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 - 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




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




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



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