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-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

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
Wednesday
Jul122017

Reflections - July 2, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate Independence Day this week, we can – as always – take some time to reflect on the abundant blessings that we enjoy as Americans.  We are free to worship, free to speak out, free to associate with those whom we please… so many of us have countless material goods at our disposal, the foods we like, shelter that cools us in the desert heat, the ability to travel for vacation. The list of blessings for the majority of us is literally endless.  God is so good to give us a wonderful land in which to live! 

Yet with abundance comes responsibility. As Jesus reminds us: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Luke 12:48).  Of all the gifts that have been entrusted to us, few are as great as the environment in which we live.  God has created beauty and purpose everywhere we look… from “sea to shining sea” in these United States of America.  And this is only one nation in the whole world that God has fashioned for us.  Yet we can take the created world, the environment, so much for granted.

Perhaps, as we celebrate our nation’s independence this July Fourth, we can set aside a little time to give thanks to God for the beauty and abundance of this world that God has entrusted to us.  Whether we spend the Fourth here in the desert, or in the mountains, or at the shore… we can ask God to give us the grace to be good stewards of the creation with which he has gifted us.  We can ask God for the strength to care for our world… as we give thanks to God for all the beauty and bounty that is given to us by our loving Creator.

 God of love, show us our place

in this world

as channels of your love

for all the creatures of this earth.

 

God of mercy, may we receive

your forgiveness

 

and convey your mercy

throughout our common home.

 

Praise be to you!
Amen.

-From Pope Francis’ World Day of Prayer

            for the Care of Creation, Sept. 1, 2016

 

 

In Christ’s peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Monday
Jun262017

Reflections - June 25, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Recently, I had an experience that completely shattered all my “expectations” (in a most positive way).  It all began a few months ago, when a two of our recent St. Theresa Catholic School alumni, Katie Coury and Gregory Abbott, approached me – armed with a PowerPoint presentation – to make a request: that they be allowed to gather a group of fellow STCS alumni together to stage a summer production of Les Misérables to benefit Catholic education (the beneficiaries being our own school and the University of Notre Dame’s ACE Program, which prepares teachers for the vocation of serving Catholic schools in underprivileged areas).  Katie and Gregory (then-sophomores at Xavier and Brophy College Preps, respectively) quite honestly stunned me with their altruistic, community-building and yes – ambitious – plan.  How could I say no?  Katie and Gregory, who had both been involved in student theatre as STCS students, had reached out to our other alumni who had been involved in our school’s spring musicals of the past – and had already enlisted the support of Mr. Terry Temple, founder of Temple Music and Performing Arts, who has directed past St. Theresa musicals and who privately instructs a number of our students in music and the performing arts.  The work began… Terry, his wife Ginny and their college-age daughter Emily along with 33 cast members and stage crew and “techies” embarked on a mad-dash effort to pull together a complicated Broadway hit in 13 weeks’ time.

Along the way, a 34th member was added to the cast when Katie and Gregory came to me and asked if I would play the role of “the Bishop” in the play.  Since Fr. JC had played “the Wizard” in our spring musical The Wizard of Oz, my response was “sure… why not?”

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Yes, there was a lot of hard work (I think that the younger brain is far more adept than the older brain is when it comes to memorizing lines, cues and music) – but what was truly unexpected was the sense of awe on my part as I became part of this team of young people, bonding together to tell a story of mercy, redemption and God’s love overcoming anger, bitterness and strife.  It was honestly one of the most powerful and joyful experiences of my time as Pastor of St. Theresa.  There were moments when tears welled up in my eyes as I witnessed young actors passionately sing lines like “to love another person is to see the face of God” and an overarching sense of gratitude and pride in these young people whom I have the privilege to serve as priest and Pastor.  Of course, none of the cast could have been involved without the support of their loving families who did so much to “make it all happen” though their encouragement of the young performers, a lot of behind-the-scenes efforts as well as underwriting a significant amount of production expense.

Following “closing night” last Saturday, I was humbled by the talents of so many who had given of their time to make possible an incredible experience to benefit Catholic education. I “had a blast” being part of Les Misérables, feeling the teamwork and bond of being part of something magical, and confess that I felt a sense of letdown once it was all over!

Special thanks to the parishioners and friends who attended one of the three performances in our Msgr. McMahon Center – your affirmation of the efforts of our young performers and your support of the Church in its timeless role as Patron of the Arts is greatly appreciated.

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Monday
Jun262017

Reflections - June 18, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Each year – immediately after concluding the Fifty Days of Easter with the great celebration of Pentecost – our Church marks two Solemnities on successive Sundays that direct our attention to central mysteries of our Catholic Christian faith.  Last weekend, we celebrated the Solemnity of the most Holy Trinity… and this weekend, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  By calling these two feasts “solemnities,” the Church designates the highest level of feast day to them… and fittingly so, because both our belief in the One God who is Three Persons (the Trinity) and our belief in – and devotion to – the Body and Blood of Christ (the Eucharist) are absolutely vital to faith life.

As we celebrate today’s Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (formerly known by its Latin designation, Corpus Christi), we recall the fact that Jesus – at the Last Supper –   gave the Church his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under the appearance of bread and wine to be our real and physical nourishment as his disciples.  While it might be more “comfortable” for us to regard the Eucharist as some sort of “symbol” or representation of what took place at the Last Supper, scripture makes it clear that that the Eucharist is not merely symbolic or an acting-out of what happened on that night before Jesus died on the cross.  No, the body and Blood of Christ is exactly what Jesus says it is.

The sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John is an absolute goldmine for anyone who wishes to reflect on the true Christian meaning of the Eucharist.  The section of John’s Gospel known as the “Bread of Life Discourse” begins at John 6, verse 22 and ends at verse 59.  The Gospel of today’s Mass (Jn. 6: 51-58) is an excerpt of that Discourse of Jesus.  We hear Jesus saying something incredible – literally, unbelievable – to his listeners: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven… the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  Those who heard this quarreled among themselves, saying “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (they thought that Jesus was talking about cannibalism).  So Jesus goes on to make it crystal-clear to them: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you… for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”

This is not simply “Catholic doctrine.”  These words come directly out of the Bible – and provide us with a central pillar of our faith.  Yes, Jesus nourishes his disciples with the Word of God – but equally importantly, Jesus nourishes us with his very self: his Body and Blood (as he says in the Gospel), under the appearance of bread and wine in the Eucharist.  How does this take place? The Church has come to describe what happens to the bread and wine at Mass as “transubstantiation:” the substance of the bread and wine (what it actually is) is changed through God’s power into the actual, true and real Body and Blood of Christ… while the appearance of the bread and wine (what it looks like and tastes like) remain unchanged. 

What an amazing God we have – that God gives us himself to eat as the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist… nourishing us, strengthening us, sustaining us to be the Body of Christ, the Church, in our world… as faith-filled disciples of Jesus Christ. How blest we are!

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Monday
Jun122017

Reflections - June 11, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

The Most Holy Trinity.  One God, comprised of Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  In the words of the Preface of the Holy Trinity in the Second Edition of the Roman Missal, “You, Father, have revealed your glory as the glory also of your Son and of the Holy Spirit: three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.”

Ever since my ordination as a priest, those words – from the prayer of our Church – have given me fruitful contemplation about the nature of our God.  No matter how much one contemplates, though, the idea of “the one being three and the three being one” is impossible to completely grasp through human logic.  The Trinity is essentially a mystery that will not become clear to us until we reach the Kingdom of God.

Even though Christians have, for two thousand years, acknowledged the Trinity as a mystery of faith… it hasn’t stopped us from at least trying to understand something about the Triune nature of our one God – who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Different analogies have been employed to help us understand – for instance, the three-leafed shamrock was reputedly employed by St. Patrick to help him explain the idea of a God who is One yet at the same time Three.

Probably the most helpful “explanation” of the Trinity I’ve ever heard was one that drew upon the Greek theatre of pre-Christian times.  An actor in Greek drama would often use masks in his portrayal of a character – and a particularly skilled actor, by using different masks, could appear and re-appear in several different roles during the course of a single drama, thus preventing the audience from identifying the actor to one specific character.  Effectively, the mask transformed the actor as much as the memorization of lines. These masks were called “persona” (πρόσωπον); they would convey to the audience the personality traits of particular character being portrayed – for example, a king, soldier, wise old man, young girl, etc.  Yet, it was the same actor behind the mask. 

So, like a single actor of ancient Greece would covey different personality traits or character identities to the audience through the use of “persona,” so the One True God in an analogous way manifests Godself to us in three different Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  One God, three “identities” so to speak.  Three ways of our God revealing Godself to us… as Father/Creator, Son/Redeemer and Holy Spirit/Sanctifier. 

What an amazing God we have: God so desires relationship and intimacy with us that God comes to us in/as three distinct Persons – in order to show us the fullness of God’s love and to invite us to reciprocate by loving God in return.  This is what we celebrate today!

 

Blessings and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Monday
Jun052017

Reflections - June 4, 2017

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Fiftieth Day of Easter and conclusion of the Easter Season. This is the day on which the Church commemorates the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, upon the first disciples… and upon you and me, as Jesus’ present-day disciples.

We are given different insights about the Holy Spirit in today’s scriptures. In the Acts of the Apostles (which has been the source of our first reading throughout the Easter Season) we hear how the Holy Spirit was manifested in a strong wind and tongues of fire – both of which are signs of God’s presence throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. According to Acts 2:1-11, the disciples were “filled with the Holy Spirit” and enabled to speak “of the mighty acts of God” in various languages to the various people who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish feast of Pentecost (the fiftieth day after Passover). The disciples were thus empowered by the Holy Spirit to go forth and preach the Gospel to all nations.

In our second reading (1 Cor. 12:3b-7; 12-13), St. Paul reminds the people of Corinth that “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” and that “there are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit… to each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” Paul goes on to present his well-known analogy of the body: Christ is the head of the body; we all comprise various parts of the body fulfilling specific roles and functions for the good of the whole. Paul offers the Church timeless advice: each one of us is given specific and unique gifts by the Holy Spirit, building us as a Church into the Body of Christ and reminding us that – as a result of this unity in diversity – there really is no need for envy of another’s gifts or destructive competitiveness that can only weaken the Body.

Finally, our Gospel reading (John 20:19-23) relates the beautiful origin of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: how Jesus came into the Upper Room “on the evening of that first day of the week,” proclaiming peace to a group of frightened disciples and then breathing on them (reminiscent of the breath of God bringing life in the Creation story) and saying “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

On this Solemnity of Pentecost 2017, we can truly rejoice in the many gifts and blessings bestowed on us in and through the Holy Spirit – the Spirit first given to us in our Baptism and then strengthened within us at Confirmation – the Spirit who enables us to glorify God the Father by living as joyful disciples of Jesus Christ, using our gifts willing and lavishly in the service of all.

 

In the joy and light of the Holy Spirit,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

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