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
Tuesday
Jan022018

Reflections - December 24, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

This Fourth Sunday of Advent virtually concludes the Advent Season for us in 2017, as it happens to fall on December 24th this year. We find ourselves concluding the Advent Season and celebrating Christmas Eve beginning Sunday afternoon due to this quirk of the calendar.

So, it might be good – in these final hours of Advent prior to entering the Christmas Season – to ask ourselves if we’ve been able to take advantage of this abbreviated (three week-long rather than four week-long) Advent Season this year. Have I been able to “do anything differently” in these past three weeks in order to help me prepare for the second coming of the Lord in glory at the end of time… even as I get ready to celebrate his coming in history at Christmas? Have these past few weeks been any less hectic – and perhaps more reflective – than they have been in past years? Or, have I allowed myself to get caught up in the usual season frenzy of shopping, decorating, card-mailing, etc. without carving time out of my schedule to simply “be” in joyful expectation for the coming of the Lord in my life?

In no way do I propose these questions to send any of us on a guilt trip… my own answers to the above questions are a bit of a mixed bag! Rather, I propose them so each of us can give some thought to (a) the meaning of Advent as a season that helps focus us on the task of staying alert and being prepared for the coming of the Lord into our lives; and (b) the fact that this alertness and preparation for the Lord’s return in glory needn’t be confined to the annual observance of the Advent Season. Indeed, this “joyful expectation for the coming of the Lord” is something that each of us – as disciples of Jesus Christ – are invited to keep on our minds throughout the entire year. We can continue to ask ourselves, throughout the upcoming Christmas Season and beyond, “How can I live my life in such a way so as to be fearlessly prepared to greet the Lord when he comes again?”

Perhaps this is as simple as doing my best each day to imitate the example of Mary in today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38), opening myself to hearing and responding affirmatively to God’s will in my life. This could mean to be a bit more patient and understanding with those individuals who have a way of “pushing my buttons,” or spending a few minutes of quiet thankful prayer in the course of the day, or deciding not to postpone some act of kindness I’ve been “meaning to do.” There are so many ways that we can continue – with the help of God’s grace and the strength of the Holy Spirit – to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord… not only in Advent, but throughout the year! Grace and peace in Christ… who was, who is and who is to come!

 

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Please Note:

Christmas Masses at St. Theresa are celebrated…

On Christmas Eve at 4:00, 4:15 (in Fr. Feeney Hall, our original church building), 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00PM. The 4:00 & 4:15 Masses are oriented to children; the 10:00AM is the Christmas Mass During the Night (traditionally known as “Midnight Mass”);

On Christmas Day at 8:00 and 10:00AM.

 

January 1st - the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God – is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation this year, since it falls on a Monday. Nonetheless, many of us enjoy beginning the New Year celebrating the Eucharist and asking God’s blessings, through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, on the year ahead of us. So, as we do on Thanksgiving, we will celebrate one Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God (Monday January 1st) at 9:00AM. All are welcome!       

 

Thursday
Dec142017

Reflections - December 17, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

This Third Sunday of Advent was known for hundreds of years in the Church as “Gaudete Sunday” – gaudete is the Latin word for “rejoice” – a title taken from the Latin Introit verse (Philippians 4:4-5) of today’s Mass which reads, in English: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.” This theme of rejoicing is carried out visibly in our celebration of the Mass: the rose-colored candle on the Advent wreath is lit on this Third Sunday of Advent and the priest is permitted to wear rose-colored vestments… all of which helps set a tone of joyful expectation for the Lord’s Second Coming and prepares us to begin the second phase of Advent, where we ready ourselves to joyfully celebrate the first coming of Christ at Christmas.

This year, the calendar in a sense deprives us of the opportunity to fully enjoy the Christmas-centered Advent preparations that begin on December 17th – because this year, the Fourth Sunday (and indeed the Fourth Week of Advent) is only a few hours long! That’s because the Fourth Sunday of Advent falls on December 24th in 2017, which also happens to be Christmas Eve. So, admittedly, the schedule for next weekend is going to give all of us pause for thought. In a nutshell, we will be celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Advent on Saturday at 4PM (the usual Vigil Mass time) and then Sunday morning at 7:30 and 9:00AM ONLY. There will be no 11:00AM Mass next Sunday, and the usual 5PM Sunday evening Mass will drop from the schedule in favor of our five Christmas Eve Masses being celebrated at 4:00, 4:15 (in Father Feeney Hall), 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00PM. On Monday, Christmas Day, Masses will be celebrated at 8:00 and 10:00AM.

Anytime there is a liturgical overlap of this sort of a Sunday with Christmas Eve, the inevitable question arises: “Can I go to a Christmas Eve Mass – which takes place on a Sunday – and fulfill my obligation for both Sunday Mass and Christmas Mass all at once?”  Well, no.  The Church asks us to participate in a Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Advent as well as to participate in a Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord: Christmas. The reason is, quite simply, these are two very distinct – and important – celebrations… and worth our while to celebrate individually so that we can have the advantage of entering into all four Sundays of Advent, leading us up to the celebration of God’s entry into the world’s history in human flesh that we celebrate at Christmas.

We continue to “stay awake” and prepare, to await in joyful expectation the coming of Christ into our lives at the end of time… while we also prepare to celebrate Christ’s first coming into the world in the manger of Bethlehem, two thousand years ago. What a wonderful time this is to rejoice and drink deeply of God’s love for each of us!

 

Advent joy and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Thursday
Dec072017

Reflections - December 10, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent, a familiar figure appears in our Gospel (Mark 1: 1-18) – John the Baptist, who is considered a prophet who bridges the Old and New Testaments. In many ways, he’s an odd character – dressed in camel hair and eating a high protein, low carb diet of locusts and wild honey. The focus of John’s ministry, as we hear in today’s scriptures, is to echo the message of Isaiah the Prophet: “In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Is. 40: 3-5). In ancient times when a dignitary or ruler would visit a city, the townspeople would fix the roads to make the royal person’s entry smooth… so the people of Isaiah’s and John’s time understood that they were being called to the work of preparing the way of the Lord – not physical roadwork with shovels and stones, but rather in a metaphorical way: they were being called to look into their hearts and minds and “make smooth” their way of life in preparation for the (first) coming of the Messiah into the world.

Centuries later, we hear the same message.  Only this time, the challenge comes to us to prepare for the second coming of Christ – his coming at the end of time, a time that no one can predict. No less than the people at the time of Isaiah or John the Baptist, we too have “roadwork” to accomplish… so that we can be truly prepared to fearlessly and joyfully meet the Lord when he comes.

So, this Advent time gives us a wonderful opportunity to ask ourselves “what valleys and empty spaces in my life need to be filled in? What mountains or obstacles to God need to be levelled? What rough edges need to be smoothed?”

Perhaps, at first glance, it doesn’t seem like I’m in need of major roadwork (at least not like we’re all experiencing along Thomas Road these days!). But each of us might then want to take a second look, to delve a bit deeper into our Advent reflection. Maybe I’m too complacent when it comes to responding to the cynicism and disrespect so present in our world. Perhaps I’ve become aware of a smugness that sets me apart from others, or preoccupation about my wants during this shopping season, or a negativity and lack of gratitude for God’s many blessings in my life. 

Advent is a perfect time to start to fill the potholes and straighten the kinks in our lives… so that we can truly make this a season of “joyful expectation for the coming of the Lord!”     

 

Advent blessings,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Another voice: thoughts from one of the students of our parish school… for your inspiration!

St. Theresa School Mass is such a meaningful and important part of my life and my Catholic education. Every week I take a positive message with me after Mass that always lasts. I know my friends and so many other students feel the same way. I think it’s valuable for our parishioners to know how the school carries on the religious traditions of weekend Mass. The school Mass before Thanksgiving break is one of my favorite Masses because it reminds us of all the things we can give thanks to God for. The homily for this Mass was especially meaningful because Fr. JC asked us to kneel and pray for what we were thankful for. As a school community we all prayed together. When I prayed I felt the spirituality around me and I really focused on what I was thankful for in my heart. Throughout my Thanksgiving break I remembered thoughts and feelings I had during this prayerful time.

                                       ~A Junior High Student of St. Theresa Catholic School 

 

Friday
Dec012017

Reflections - December 3, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

We celebrate the beginning of a new Liturgical Year this weekend as we observe the First Sunday of Advent. As with the January 1st start of the secular year, we can look at our new Church year as a time for freshness and new beginnings.

Such freshness and progress in the area of our faith and morals is frankly unexpected.  We often look at such teaching as being “as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.”  Twenty-five years ago, Pope St. John Paul II promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church – a volume of 2865 “paragraphs” or entries summarizing the faith of our Catholic Christianity, based on Scripture and two millennia of Church Tradition.  It was not by accident that John Paul II chose the thirtieth anniversary of the October 11, 1962 opening of the Second Vatican Council by Pope St. John XXIII as the “release date” for the Catechism.

Very much in the spirit of Vatican II, as he presented the Catechism in 1992, John Paul II said that “it should take into account the doctrinal statements which down through the centuries the Holy Spirit has intimated to his Church” and “it should also help to illumine with the light of faith the new situations and problems which had not yet emerged in the past.” In other words, the Catechism was seen from its very inception not as monolithic and changeless but as an evolving document in the way that it presents the truths of our faith. 

One such area of evolution has been in the Church’s teaching on the use of the death penalty in modern societies. In 1992, when John Paul II released the Catechism, paragraph 2226 still admitted the use of the death penalty. Five years later, Pope John Paul II (with the assistance of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Benedict XVI) issued a revision (§2267) substantially restricting the use of the death penalty: it said that, given the possibilities the modern state has of rendering the criminal incapable of doing harm again, “the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” The Second Edition of the Catechism containing this revision was then released in 1997... affirming the Catechism as a living, evolving document. 

This past October 11th – in a statement commemorating the 25th anniversary of the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church – our Holy Father Pope Francis declared to a gathering of cardinals, bishops, clergy, religious and members of the diplomatic corps from many countries that the death penalty “is contrary to the Gospel.” He said that “however grave the crime that may be committed, the death penalty is inadmissible because it attacks the inviolability and the dignity of the person.” Francis explained, “Here we are not in the presence of any contradiction with past teaching, because the dignity of human life from the first instant of conception to natural death has always found in the church it coherent and authoritative voice.” Thus, the Holy Father has taken a greater step than any of his predecessors by declaring publicly on a solemn occasion, directly related to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that the death penalty is “contrary to the Gospel” and “inadmissible,” making clear that the Catechism must address the question in a more complete way.

There can now be no doubt that we are a pro-life Church, a Church that reverences the gift of human life “from the womb to the tomb”… a pro-life ethic that is a “seamless garment,” using the terminology of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin (the late Archbishop of Chicago). We believe that all life is sacred: only God has the power to give it or to take it away. And now the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis, has affirmed that fact for all Catholics.

How blest we are to receive this guidance as we begin a new Year of Grace in our Church!

 

In Christ’s peace and hope,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Monday
Nov272017

Reflections - November 26, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate the final Sunday of our Church year, we have the third set of Sunday readings in as many weeks that deal with the topic of the end times: the fact that, as Christians, we believe that this life (and the world as we know it) will come to an end and a new life will begin when Christ returns in glory at a time that none of us can predict. These apocalyptic (end time) readings can seem terrifying for some, but to those who do their level best to live as Christ’s disciples, these scriptures are actually quite reassuring and motivating.

On this Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we are given a “snapshot” of the final judgement in our Gospel reading (Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus describes to his disciples what it will be like “when the son of Man comes in his glory” at the end of time: accompanied by all the angels, “he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him….”  The visual imagery of this Gospel passage is magnificent!   

Jesus goes on to describe what can be described as the “litmus test” for being admitted to God’s heavenly reign, the banquet of eternal life – what we most often refer to as heaven.  What’s required of those who will hear those words “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” has absolutely nothing to do with how popular we are in this life, or how much money we make, what political party or clubs we belong to or how much social status or power we have. It doesn’t even have to do with how many hours we spend in church, or how vocal we are about our faith, or how vehemently we adhere to the details of Catholic doctrine. 

Whether or not we inherit that kingdom prepared for us from the beginning of the world directly depends on how we relate to those around us – how we treat others. Jesus says to the righteous, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”  When questioned, Jesus goes on to assure them: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.” 

There it is. The ultimate litmus test, the goal of every disciple: to treat others as if they were Christ himself. How do we even begin to do this, as humanly frail and broken as we are?  How can we do this, when it’s so easy to become short-tempered and preoccupied with self? 

I think that we can only hope to achieve this way of life when we remember that we can’t possibly do it on our own. We have to continually open ourselves to God’s grace and mercy, asking the Holy Spirit to guide us – and trusting in that guidance – at the very moments we struggle in treating the other as Christ.  When we’re able to do this, we’re strengthened as we deepen our intimacy with God… we grow in our ability to love God and to love our neighbor as self. We increase the chances of hearing those wonderful words at the end of time: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.”

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor