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
Tuesday
May162017

Reflections - May 14, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Lent as well as the secular celebration of Mother’s Day, we hear a wonderful Gospel passage taken from the section of John’s Gospel known as the Last Supper Discourses.  The scene of this conversation of Jesus with his disciples is at that meal that the Lord shared with his friends the night before he died; in the midst of his impending Passion, Jesus was instilling a sense of hope and strength in his disciples. Not only was he instilling that hope and strength, Jesus was calling it forth from the disciples – enabling them to draw on their inner fortitude in a time of stress and uncertainty.

In the very first verse of the Gospel (John 14:10), we hear the Lord challenging his disciples with the words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You have faith in God; have faith also in me.”  Think about that for a moment… “Do not let your hearts be troubled….”  Jesus is recognizing – and respecting – that fact that each of the disciples has been given the gift of free will; each disciple can either allow his heart to be “troubled,” or he can choose to not let his heart be troubled. The implication here is a powerful one: none of us has to be a victim of his or her emotions. We have a choice: we can either wallow in our personal loss or struggle, giving in to self-pity and a sense of defeat… or, we can choose another way. A way of strength, a way of victory: having faith in God and faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. When we open the door to that faith, then allowing that faith to well up from deep inside of us, our hearts are lightened and our confidence and hope is restored.

As I think of so many mothers I’ve known (including my own), I see a parallel between these words of Jesus and something very basic that a mother naturally imparts to her child: a sense of confidence, a sense of trust… teaching the child the meaning of faith and the ability to drawn his or her inner strength. In times of pain, in times of challenge, in times of uncertainty… is it not so often the role of the mother to say (perhaps not in these exact words): “do not let your heart be troubled; have faith in God and faith in me?” Is it not the special, nurturing role of the mother to instill in her son or daughter that sense of confidence and hope even when the going is rough? Even when it seems like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel?  Most mothers I’ve come to know (including my own) do exactly that! 

On this Fifth Sunday or Easter, we recall the challenging – yet comforting – words of Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper... words that gave them hope and enabled their confidence in a time of trial. On this Mother’s Day 2017, perhaps each of us can take a moment to recall a time when our own mother or grandmother helped us to set aside a troubled heart, enabling us to have faith in God and grow in confidence and strength.

How blest we are to know a mother’s love, a reflection of God’s love in our lives!

 

Peace and joy in the Risen Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor       

 

Tuesday
May092017

Reflections - May 7, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we continue to walk through the Fifty Days of Easter, “unpacking” and pondering the significance of Jesus’ victory over the darkness of sin and death, it’s appropriate that we give some further thought to that Gospel account we heard last weekend – a scripture passage that also serves as the Gospel for Masses celebrated on Easter Sunday afternoon or evening.  The Gospel (Luke 24: 13-35) is that marvelous account of events that unfolded late in the day on that very first Easter Sunday… as the disciples continued to come to grips with the death of Jesus on the cross three days earlier, and the somewhat dubious talk or an empty tomb that was beginning to circulate among some of the other disciples.

The words of the Gospel are descriptive and vivid: it’s not difficult to picture in our mind’s eye what takes place on that dusty road to Emmaus, a village seven miles away from Jerusalem.  Two downcast disciples of Jesus are trudging along on their way to Emmaus, discussing among themselves “all the things that had occurred” over the past few days.  Were they leaving Jerusalem out of fear?  Were they returning to their former way of life, now that Jesus was out of the picture?  Then, a mysterious stranger joins them on the road – curious to know about “all the things” that they were discussing.  One can imagine the disciples’ frame of mind as they were reviewing the memories of sharing a Passover meal with Jesus – at which he said some mysterious things about bread, wine, his body and blood.  Then there was his betrayal by one their own company, the garden of Gethsemane, the trial next day before Pilate, the scourging and crowning with thorns, the anger and scorn of the crowds to whom he ministered and preached, Jesus condemned to death and his being forced to carry his own cross to Golgotha.  Their teacher and mentor was then stripped, nailed to the wood of the cross and suffered the agonizing death of a criminal as all looked on.  His broken body was then brought down from the cross, wrapped in burial cloths and spices, laid in a tomb that was sealed and watched over by a Roman guard.  How dejected those disciples were, explaining “we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.”  And now, three days later, they were trying to make sense of the now-empty tomb. 

They finally reach their destination– after the stranger shares Scriptures with them; the disciples invite the stranger to eat with them… and their eyes are opened.  They recognize, in the breaking of the bread, that the “stranger” is the Risen Jesus!  They come to believe… suffering and death gives way to glorious and abundant new life!  

What difference does this story of the first Easter afternoon make for you and me?  This passage provides a template – not only for those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, but to each of us as disciples of Jesus – of how we can come to recognize Jesus in our lives, even in the darkest of times: through entering into the Scriptures with him and through the breaking of the bread (the Eucharist). We’ve all had those times when we may not “feel like” coming to Mass… but maybe those are the times when we most need to participate in Mass, hearing God’s Word and receiving the Body and Blood of the Risen Lord.  In that way, we can be drawn into closer relationship with Jesus and truly come to know his love in our lives… just as those disciples on the road so many years ago.

 

Easter joy and blessings,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor    

 

Tuesday
May022017

Reflections - April 30, 2017

He is Risen! Alleluia!

He is truly Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

I answered the phone yesterday with, “He is Risen! Alleluia!” expecting to hear the traditional  response of “He is truly Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!” Instead, a good friend responded, “How long does this Easter thing last?” My initial thought was that this friend went through 12 years of Catholic Education and then went to a very well-known Catholic university for his Undergraduate and Masters degrees. I wanted to blurt out “Really!” However, I had said in my Homily, on the Second Sunday of Easter, that my use of “really” was my modern way of responding to something with doubt and unbelief, much like the doubting response of Thomas in last weekend’s Gospel. I was going to attempt to have more faith and trust and refrain from using “really”.  I was going to trust more. So, I just replied, “50 days”. 

There are 50 Great Days of Easter! This is the  season to highlight Baptism, new beginnings and newness of life. Easter is a festival season of fifty days whose first day is Easter Day, the Sunday of the Resurrection The of the Lord, and whose last day is the Day of Pentecost. The period from Easter Sunday through the Second Sunday after Easter is an especially joyful time. The Catholic Church refers to these eight days as the Octave of Easter. Every day in the Octave of Easter is so important that it is treated as a continuation of Easter Sunday itself. But the Easter season doesn't end after the Octave of Easter: Because Easter is the most important feast in the Christian calendar—even more important than Christmas—the Easter season continues on for 50 days, through the Ascension of Our Lord to Pentecost Sunday, seven full weeks after Easter Sunday! The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead means that Christ has overcome death and in his victory, has opened to us everlasting life. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). The Lord’s new life in which we share is the message of this season. A message to be proclaimed with Alleluias for 50 days.

As the sacrament of new life, baptism is an Easter theme; as baptized Christians we take time during Easter to ponder the meaning of membership in Christ’s body, the church. We look at events in the church’s life, the sacraments, the accounts of resurrection and the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to discover their meaning and what they tell us about how we as a community are to live the life of the Risen Lord. 

Like the two who walked the Emmaus road with Jesus, we can know Christ in the sharing of the word and in the breaking of bread at the Eucharist. The Great Fifty Days of Easter are the time when those who have reaffirmed their baptismal vows or have been baptized at the Easter Vigil reflect on the meaning of their baptism. Through the lectionary texts they explore the “mysteries” of their faith. The early church called this period of the process mystagogia. Today the whole church enters into this period of uncovering anew the mysteries of faith expressed in sacrament, word, and life lived for others. Each time we celebrate the Holy Eucharist using the Eucharistic Prayer acclamation, we pray, “We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again”. Easily said,  but how does this play out in our daily lives? How is this Easter joy reflected in the way we live our lives, especially during the Great 50 days. 

Easter is pure gift, but it takes some discipline to live that gift. First we need to receive the gift, which requires more than restoring some Alleluias into our lives, or celebrating the return of baseball, and basking in the blossoms of Spring. We are given fifty days – which, tellingly, is longer than Lent – to allow the Easter gift to be absorbed into the depth of our souls. Absorbed deeply enough so we can get beyond merely proclaiming the words of Easter to be more completely transformed by the new life that Easter brings. It does indeed take practice. I perused the internet, read the current newspapers and latest magazines, went to the scriptures for ideas and concrete examples of how to do this. I came up with 12 ways that I thought could help me in continuing the Alleluias, 12 ways that could contribute in further conversion, 12 ways that might help me to be a better proclaimer of Easter joy. I could be a much better evangelizer. Some were just plain fun, some require some study or reflection, but all required action. I challenge all us of to continue proclaiming with our lives the fundamental yet awesome truth that He indeed has risen. So even after Easter Sunday has passed, and the Octave of Easter has passed, we keep on celebrating and wishing each other, friends,  and everyone we meet a Happy Easter! As St. John Chrysostom reminds us in his famous Easter homily, read in Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches on Easter, Christ has destroyed death, and now is the "feast of faith."

He is Risen! Alleluia! He is truly Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

~Fr. JC Ortiz

 

Tuesday
Apr252017

Reflections - April 23, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we move through the fifty days of the Easter Season, we have the opportunity to savor different facets of the incredible gift of love that God has given us in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus his Son.  On this Second Sunday of Easter (also known as Divine Mercy Sunday), we are invited to reflect on the merciful aspect of God’s love for us. 

As we celebrated the Year of Mercy as proclaimed by Pope Francis this past year, many of us came to appreciate more fully the role of God’s mercy on our lives – and how God calls each of us to be instruments of mercy in the lives of others.  We learned that mercy can be defined as “the form that love takes when it encounters misery.”  In our own lives, we have felt – and continue to feel – the healing touch of Christ, the Divine Physician in our moments of misery, those times when we are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or burdened by sadness.  When we allow it, when we open ourselves to it, the Lord will enter into those times of struggle in order to lift us up, strengthen us and heal us with his merciful love.  But that healing mercy isn’t given to us simply for our own benefit – it’s given to us so that we can in turn be merciful to others.  What a privilege this is: to be a vessel, a conduit of God’s mercy into the life of another person!  The Corporal Works of Mercy provide some examples of how we can “transmit” God’s mercy to others: when we feed the hungry, or give drink to the thirsty, or work to shelter the homeless, take time to visit the sick or the imprisoned, participate in burying the dead or give alms to the poor… we are able to make God’s mercy present to another in his or her misery.  Of course, we have to be careful to remain humble in showing mercy, which is always directed to the good of the one who is loved – true mercy never allows for condescension, or feeling some sort of superiority or pride on a spiritual or material level when we are able to help another. 

In his homily at St. Peter’s on Divine Mercy Sunday of 2016, Pope Francis pointed out the second-to-the-last verse of today’s Gospel (John 20:19-31): “Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.”  Our Holy Father went on to explain that we hold the Gospel to be God’s “book of mercy,” to be read and re-read, because everything that Jesus said and did is an expression of God’s mercy.  Not everything, however, was written down: the Gospel of mercy remains an open book, in which the signs of Christ’s disciples – concrete acts of love and the most effective witness to mercy – continue to be written.  Each of us, as a disciple of Jesus in our own day, is called to become a living writer of that “ongoing” or “open book” of the Gospel of mercy; we are heralds of the Good News of God’s love and mercy in Jesus Christ to all men and women of today.

What a privilege we have to receive God’s mercy – and what a joy we have in this Easter Season, being called to bring that merciful love of God to others!  

 

Blessings and peace in the Risen Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Wednesday
Apr122017

Reflections - April 16, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

“Christ the Lord is Risen!  Alleluia!”  That joyous and ancient Easter cry of the Church, echoing down through the centuries, signifies the victory of the Lord Jesus over the darkness of sin and death.  Death has no power over the Crucified One – and through him, sin and death have no power over us who believe.  This is the mystery of new life, the mystery of God’s unfathomable love for us that we celebrate at Easter.  How could God possibly care so much for us, that God’s own Son takes on human flesh – one like us in all things but sin – and then that Son, Jesus Christ, freely sacrifices himself for us on the cross, dying for our sins to save us, and then is raised to new life three days later by the Father?  How could this possibly happen? 

One could equally ask the question “how can this possibly not happen?” We are told (more than once) in scripture that “God is love” (e.g., see 1 John 4:8).  If the very essence of God is love, than  anything contrary to that would contradict who God is… and so, God cannot help but love – fully and unconditionally – because to do otherwise would be untrue to God’s nature.  And we all know that God is Truth itself.  Thus, the fact that God “so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16) should not be a big shock to us, as this is behavior consistent with a God who loves unreservedly and without limit… since that’s exactly “what God does.”

But even though these scriptures about our loving God are well-known, they present an incredibly difficult concept for us to get our minds around.  “How can God love me – after all the sinful things I’ve done?” we might ask.  “No, this idea of an unconditionally loving God is too good to be true.”  But it is true!  

In a certain sense, God’s unconditional love for you and me is almost more difficult to accept than the Resurrection of Christ from death!  Jesus being raised from the tomb is but one sign – indeed, the ultimate sign – of God’s compassionate, merciful drive to love us. 

Throughout his four years of ministry as our Holy Father, Pope Francis has – over and over again – stressed the theme of God’s loving mercy and readiness to forgive, telling us that “The Lord never tires of forgiving us, never!  We are the ones who get tired of asking forgiveness.  Let us ask for the grace to never tire of asking forgiveness, because He never tires of forgiving us.”  The Holy Father, after making the above remark on God’s ever-present willingness to forgive, then speculated: “Have you thought about the patience that God has with each of us?  God's face is that of a merciful father who is always patient…”  Seems that God’s “patience” may be directed to those of us who might doubt God’s unconditional love or untiring forgiveness... and yet, as we celebrate Easter, God is saying to us “Believe me – trust in me and my love for you.  The sign of my unconditional love for you is the death and resurrection of my Son Jesus – which opens for you the path to new life!”

What an incredible gift; the gracious gift of God’s own boundless love and forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!  May we truly accept this gift, be grateful for it (and all of the gifts that God gives us)… and then be signs of God’s love in the world through our own goodness and tenderness as disciples of the Risen One.

 

Easter peace and joy,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor