now?  Where will our level of joy and optimism be on, say, October 1st

We can certainly choose to allow ourselves slide back into the ordinariness of a “post Easter existence” – distracted by the pressures and demands of or day-to-day routine, maybe even becoming pessimistic or cynical in the exercise of that routine – or we can choose to take a different path.  We can choose to live as “Easter people” – people of hope, people of compassion, people of new life – year ‘round.  We can choose to allow Christ’s resurrection, the promise of God’s saving love for us, to truly make a difference in our lives for more than one day or even fifty days. 

Yes, making the choice to live in the joy of Easter 365 days a year takes some effort, it takes some planning.  It involves regular prayer; calling to mind that the Risen Christ is with us at every step of our life’s journey.  It involves a willingness to reach out and ask His help when times are stressful or challenging.  It involves a concerted effort on our part to continue living consciously as Christ’s disciples: treating others as we ourselves wish to be treated, reaching out in compassion to those around us as we would to Jesus himself (see Matthew 25:34-40).

Can we live the joy of Easter throughout the year?  The choice is up to you and me.  Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

 

Grace and peace in the Risen Lord,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

 

 

Tuesday
Mar272018

Reflections - March 25, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today, with the celebration of Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, we enter the most solemn and beautiful time of our Church Year: Holy Week.  Some of you have heard me mention in the past that a seminary professor of mine referred to this week as “the Church’s Annual Retreat” – and for good reason.  In the course of this next week, we re-visit and experience anew the mysteries which form the very core of our Catholic Christian Faith.  In the words of the Roman Missal used at the beginning of our Mass today, we are reminded that “since the beginning of Lent we have prepared our hearts by penance and charitable works.  Today we gather to herald with the whole Church the beginning of the celebration of the Lord’s paschal mystery, that is to say, of his Passion and Resurrection.  For it was to accomplish this mystery that he entered his own city of Jerusalem.  Therefore, with all faith and devotion, let us… (follow) his footsteps, so that – being made by his grace partakers of the Cross, we may have a share also in his Resurrection and in his life.”

“Let us follow his footsteps!”  What a marvelous invitation the Church gives us to enter fully into the rites of these coming days, up to and including our Easter celebration of the Lord’s victory over sin and death.  Holy Week is indeed our Annual Retreat as Catholic Christians, that time when we can allow ourselves to be renewed by the profound gift of God’s love made real for us in the gift of his Son – given to us for our salvation and eternal life.

If you have never had the opportunity to do so, this might be the year to make a commitment to attend the Liturgy of the Paschal Triduum on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, all beginning at 7:30PM.  These three services are actually one continuous Liturgical celebration, beginning with Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper, continuing with Good Friday’s Celebration of the Passion of the Lord and culminating with Holy Saturday’s Easter Vigil.  In a real way, the Triduum (pronounced trih-doo-um”) enables us to walk in the footsteps of Christ, though the principal mysteries of his life-giving passion, death and resurrection.  Holy Thursday’s 7:30PM celebration begins with the welcoming of the Holy Oils blest at the Chrism Mass by Bishop Olmsted (these oils will be used sacramentally throughout the coming year) then moves on to a two-fold focus: first, on Jesus’ mandate to his disciples to “serve one another as I have served you,” as ritualized by the Washing of the Feet and second, on the institution of the Eucharist.  Both of these events, as recorded in the Gospel, took place at the Last Supper prior to Jesus’ betrayal by Judas.  After Communion, the Holy Eucharist is transferred by procession to Fr. Feeney Hall for a period of quiet adoration and prayer – commemorating Jesus’ vigil of prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.  On Good Friday at 7:30PM, the celebration begins by recognizing our need to surrender ourselves to total dependence on God (as symbolized by the prostration of the clergy before the altar).  We hear the proclamation of the Passion of the Lord according to John, we pray extended intercessions for the needs of our world, we venerate the wood of the cross (recognizing the cross as the instrument of our salvation) and we receive Holy Communion before leaving the church in silence.  [Additionally on Good Friday, the Stations of the Cross are prayed in church at Noon followed by quiet meditation until 3:00PM].  Then on Holy Saturday, we gather again at 7:30PM for the Easter Vigil: listening to the Hebrew Scriptures that foretold our salvation on Christ, lighting the Easter Fire, listening to the chanted Easter Proclamation, hearing the Gospel of the Resurrection, experiencing the baptism and confirmation of the Elect, renewing the vows of our own Baptism and celebrating the Eucharist at the first Mass of Easter. 

These three services of the Paschal Triduum constitute the high point of our Church’s liturgical life, summarizing the great mysteries that make us who we are as a People of Faith.  I hope that you can plan to join in these celebrations!

Easter Sunday Masses are scheduled for 6:00AM (“Sunrise Mass” in the School Courtyard), 7:30, 9:00 (Children’s Liturgy), 9:15 (in the School Courtyard) and 11:00AM.  Please note that there is no evening Mass on Easter Sunday; also those who attend the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening are not obligated to attend another Mass on Easter Sunday.  Weather permitting, additional parking will be available in the school field on Easter Sunday – please be sure to give yourself a little extra time and be particularly welcoming as we expect lots of friends and visitors on Easter morning! 

Finally, because the Triduum is of such importance, we do not celebrate any other Masses on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday – nor will there be Confessions offered on Holy Saturday.

May God bless us and guide us as begin our “Annual Retreat!”

 

Grace, mercy and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

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!