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-Noon          Sunday 8:30AM-12:30PM

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

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 - February 11, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

This coming Wednesday, February 14th, is Ash Wednesday – the beginning of what the Church, in its prayer, refers to as “the holy and joyful Season of Lent.” Holy and joyful… this might stretch our childhood notions of Lent as a time of “giving up” things that we enjoyed… candy, movies, etc. But in reality, when we focus on a healthy approach to spiritual self-improvement through prayer, fasting and almsgiving (the traditional “big three” disciplines of Lent), we find that these 40 days can be a time of renewal and deepening of our discipleship – and therefore, ultimately very fulfilling. Taking a bit more time to focus on or relationship with God each day, cutting down on excesses and giving of ourselves for the benefit of those less fortunate is a wonderful annual exercise for us as we prepare to celebrate the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. To enter into Lent with a spirit of renewal and new growth is far more positive that to enter Lent exclusively focused on our particular shortcomings.

That being said, we receive the sign of blest ashes on our forehead on Ash Wednesday to signify our acceptance that we are far from perfect and that continuous change is needed in our lives in order to continue on the path of discipleship. We are constantly invited to turn from those behaviors that can distance us from God and from one another; Lent is a time to particularly focus on this life-changing growth.

Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation – but is a day when many Catholics like to begin their Lenten observance by receiving the Eucharist and the sign of ashes. Masses with the blessing and distribution of ashes are celebrated on Ash Wednesday at 6:30 and 8:30AM as well as at 6:00PM. The 8:30 morning Mass will include the students and teachers of St. Theresa Catholic School. Please note that ashes will only distributed within the context of Mass on Ash Wednesday (exceptions are made for the hospitalized and the homebound).

Over the lifetimes of many of us, there has been substantial change in the norms concerning fast and abstinence for Catholics. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the current norms/expectations are as follows:

“Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.

For members of the Latin (Roman) Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.”

“Abstinence” refers to the practice of refraining from eating meat (and yes, chicken is considered a meat). It’s worthwhile, too, to note that “Those that are excused from fast and abstinence outside the age limits include the physically or mentally ill including individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes.  Also excluded are pregnant or nursing women. In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting.”

As we enter into Lent 2018, may we open ourselves to being transformed by the Holy Spirit into more effective disciples of Jesus through our discipline of prayer, fasting and almsgiving!


In Christ’s peace, 

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




Reflections - February 4, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

It seems like we “just” concluded the Christmas Season… and now Lent is ten days away!  Ash Wednesday falls on February 14th this year (somewhat ironically, this is also Valentine’s Day… for those of you who might want to begin planning meatless romantic dinners…)

As we prepare to enter Lent 2018, we’re going to offer an exceptional prayer opportunity at St. Theresa next Saturday evening, February 10th.  We will host a Mercy Night beginning at 7:00PM and concluding at 9:00PM.  These “Mercy Nights,” sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit (who primarily provide ministry to the Native American reservations in our diocese as well as to the newly-formed Newman Center at Grand Canyon University) began being offered in various locations around the Diocese of Phoenix during Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy… but since “mercy” is not a quality of our Church to be confined to just one year, the Mercy Nights continue periodically.

“What is a Mercy Night?” you may ask.  The evening provides participants the experience of a variety of Catholic spiritual devotions and practices – including Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, praise and worship music (contemporary Christian music), time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and individual healing prayer for those who might want it… all centered around a theme of forgiveness and mercy.  Franciscan Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski will offer a reflection, our own Coordinator of Youth Evangelization, Mary Castner, will provide the praise and worship music for the evening, Franciscan priests as well as our parish priest will serve as confessors and trained prayer teams will offer the individual healing prayer (which is actually an ancient Christian tradition stretching back to biblical times).  We will also have a free-will offering/collection to support the ministry of the fledgling Newman Center at GCU.  The Mercy Night, then, brings together a wide spectrum of Catholic prayer and devotion from the traditional (Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction) to the charismatic/contemporary (praise & worship and healing prayer).  For those who are unfamiliar with these different prayer forms, the Mercy Night provides wonderful opportunity to observe and experience them – yet there is no pressure to participate in, for instance, being prayed over for healing if this is outside of one’s “comfort zone.”  

I hope that you’ll plan to join us next Saturday evening, February 10th, at 7PM for this Mercy Night.  It seems to me like a great way to “prime the pump,” so to speak, so that we can enter into Lent four days later with hearts open to God’s great mercy in our lives… and an openness to being vessels of mercy and forgiveness in the lives of others.

I might also add that the Saturday evening Mercy Night does not take the place of our annual Lenten Evening of Reconciliation, which is scheduled for Monday March 19th (the Monday prior to Palm Sunday).  At this time, nine priest-confessors have committed to be available in the church for the Sacrament of Reconciliation between 6:30 and 8:30PM on March 19th.  You may want to mark your calendar!


Grace, mercy and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer



Reflections - January 28, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today the Church throughout the United States begins the annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week – this year, CSW runs from January 28th through February 3rd and focuses on the theme “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Succeed.” 

Our parish is blest to have St. Theresa Catholic School as one of its ministries. Founded in 1957, just two years after the establishment of our parish and the dedication of our first church (now Fr. Feeney Hall), we are now in the sixty-first year of helping form students “spiritually, academically and socially to assume responsive and productive roles in society while living out the values of the Gospel” (from the STCS mission statement). Literally thousands of young people – from parish families as well as from both Catholic and non-Catholic families outside the parish area - have attended and graduated our parish school. Currently we have an enrollment of approximately 410 students in preschool, pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and grades one through eight. With a highly accomplished and certified faculty under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Dertinger, our Principal, our school continues to grow in excellence. In my opinion, our community of school families (parents and students) is second to none. 

As Dr. Dertinger spoke at Masses last weekend, he thanked parishioners of St. Theresa for the many ways by which you support our school. I add my thanks to his – without your prayers, generosity and participation in various events like the Fall Festival and Annual Auction, it wouldn’t be possible to give our students the experience of a Catholic school education. Of course, another way that parishioners can help support students of St. Theresa Catholic School – at no cost to themselves – is by taking advantage the Arizona Tuition Tax Credit; a dollar for dollar credit against your state income tax liability. Until April 15th, we have the ability to give up to $1,089 (or $2,177 for couples filing jointly) to a School Tuition Organization (STO)… and that dollar amount is deducted directly from what we owe in state income tax for 2017. Yes, there is the temporary sacrifice of writing a check or placing the dollar amount on a credit card – but the amount one owes for state income tax is reduced by that exact amount. And – the amount that you designate goes directly to assisting a student in a Catholic School by reducing his or her tuition, making Catholic schooling affordable to many families. Please consider designated St. Theresa Catholic School to receive your tuition tax credit scholarship (you can go to for further info about Catholic Education Arizona, a School Tuition Organization serving schools of the Diocese of Phoenix). If you happen to know a student at St. Theresa, you can also recommend that student receive your tax credit scholarship… but this direct recommendation option is only available through STOs other than Catholic Education Arizona. To learn more about how to recommend a specific student, Arizona Tuition Connection is an excellent resource (check out Either way, designating a portion of one’s income tax to help Catholic school students through the Arizona Tuition Tax Credit is ultimately cost-free for the taxpayer.        

As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, we thank God for the gift of Catholic schools in our country… and specifically, the gift of our own St. Theresa Catholic School. Thank you for your prayerful support of our parish school!


Grace and wisdom in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer



Tour our School!  St. Theresa Catholic School’s Open House is this Sunday from Noon until 2:00PM… stop by and learn more about what STCS offers. 



Reflections - January 21, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

Think of the last holiday dinner that you shared with family and friends… Thanksgiving or Christmas might come to mind. You may agree that these gatherings and meals are special events in the life of most families.

What was the entrée that you enjoyed at that meal? Turkey? Roast beef? Ham? Whatever it might have been – is there any one of us who could say that, as soon as we finished off the entrée, we jumped up from the table and bolted out the door… without even saying so much as a good bye to the others around the table? 

In that same context of a holiday dinner… did any of us arrive at the table after grace was said, while everyone else was enjoying the salad or first course? Probably not – unless there was some pretty serious reason that we were running late…

Two weeks ago, I stood in the ramada - as is my habit – to greet people following the 4:00PM Saturday Vigil Mass. I had arrived a little early (just as Communion was beginning) and thought I’d just wait and enjoy the music from within the church. As I waited, I saw that there were people who received communion and immediately exited the south doors of the church… not one or two, not a few, not several… but a total of 22 people! (of course, this doesn’t take into account those who “escaped” through the northeast and northwest church doors). Most of them leaving did not even look in my direction. My thoughts ran from a sense of disappointment to “REALLY??” If there was even half that number leaving early through the east and west doors (fortunately I wasn’t able to see), that would mean that there were close to 50 early departures. Wow. It then crossed my mind that those who left early did not only decline the final blessing of the Mass, but they missed (among other things) the announcement of last week’s special Mass schedule due to the running of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon.  

Why is this happening – not just at the 4:00PM Saturday Vigil Mass, but at other Masses as well?  Every weekend, at each of our Masses, there are “more than a few” people who arrive late for Mass and leave before the end of Mass. We wouldn’t do this at a holiday meal (or, in polite society, at any meal)… and to arrive late and leave early from, say, a movie would be a rare thing indeed. Yet it happens every weekend at Mass. 

Maybe it’s because the Church of years ago placed so much emphasis on the “obligation” of Catholics to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days – so much so that, for some, it became a matter of “punching a spiritual timeclock” each week… as long as one arrived before the Gospel and stayed long enough for Communion, one had done one’s “duty.”

That minimalist, duty-bound type of attitude not only diminishes who we are as the Body of Christ, it’s personally unfulfilling for the one caught into it. It seems to me that if we can look at Mass as a special meal (the most special of meals in which we receive Jesus), as the hour or so that we set aside each week to show our gratitude to God and fuel ourselves with grace and the support of the community for the coming week… we might find Mass to be quite fulfilling. Something that we’d naturally want to come on time for and not leave until we leave together!


Blessings and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




Reflections - January 14, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

First of all, a big thanks to all of you who normally attend Sunday Masses but have adapted on this “marathon weekend” to attend one of our two Saturday Vigil Masses or two Sunday afternoon Masses. We’ve discovered, after trying various options over the years, that – with all the various road closures in our surrounding neighborhoods – there really is no convenient way for parishioners to find their way to St. Theresa on the morning of the PF Chang Marathon… and then find their way home again. One year, we moved the 7:30AM Sunday Mass to 7:00AM… people didn’t have too much trouble coming to Mass, but getting home afterwards was a different story! Most encountered detours and traffic tie-ups that took them miles out of their way. So, the solution of “PM Masses only” on the weekend of the marathon (which has always coincided with the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend) seems to be the most workable for all concerned. Though I have to add that the quiet and stillness here on a Sunday morning is positively eerie for those of us who live on campus!

Today the Church celebrates the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Christmas Season officially ended this past Monday with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, after which (on Tuesday) we returned to Ordinary Time in our liturgical calendar. Green vestments are back… at least until we exit Ordinary Time and enter the Season of Lent on Ash Wednesday (this year, February 14th). Ordinary Time will then resume once again following Pentecost – the final day of the Easter Season – this year, May 20th

The designation of “Ordinary Time” can make parts of the Church Year seem downright humdrum or boring… but that’s not the idea of the Church’s usage of the word “ordinary.”  The great liturgical seasons of Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter focus Christians for multiple weeks on particular aspects of the Paschal Mystery that are central to our faith; the time of the Church Year outside those particular “focal seasons” is what we know as Ordinary Time.  Ordinary Time gives us a special opportunity to enter into the rhythm of Christ’s life and ministry as we hear it proclaimed in the Gospel; we hear readings from the Hebrew Scriptures and the various New Testament epistles that further illuminate our faith. The Church’s Universal Norms (§43) sums up the meaning of this time of our Church Year as follows: “Besides the times of the year that have their own distinctive character, there remains in the yearly cycle thirty-three or thirty-four weeks in which no particular aspect of the mystery of Christ is celebrated, but rather the mystery of Christ himself is honored in its fullness, especially on Sundays. This period is known as Ordinary Time.”   

In these coming weeks of Ordinary Time, we ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we continue to build our knowledge of – and intimacy with – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Blessings and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer