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-12noon         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

Priest in Residence

Rev. Kevin Grimditch

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




Reflection's - May 27, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

Having concluded the Fifty Days of the Easter Season last Sunday (with the Solemnity of Pentecost), the Church celebrates on consecutive Sundays two more solemnities in which we have the opportunity to contemplate two of the fundamentally central mysteries of our faith: the Most Holy Trinity (Trinity Sunday, celebrated this weekend) and the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (traditionally known as the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, to be celebrated next weekend).

The Collect, or Opening Prayer, of this Sunday gathers all of our prayers together with these words: “God our Father, who by sending into the world the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification made known to the human race your wondrous mystery, grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith, we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.” 

The core of the doctrine of the Trinity – three distinct Persons in One God – is revealed to us in this prayer.  The “why” of the mystery of Trinity, though, is only implicit in this prayer: God “made known to the human race (God’s) wondrous mystery” because God loves humanity and wishes to enter into relationship with each of us… and so reveals the One True God to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – equal in majesty, undivided in splendor… yet one substance, one God. (This is what we refer to in the Nicene Creed when we use the word “consubstantial”).

The Trinity is a mystery of faith; it can never be fully comprehended using mere human logic.  It’s impossible to completely “wrap our minds” around this reality on our own.  But we can come to embrace the mystery. In contemplating the Trinity, we are invited to draw upon the Holy Spirit’s Gift of Understanding… so that we can accept in faith that indeed our God is Three Persons in One God. And, that our God wishes to enter into loving intimacy with us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Next weekend, as we reflect on the mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ, we are reminded not only of the Eucharistic Mystery of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ given to us under the form of bread and wine at Communion… but we will also celebrate Corpus Christi with the awareness that we are one as the Body of Christ, the Church. That oneness transcends individuals, parish communities and even dioceses – the members of the Body of Christ, the Church on earth, are bonded together in unity as members of one Body… with Christ as its Head.

With this in mind, it will be our privilege to “welcome back” to St. Theresa Bishop James S. Wall of the Diocese of Gallup, who will be preaching our summer mission appeal at all the Masses.  We are “one” with the Diocese of Gallup, just as we are united as one Body with the Church Universal. It will be a special weekend for those of us who have been at St. Theresa for a while, as many of us have fond memories of Bishop Wall ministering to our parish community as the newly-ordained “Father Jim” for three years beginning in 1998, following his priestly ordination by Bishop O’Brien. Every priest I know has a special bond with the first parish he was assigned to in priestly ministry… so in a real way, his visit to our parish next weekend will be a sort of “homecoming” for Bishop Jim Wall. He is scheduled to celebrate both the 11AM and 6PM Masses on Sunday – and will be delivering the homily at all Masses, so plan your schedule accordingly!

God is so good to us – entering into relationship with us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit… and nourishing us with the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. How God loves us, and how deeply God wants to be close to us!


Grace and peace in the Father, Son and Spirit,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.




Reflection's - May 20, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, which tends to be a bit of a bewildering feast for many Catholics.  First of all, there’s the date on which it is celebrated: traditionally, the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated on the fortieth day of the Easter Season – which, of course, would have been this past Thursday.  Years ago, Ascension Thursday was a holy day of obligation worldwide… but then, in order to have a greater number of church-goers participate in this important Solemnity, the option was given to transfer this celebration to the Seventh Sunday of Easter.  Many parts of the world took advantage of this new option: and the Seventh Sunday of Easter was replaced by the Solemnity of the Ascension.  Here in the United States, though, there was not a consensus reached by the National Bishops’ Conference… so, some regions of the country (mainly in Western and Southern dioceses) transferred the Ascension to Sunday, while other regions (largely in the Northeast and Midwest) continued observing the Ascension as a Thursday holy day of obligation.  It’s admittedly a strange situation (especially in these days of easy cross-country travel) to have one part of the country observing an obligatory holy day on Thursday, and the rest of the country celebrating the solemnity on Sunday… but that indeed is the way it is.  It’s the only holy day of obligation in the U.S. celebrated differently in different parts of the country – sort of like daylight savings time.  So, for those visiting Phoenix from other places that celebrated the Ascension last Thursday… you’re treated to a “repeat performance” today!

Perhaps repeating the Solemnity of the Ascension is a good thing – as it can be a difficult concept in our Catholic Christian faith to grasp.  Recently I read a brief synopsis of the Ascension, published by Faith Catholic out of Lansing, Michigan: “Jesus went from death on Good Friday to life on Easter, and now (at his Ascension) to glory at the right hand of the Father.  The Apostles went from the darkness of sin and ignorance to the light of the love of the Lord.  Soon (at Pentecost, the Fiftieth and final day of Easter) they will be filled with the Holy Spirit to share the Good News with the world.  We hear, we participate, we rejoice!” 

Today’s Gospel has a surprising structure… but it’s a structure that helps us understand the mystery of faith that we celebrate with the Lord’s Ascension:  Jesus appears to his disciples in bodily form (as we have heard him do repeatedly throughout the Easter Season), commissions them to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).  Then the Risen Christ promises incredible things to those who believe, are baptized and as a result are saved (basically, they are promised that the power of God will work through them in amazing ways).  After telling the disciples these things, Jesus “was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God” (Mk. 16:19).  One would think, by that verse, that Jesus had left them; that the Ascension was all about Jesus’ farewell to his disciples.  But surprise – it’s not a farewell at all!! 

In the very next verse (20) of the Gospel, we hear “But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.”  What’s going on here is that, even though Jesus is no longer present to the disciples  in his resurrected, bodily form… he is now present to them (and us!) in a whole new way.  The Ascension, then, does not mark a “farewell” – but rather a transition in the relationship between Jesus and his disciples.   Thiers is an unbroken relationship that transcends time and space… and in the present day, as Christ’s disciples, we are given the opportunity to continue sharing in that relationship – that intimacy – enjoyed by those first disciples.

Christ continues to “work with us” as we continue the journey of our discipleship, spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world around us.  Next Sunday, as we celebrate Pentecost (the fiftieth and final day of Easter) we will revel in the fact that Jesus also pours out upon us the gift of the Holy Spirit – the third Person of the Holy Trinity – to inspire, empower and guide us as we live our lives as Jesus’ brothers and sisters.

What an incredible, loving God we have… Who is with us at every step of our life’s journey, in so many different ways!


In Christ’s peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.




Reflection's - May 13, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

First of all, my thoughts and prayers are with all mothers of our community on this Mother’s Day Weekend.  Whether our mothers are alive in this life or in the life to come, we owe them our profound gratitude for having borne us in their womb and brought us in the world – literally being God’s instruments in gift of life and, in most cases, being the first to nurture us and teach us the ways of love.  And so we give thanks to, and offer our prayers for, all women who have responded to God’s call to motherhood.  May God bless all who celebrate this marvelous vocation today!

As you are aware, Fr. Will Schmid will soon be concluding his residency here at St. Theresa Parish (along with his full-time ministry at Seton Catholic High School).  In June and July, Fr. Will completes his Master’s degree work at the University of Notre Dame prior to beginning his new position in August as Parochial Administrator of St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Gilbert.  Fr. Will is certainly going to be missed (as he has been a part of our parish since his high school days when, as a member of our Life Teen Group and a student at Brophy Prep, he was received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil here at St. Theresa some 12 years ago).  He will always be a “son of St. Theresa” and, I’m sure, you will continue to encounter him from time to time on our parish campus.  Next Sunday, May 20th, we will be celebrating a “Mass of Thanksgiving and Sending Forth” for Fr. Will at the 11:00AM Mass – followed by a light reception – all are welcome!   I hope that you can make some time next Sunday to offer Fr. Will your best wishes as he prepares to move on to this next adventure in his priesthood.

We also welcome Fr. Benjamin Pantas (or Fr. Benjie as he is fondly called), who moved into the rectory this past week as our new priest-in-residence.  Like Fr. Will, Fr. Benjie has full-time ministerial responsibilities elsewhere (on the staff of our Diocesan Tribunal) but will be assisting us as his schedule permits.   Fr. Benjie has been a priest for 20 years and is a long-time friend of Fr. Bing who – like Fr. Bing – joins us from the Diocese of Naval (“nah-vahl”) in the Philippines.  Fr. Benjie and Fr. Bing came to know one another while in seminary studies together at the University of Santo Tomás in Manila. Fr. Benjie went on to further studies in Rome , acquiring a Doctorate in Canon Law (J.C.D.), after which he served as Judicial Vicar – the bishop’s delegate for matters of Church law – in the Diocese of Naval. Fr. Benjie has also had experience as a parish priest, Chancellor of the Diocese of Naval and has spent a year in ministry in New Jersey following his doctoral studies in Rome. He has a brother and sister who remain in the Philippines, and another sister who works in London as a nurse. Fr. Benjie enjoys tennis for relaxation, and is a welcome addition to our “household of priests” and to our parish community! We’re grateful to Bishop Olmsted for placing Fr. Benjie with us; I know that you will help Fr. Benjie to feel at home here at St. Theresa. 

On this Mother’s Day and within this glorious Season of Easter, we continue to give God thanks and praise for his great love and all the goodness he shows us!


Blessings and peace in the Risen Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.



P.S.  We should all be accustomed to this by now, but just a reminder that – in the dioceses of the Western United States (along with much of the Catholic world) – the Solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension has been transferred to replace the Seventh Sunday of Easter.  We will therefore celebrate the Ascension next Sunday – this coming Thursday, then, is not a holy day of obligation.



Reflection's - May 6, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

Many of us (especially those who are “into” gardening) have had the experience of dealing with broken branches after a monsoon storm or a strong wind.  It’s sad to see a branch broken away from the trunk of a tree, or even a branch broken on a vine such as a bougainvillea… the branch hangs there, with leaves and blooms drooping and withering in the sun.  All that can be done is to cut it off and throw it away.  Once that happens, it’s likely that the tree or vine will look out of balance or otherwise “different.”

Today’s Gospel (John 15: 1-8) is a familiar one to many of us, whether we’re gardeners or not.  In the Gospel, Jesus reminds each of us: “I am the true vine and my father is the vine grower… I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me, you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither... If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.  By this is my father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

Our remaining “connected” to Christ (like a healthy branch remains connected to the vine) is essential to our being able to live the life of discipleship… and essential for us, as Christ’s disciples, to come to the reward of eternal life. 

It’s no surprise to know that a healthy, strong branch on a tree or on a vine is able to remain connected to the trunk even through a monsoon storm.  The weaker, or damaged, branches are generally the ones that break off and wither. 

In a similar way, when we are strong in our prayer life, in our works of mercy and stewardship, when we spend time contemplating God’s word and when we are consistent in our reception of the sacraments (especially the Eucharist)… we build up a bond of connectedness with Christ that is very hard, if not impossible, to break.  We will remain “connected to the vine.”  On the other hand, if we become lazy in our prayer life, indifferent to acts of mercy and stewardship (i.e., sharing generously of our time, talent and financial resources for God’s glory) and only sporadically nourish ourselves with the sacraments… our lives are bound to become more self-centered, less loving and less focused on discipleship.  Thus we weaken our connection with the vine and become susceptible to the “storms of life” – everyday challenges – which can easily break off the weakened branch so that it withers and “is good for nothing but being thrown into the fire.”   As is the case with a tree or vine that loses a branch, so too the Body of Christ – the Church – will be out of balance or otherwise “different,” because each branch contributes to making up the whole and complete vine or tree.  Each branch – each of us – is valuable to the whole, so our “maintaining a strong connection to the vine” is not something we do merely for our own sake, but for the sake of the entire Church. 

As we continue to celebrate these great Fifty Days of Easter, may we grow stronger and bear much fruit as branches connected to the vine, who is Jesus Christ!


Peace and joy in the Risen Lord,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.




Reflection's - April 29, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

This weekend we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter, sometimes known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” because the Church always provides us a Gospel this weekend dealing with some aspect of Christ as the Good Shepherd.  This year, we hear an excerpt from the Gospel of St. John (10: 11-18), reminding us that “a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” The connection with the Season of Easter is unmistakable – Jesus, as our Good Shepherd, has laid down his life for us and has been raised from the tomb as proof that he has conquered sin and death for us.

Truly, there is so much for us to contemplate during this “Great Sunday” – the Fifty Days of the Easter Season – it’s no wonder that the Church gives us such an extended time to be reminded of, and “re-absorb,” the various aspects of the Paschal Mystery: the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In order to help us in this process of contemplating the different facets of the “gem” we know as the Easter Season, we encounter various physical reminders of the Season when we come to Sunday Mass – for instance, the Paschal Candle remains lit next to the ambo (pulpit) throughout the Fifty Days of Easter.  Once Pentecost Sunday is past (and the Easter Season has reached its conclusion), the Paschal Candle appears in the sanctuary only for baptisms and funerals – to remind us that we, who are baptized into Christ, share in his resurrection and new life.

Another physical reminder that we experience during these wonderful Fifty Days is the Rite for the Blessing and Sprinkling of Water which takes the place of the Penitential Act at the beginning of Mass.  While not mandated for the Sundays of Easter, the Church encourages the use of this rite on the Sundays of the Easter Season so as to remind us of our baptism and the ramifications of that baptism: i.e., that our sins have been forgiven, that we are incorporated into and conformed to the Body of Christ and that we have been given the pledge of eternal life…that we who die in Christ will share in his resurrection to new life. 

The words of the blessing speak eloquently of this reality: “…through water, which Christ made holy in the Jordan, you have renewed our corrupted nature in the bath of regeneration. Therefore may this water be for us a memorial of the Baptism we have received, and grant that we may share in the gladness of our brothers and sisters who at Easter have received their Baptism.” Then, as the priest moves through the assembly sprinkling the blest water, we here the antiphon sung:  I saw water flowing from the Temple, from its right-hand side, alleluia: and all to whom this water came were saved and shall say: Alleluia, alleluia.

So much beauty, so much glory, so much meaning to contemplate during these Fifty Days! 


Grace and peace in the Risen Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.



p.s. I’m away at St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, California this week for my annual priest’s retreat –

know that you are in my prayers; please keep me in yours!