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
Jan082018

Reflections - January 7, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – traditionally, the “twelfth day of Christmas,” it’s that feast of the Christmas season with the odd-sounding Greek name in which we commemorate the visitation of the Magi to the Newborn King. Epiphany is derived from the Greek word meaning “manifestation;” today’s celebration focuses on Christ being manifested, or revealed, as Savior of all nations. 

This feast tells us a lot about our God and that his Son is a gift to all people, not just the Chosen People, the Jews. The significance of the Magi (Latin for “the wise ones”) coming from – and returning to – “the East” is that they were Gentiles – pagans, non-Jews.  And at the time of Christ’s birth, it was understood that the Messiah was only coming into the world to save the Jews. The Magi, however, made a journey into unfamiliar territory to bring their gifts to the newborn king – and they went home with a gift beyond all telling: the good news that the Savior was born. A Savior for all nations, all people.

In our Gospel story (Matthew 2:1-12), we hear how the Magi brought special, unusual gifts as they made the journey to Bethlehem… gifts that were very particular and very well chosen: gold, frankincense and myrrh. There was nothing random about these gifts; each gift was given with a specific intent and for a special purpose. Each gift symbolized some characteristic of Jesus and what was to be his significance for the world.

Gold is the gift for a King. But no ordinary King: Jesus was to reign not by force, but by love. He was to rule over the hearts of men and women, not from a throne, but from a cross. Frankincense is the gift for a Priest. The sweet perfume of burning frankincense filled the Temple as the priests worshipped. The function of a priest in Jesus’ time (and God willing, in our own time!) is to open up the path between God and human beings, to be a “bridge builder” between God and ourselves. Jesus did exactly this in a way that no one else could. Myrrh is the gift for the One who is to die. Myrrh was used in the preparation of bodies for burial. Jesus, the God-Man; the only Son of God, was to die as all humans do – but he was not going to “stay dead.” He was to open for us the door to eternal life through his own victory over death after three days in the tomb.

The symbol-laden story of the Magi, and their gifts, is a meaningful one for us to ponder during the Christmas Season. Jesus Christ is given to all people of our world as their Savior. He is King of Love, Bridge between God and humanity, conqueror of death and Gate to eternal life. How blest are we that Christ is revealed to us! How blest are we to believe that he is Lord!  

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Tuesday
Jan022018

Reflections - December 31, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As you came into church this weekend, some might have been mildly surprised to see that all the Christmas decorations were still in place and at Mass, Christmas music was still being sung… and the prayers of the liturgy continue to rejoice in the Christmas mystery of God becoming human in Jesus Christ. In contrast, businesses and many homes have unplugged the lights and boxed up the decorations as the radio stations have returned to their regular “non-holiday” broadcast programming for the next eleven months or so. 

The Church, however, continues to celebrate Christmas – for us Roman Catholics, the “Christmas Season” began with the close of Advent on Christmas Eve and concludes with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, this year celebrated on January 8th. This obviously highlights a disparity between the calendar of our culture (that begins to celebrate “the holiday season” – including Christmas – sometime just after Halloween all the way up to December 26th, when life returns to normal as if nothing happened) and Church calendar that gives Advent its due place as a time to help us prepare to celebrate Christ’s coming into the world with the celebration of Christmas that begins on December 24th and then continues through the Baptism of the Lord. There is some “method to the madness” of how the Church celebrates Christmas – after a few weeks of preparation (Advent), we now have the chance to contemplate various aspects of the wonder of the incarnation as we make our way through the Season of Christmas.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph… one significant facet of the mystery of God entering human life as one like us in all things but sin. We reflect on how incredible it is that the Creator of the Universe, our Omnipotent God without beginning or end, freely (and humbly) choses to become human – as an infant, born into an ordinary human family… subject to the guidance and discipline of Mary and Joseph and the everyday rules of family life. When I allow myself to really think about this, it’s mind-boggling! How incredible that our God would do such a thing; all for love of you and me. And this is just the beginning of a life – as Jesus Christ – that is filled with humble self-emptying, service, sacrifice and ultimately death on a cross… all to prove the unfathomable love that God has for you, for me. It’s no wonder that the Church invites us to “take our time” in contemplating the mystery of the Word-made-flesh, the Incarnation, that we celebrate throughout the Christmas Season.

Another very significant day of the Christmas Season that we celebrate is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God on January 1st. Typically this Solemnity – the Octave, or eight day of Christmas – is a holy day of obligation for Catholics… this year, however, because the Solemnity falls on a Monday, it is not an obligatory holy day. Even though it is not a holy day of obligation this year, to honor and celebrate the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God we will celebrate one Mass as a faith community at 9:00AM this Monday, January 1st. This will be the only Mass of January 1st; no 6:30AM Mass will celebrated on Monday (you may recognize this as the schedule that we follow for Thanksgiving Day).

May God continue to reveal to us the mysteries of God’s love as we “celebrate our way” through this Christmas Season and into the New Year of 2018!

 

Christmas blessings and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Tuesday
Jan022018

Reflections - Christmas 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate the Nativity of the Lord – Christmas – we celebrate the moment in history that is theologically known as the Incarnation: that moment in time when God “took on human flesh” (in the words of the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel, “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” [John 1:14]). How could God more fully love humankind than to become one like us, in all things but sin? Fully God, fully human… born of a virgin, laid in a manger… to experience the joys and sorrows of human life while revealing God’s wondrous love in his ministry, Jesus Christ then shows the ultimate sign of God’s love for you and me by embracing death on a cross to save us from sin – only to be raised up on the third day, so as to lead us through death to new life in him. By actually becoming one of us, God in a real way divinizes humanity – bringing human beings (and human life) to a whole new level of dignity. Even in the midst of our struggles, our sinfulness and brokenness, nothing can eradicate that dignity… as St. Paul says so well: “nothing can separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

As we rejoice in the amazing gift of the Incarnation, it is a joy to present you the gift of Perfectly Yourself: Nine Lessons for Enduring Happiness.  In this short book by renowned Catholic author Matthew Kelly, we can gain insights on finding the balance between accepting ourselves for who we are and challenging ourselves to become all that we are capable of being. It’s a book for all of us who long to be at peace with who we are, where we are and what we are doing… not just in the future, but here and now. My hope is that this book can help remind us of our extraordinary dignity and goodness that has been affirmed by the gift of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

 

Christmas blessings, peace and hope,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor 

 

Welcome…

Whether you are a parishioner who regularly supports us by your presence in our community, an occasional visitor, someone returning to the Church after a time away or a newcomer… you are welcome today and always at St. Theresa Parish. We hope that you’ll consider St. Theresa to be your spiritual home! For more information about our parish, check out our website at www.sttheresaphx.org or call the Parish Office at 602.840.0850. Those interested in St. Theresa Catholic School (preschool through Grade 8) can go to www.stcs.us or phone 602.840.0010.

 

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

 

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