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-12noon         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

Priest in Residence

Rev. Kevin Grimditch

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 - September 10, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

In today’s Gospel (Matthew 18:15-20), we have a notable passage in which Jesus gives us sound advice on how to conduct what is sometimes referred to as “fraternal correction” – in other words, how we can best let another person know that he or she has offended us, and attempt to resolve that conflict in a spirit of Christian charity.

I find this to be incredibly timely advice in these times when nasty tweets, hostile and vitriolic barbs on the internet and polarization between individuals and groups seems to have a normative way of dealing with conflict in our society.  I think that each one of us in this faith community would agree that violence in speech or in action is rarely – if ever – an effective way of righting an injustice or settling a conflict.

Jesus offers his disciples a practical and respectful four-step process in which an individual can escalate attempts to resolve a conflict. 

First, the Lord says to go directly to the person who has offended you, but “keep it between you and him/her alone.”  What common sense!  Instead of spreading word of the conflict far and wide, or tweeting out some nasty barb – talk privately, one-on-one to the person with whom you have the conflict and seek to resolve the issue.  Word to the wise: don’t do this immediately after the incident causing offense, when tempers may still be hot.  Invoke the “24 hour rule” – let some time pass so that cooler heads can prevail, then be sure you don’t “ambush” the other person (e.g., when there are others in the vicinity) but arrange to meet privately and calmly.  In my experience, nine times out of ten, this solves the issue – which could well be caused by some sort of misunderstanding rather than malicious intent on the part of the other person.  Second step, in case “step one” fails (but only after trying “step one”): bring another person whom you trust (and who hopefully can be unbiased) to facilitate the discussion with the other and to help keep it calm.  If “step two” fails, Jesus says - as the third step – “tell the church.”  This doesn’t mean putting an article in the bulletin or on the parish website!  It means prayerful and calmly bring the matter to a group of fellow-disciples whom you trust (or, for instance, to a parish staff person) to seek counsel and advice on what could be done.  Last but not least, if all three steps get nowhere in resolving the conflict and bringing about reconciliation, Jesus says to then treat the other person “as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.”  Does that mean its then time to bare the fangs and destroy the other person’s reputation?  No – how did Jesus treat Gentiles and tax collectors?  With compassion, prayer and respect – recognizing that such treatment might eventually win the other person over… and that sometimes there’s a great wisdom in “agreeing to disagree.”  Besides, prayer is a great way for any of us to deal with anger – simply because it’s very difficult to hold anger and resentment toward a person for whom you are praying!  And why carry that anger and resentment around?  It doesn’t hurt or retaliate against the other person, it only makes the angry person’s life miserable! 

Sound, practical advice for any of us who has ever been hurt or offended by another person… and I suspect that means each and every one of us!   


Blessings and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




Reflections - September 3, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate this Labor Day Weekend (the final three-day holiday weekend of the summer), we should give some thought to something more than just kicking back and relaxing.

As many are aware, this American holiday has its roots in the organized labor and workers’ rights movements of the late-19th century.  The first “Labor Day” was celebrated on Tuesday September 5, 1882 in New York City – it was a celebration of a workingmen’s holiday, organized by the Central Labor Union.  Slowly but surely, the idea of this holiday began to spread from union to union, city to city, gaining momentum.  In 1884, the first Monday of September was selected as the day to celebrate Labor Day – and on June 28, 1894, the U.S. Congress passed an act designating Labor Day as a legal holiday each year.  In cities and towns nationwide, Labor Day soon featured a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.

Now over 120 years later, we are still celebrating this holiday.  Yet, with labor unions and parades less prevalent on the national stage than they were in past decades, what’s an appropriate way to celebrate Labor Day in 2017?  Can this holiday have any connection to our discipleship, to our lives as Catholic Christians?  I believe so.

First, I think that our Labor Day observances must include a sense of profound gratitude for the American worker – the man or woman in the factory, in civil service, on the farm, in construction or the trades, in transportation, the service industry, etc. – who has made our country strong, who maintains its infrastructures and makes all of our lives manageable.  As we spend a little time relaxing this weekend, whether around a barbecue, a pool, or on a quick trip out of town… let’s thank God for the gift of work and ask God’s blessings on those who do all sorts of work. 

Perhaps we should also deepen our awareness of issues that challenge many people who truly want to work and those who find work – but face a growing uncertainty about the availability of health care benefits, the minimum wage and the fact that they might join so many Americans who fall into the category of “the working poor.”  As Catholics, we must be concerned about justice issues in our society – and as Americans, we are given the opportunity to bring our Christian social justice consciousness to the voting booths.  For well over a century, our Church has involved itself in challenging business, industry and other employers to treat workers with justice.  Pope Leo XII issued the encyclical Rerum Novarum “On the Condition of Workers” in 1891… more recently John Paul II, in the encyclicals Laborem Exercens and Centesimus Annus spoke eloquently on the dignity of human work and the Church’s role in promoting the well-being of the worker.  There is no separation between Church and State when it comes to issues of the sanctity of human life, human justice and dignity.  Further, Pope Paul VI reminded us: “If you want peace, work for justice.”  I do not know of a single person who does not long for peace in our world!

May each one of us enjoy his or her Labor Day holiday – but let’s not forget the origins of this holiday, or the challenges that those origins (and well over a century’s worth of Church teaching) continue to present to us as Catholics who live in the richest nation on earth.


In Christ’s peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer



Reflections - August 27, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Maybe you have been (or will be) in the position of requesting a visit from a priest to minister the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to you or to someone you love who is hospitalized or homebound.  We are here to serve, and in time of need the priests of St. Theresa want to be as responsive as possible – but there are some standard Diocesan protocols that merit review periodically, so as to avoid frustration and potential disillusionment among members of our community at emotionally highly-charged time the life of a family.

Some good things to keep in mind:

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a healing and forgiving sacrament (i.e., an outward sign manifested by Christ to give grace).  The grace of the sacrament can come by way of inward healing of the person receiving it (e.g., a spiritual strengthening to face the illness or to prepare for one’s ultimate journey to the Lord at the end of this life).  Physical healings can also occur, but this is rare.

If at all possible, it’s best to receive this Sacrament while conscious and aware.  In other words, try not to delay until “the very last minute.”  Also, sacraments are for the living – once death has occurred, a blessing of the body may take place but not the Sacrament.

We offer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at the Saturday 8AM Mass on the first Saturday of the month and by appointment.  The appointment can be after a Sunday Mass in the church sacristy, in the parish office, at the home or hospital room of the recipient.  Again, the sooner you let the Parish Office know of the need for someone to receive the Sacrament, the better – just call Maureen Schaaf, our Pastoral Care Coordinator, at 602.840.0850 x 113 to set a time for an appointment or home visit for Anointing.  Remember that – if you’re scheduled for surgery or a significant medical procedure, we are happy to provide the Anointing of the Sick prior to hospitalization.  All you have to do is call to arrange a time.

In critical need (i.e., when someone is in danger of death), parishes of our Diocese work in the same way as the first responders of the fire or police departments: in other words, the closest parish to the hospital or care facility is the one responsible for responding to the call and dispatching a priest for the Sacrament of Anointing (just as the closest fire station or police precinct responds to calls within its appointed area).  This way, the priest can come as quickly as possible.  St. Theresa priests will respond to the care facilities, hospices or homes within our parish boundaries (the area roughly encompassed by 40th Street to the west, 64th Street to the east, McDowell Road to the south and the crest of Camelback Mountain to the north).  If there is a need for a priest after hours to provide anointing to any Catholic within our parish boundaries, call the main parish number at 602.840.0850 and when you hear the recorded message, press “0” and an operator at our answering service will assist you by paging the priest on call.  If the person is outside the parish boundaries and in need of emergency anointing, the hospital or care facility will know the how to get in touch with the priest-chaplain or closest parish responsible for the facility.  

In a non-critical situation, of course a St. Theresa priest will be happy to visit a hospital or other care facility outside the parish boundaries when that visit can be scheduled at a mutually-convenient time.  Just speak to Maureen in the parish’s Pastoral Care office to arrange the best time for a visit.

I hope that this information is helpful, and can clarify any question that you or a family member may have about reception of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick!  If you have any further questions, feel free to speak to Maureen or one of the priests.


Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




Reflections - August 20, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Last week, it was my pleasure to introduce to you – via this column – our new Principal of St. Theresa Catholic School, Dr. Thomas Dertinger.

Today, I have another introduction… José Reyes has joined our Parish Staff as Coordinator of Evangelization. Some of you have already met José, as he has been present for a number of parish and school events since beginning his ministry at the beginning of this month.

José’s presence on our staff is quite a gift to us, in more ways than one. Among other things, he decided to set aside a year to focus on ministry as a part of his ongoing discernment of a potential vocation to the priesthood. His ministry this year is his gift to the Church; the parish is providing room and board in the rectory for José and is covering his medical insurance costs – but otherwise he is taking no salary, volunteering this time of service to our parish community.

José has practiced as a civil engineer since graduating from Arizona State University in 2012. As an engineer, he spent a majority of his time constructing and maintaining dams around the Flagstaff and Phoenix areas. During the middle of his engineering career, José became a FOCUS missionary (college campus minister) in the bible belt of Oklahoma where Catholics only represented 4% of the religious population.

During the time he spent with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), José formed students to become spiritual leaders in their academic, social and physical lives. José led more than 150 men from all walks of life in small group bible studies and was blessed to train more than 25 men in one-on-one discipleship programs that provided them with tools to lead their own bible studies and form their own disciples (the normal protocol of FOCUS is to have men working with male students, women with female students). Foreign mission trips quickly became a special focus for José, as he had dedicated his life to Jesus Christ in college during a FOCUS mission trip in Togo, Africa. On these mission trips, José had the opportunity to bring men and women to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

After his service with FOCUS, José returned to Phoenix (his hometown) as an engineer. I had the privilege of coming to know José while serving as his confessor; after 2 years, it was clear to José that his heart was calling him to come back into a life of full-time ministry... with an openness to the possibility of eventually becoming a priest. José hopes to bring his experiences as a FOCUS alumnus to St. Theresa Parish and School in order to “form disciples to form disciples” in our own back yard. 

Plans are coming together for José to offer the men and women of our community various discipleship formation opportunities and groups, to potentially begin a men’s ministry, to offer adult spiritual and faith formation options, activities for young adults and young Catholic professionals, as well as working on outreach and evangelization opportunities in conjunction with Fr. JC and other staff members. Stay tuned for further news about what’s in store for the coming year! I know that you’ll help José feel welcome in the St. Theresa Community.


Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




Reflections - August 13, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

It’s hard to believe that summer is over (at least for those of us who are tuned into the academic year!) and that a new school year is underway here at St. Theresa!  New and returning students began their classes at our parish school this past week, our school families are coming to know one another and once again we are with a highly-qualified and wonderful faculty at St. Theresa Catholic School.

Particularly exciting is the fact that we are blest with a new Principal, Dr. Thomas Dertinger, who joined our staff in June and has been hard at work – along with faculty and parent volunteers – laying the foundation for an exciting and successful school year for our students.

Dr. Dertinger comes to us having served for the past 13 years as Principal of St. Mary's Catholic School in Richmond, Virginia. He and his wife Barbara relocated to Arizona in May to be closer to their daughter who recently moved to the Valley. 

Dr. Dertinger has a deep and clear commitment to Catholic education as well as parish life - understanding that a Catholic school is at its best when all school activities are integrated into Catholic identity.  He views instructional leadership as creating an environment in which teachers are supported and motivated to convey information and an enthusiasm for learning that is passed on to students; in the environment of the Catholic school, teachers are asked to focus on Gospel values while maintaining academic rigor in the classroom. 

In addition to holding a Doctorate in Education (focusing on Curriculum, Instruction and Supervision) from the State University of New York, Dr. Dertinger holds a Master of Science degree (also from SUNY) and a Master of Business Administration granted by the University of Richmond (Virginia). He's certified as a K-12 School Superintendent and K-8 Principal for the State of Virginia as well as a certification in 9-12 Mathematics for the State of New York. His parish involvements include serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, as a member of the Parish Baptism Team and as a facilitator for the Virtus Child Abuse Awareness Program (the Diocese of Richmond's version of our Safe Environment Training Program). He is credentialed as a catechist as prescribed by the Handing on the Faith program of the Diocese of Richmond.

The consensus of the Interview Team (hiring committee comprised of a cross section of parishioners, staff, involved school parents and a representative of the Diocesan Catholic Schools Office) was that Dr. Dertinger is an "excellent fit" to serve as our Principal; already he is feeling at home in his ministry as Principal with us and is working to establish effective communication and positive relationships at St. Theresa Parish and School.

As we begin the 2017-18 school year at St. Theresa, please continue to pray that all faculty and staff members of our parish school – as well as the catechists who pass on the faith to our young people who attend public, private and public charter schools – allow the Holy Spirit to form them as instruments of God’s love and witnesses of Christ’s Gospel in the lives of the children of our community.


Blessings and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer