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
Sep112012

Reflection's - September 9, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

By now I’m sure that you’ve noticed the poster-placards near the doors of the church announcing the Year of Faith Ministry Fair scheduled for the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd, just two weeks away.

As many of you are aware, Catholics around the world are about to enter the Year of Faith as proclaimed by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. This “year” officially begins on October 11th 2012 and concludes on November 24th 2013, the Feast of Christ the King. The start date of the Year of Faith coincides with the anniversaries of two significant events in the life of our Church: the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. According to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “The Year of Faith is intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord in the world of today – capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the ‘door of faith’” (underscore mine).

In the coming months, we will be hearing more about the Year of Faith – and as we prepare to begin this special year, what better a way could there be than a Ministry Fair to enhance our ability – as individuals and as a community – to be “credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord in the world of today?”

The Year of Faith Ministry Fair in two weeks’ time will give us the opportunity to celebrate, “showcase” and become involved in the many varied ministries that are active in the St. Theresa Parish Community. The Ministry Fair will give each parishioner the chance to learn more about the good works that are being accomplished by fellow parishioners, to learn about ministries that each parishioner can benefit from…and, perhaps most significantly, give everyone the opportunity to volunteer and become engaged in a particular ministry so that each person in our community can experience the joy of sharing his or her time and talents with others… building up the good of all and being “credible and joy-filled witnesses of the Risen Lord” to the world around us.

The documents of the Second Vatican Council were revolutionary as they re-called the faithful to the recognizing that we – as the People of God – are called to mission (and ministry) by virtue of our Baptism. Fifty years ago, as the Council began, the Church opened the doors to a renewed understanding that “ministry” was not exclusively the purview of priests, sisters and other “vowed or professional ministers” – no, mission and ministry is something that every baptized person is called to. And how rewarding it can be!

You will be amazed at how many ways there are here at St. Theresa to live out our baptismal call by being engaged in the life of our community and in the mission that we are to embrace as the People of God. Volunteer opportunities abound… opportunities that are custom-tailored to each person’s talents, abilities and availability of time.

Please plan to set aside a bit of extra time following Mass on the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd. The Year of Faith Ministry Fair will be going strong in the Msgr. McMahon Center following each weekend Mass… hospitality, refreshments and entertainment as well as a spotlight on each ministry of our parish will be waiting for you!  I look forward to seeing you there…

 

Peace and joy in Jesus Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

Wednesday
Sep052012

Reflection's - September 2, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

Labor Day has always impressed me as an “equalizing holiday” – a reminder that, no matter what our state in life, no matter what our job, career or profession might be – each person in his or her role is needed (and should be respected) to allow society to function. We celebrate the function, the job, of each person as contributing to the greater good of us all.

Perhaps you’re aware that Labor Day had its roots in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century labor movements in North America. At that time, U.S. and Canadian culture was more visibly stratified than it is today: there was a very obvious class distinction between the “upper” and the “lower” classes (think of the movie Titanic that was released a few years ago, or the contemporary PBS-TV show Downton Abbey – where this class distinction is illustrated vividly on the screen). The middle class had yet to become “a force to be reckoned with” in that era.

“Labor Day” actually came to be as a result of disputes between labor and management during a printers’ strike in Hamilton and then Toronto, Ontario Canada in the 1870’s. Parades in support of the laborers resulted in the passage of the Trade Union Act of 1872, legalizing and protecting trade union activities in Canada.  A tradition of annual parades and celebrations in support of Canadian laborers was established. American labor leader Peter J. McGuire witnessed one of these labor festivals in Toronto. Inspired, he returned to New York and organized the first American "labor day" on September 5 of the same year. The Canadian celebration became an American one, and eventually Labor Day was established as a Federal holiday in 1894 under President Grover Cleveland, following the settlement of a bloody strike by Pullman railroad workers.

The labor movement and the establishment of labor unions served to bring a sense of dignity (and some assurance of rights) to the masses of factory workers and laborers in the post-Industrial Revolution United States.  Labor Day is a reminder of our North American ideal to strive for a society in which “upper class,” “middle class” and “lower class” has little or no meaning… where workers: public servants, construction workers, office workers, academics, clergy, physicians, attorneys, corporate CEOs, whatever – all have equal dignity, all are given equal respect, equal appreciation. 

In our second reading for the next few Sundays, we will be working our way through the Letter of James.  Next week, we will read a couple of well-known verses from James (2:1 & 5) in the Epistle reading, verses which seem appropriate for us to consider as we celebrate the Labor Day weekend: “Brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ… did not God choose the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?”

Show no partiality.  Income and “social status” should make no difference in the way a disciple of Jesus Christ treats a fellow human being. All are deserving of equal respect, all are accorded the same dignity by our God.  Happy Labor Day!

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

Tuesday
Aug282012

Reflection's - August 26, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

A few weeks ago, I mentioned in this column that we would be dealing with the Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse found in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel at our Sunday Liturgy throughout the month of August. Today, we come to the “make or break” moment of that discourse as we arrive at its final installment: John 6:60-69.  

As we’ve made our way through the Bread of Life Discourse, Jesus has revealed to the Jews (and to his disciples) the mind-boggling fact that he is the Bread of Life come down from heaven, that his flesh is real food and his blood true drink, and that the one who “eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day” (Jn. 6:54). Further, Jesus goes on to state: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn. 6:56). 

In today’s Gospel passage, we arrive at the point where the disciples have to “fish or cut bait,” so to speak… they’ve heard all that Jesus has to say on this topic, they know the story of their ancestors receiving “bread from heaven” from God in the form of manna in the desert, that have witnessed Jesus feeding a crowd of five thousand with a few loaves and fishes… and now they have to decide.  To believe, or not to believe.

It’s an interesting phrase that today’s Gospel uses in beginning to describe the rejection of Jesus’ teaching by many of the disciples: “This saying (i.e., teaching) is hard; who can accept it?” (Jn. 6:60b). Note… the scripture is not saying “who can understand it,” but “who can accept it.” Understanding – in other words, fully comprehending the mystery of the flesh and blood of Jesus as “true food and true drink” is frankly impossible for the human mind to logically and fully take in. But “understanding” is not the issue, as no one can “understand” the mystery of the Eucharist. They say “who can accept it?”  They appear to know that what Jesus says does indeed defy human understanding; it’s a mystery that one either accepts… or rejects.  As we see in verse 66, “As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.”  Sad, yes – but also necessary… because Jesus was not about to dilute the Eucharistic reality that he had just taught them.

“Accept” or “reject” – that choice given Jesus’ first-century disciples is the same choice that continues to challenge his twenty-first century disciples. We don’t have to “understand” (or logically make sense of) the Bread of Life Discourse from a human, empirical perspective. We Catholic Christians, who have for the past twenty centuries have held fast to the reality of this teaching, are invited to “accept” it – simply through faith.  We don’t have to completely “understand” it – just as we can’t, and don’t have to, completely “understand” other mysteries of our faith (think of the Trinity, for instance). But can we “accept” this teaching of Jesus through faith?

We don’t have to – and we really can’t – arrive at this acceptance on our own.  Faith is a gift; it’s not simply a matter of us humanly willing it.  As Jesus puts it in verse 65, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

Perhaps each of us can ask ourselves:  “Am I open to the gift of faith, so that my acceptance of the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist can deepen? Do I ask the Father to increase my faith if I’m struggling with this teaching?” 

Those who struggle with the reality of what Jesus tells us in the Bread of Life Discourse may want to open ourselves in prayer to a deepening of our faith in Jesus’ words before deciding to reject the scriptural teaching of the reality of the flesh and blood of Christ given to us in the Eucharist… our food for eternal life.

Joshua, in today’s Old Testament reading, gives us a wonderful example of deciding to place his faith in God, even in the face of “not knowing for sure” from a human, “logical” vantage point if this was the right thing to do. Joshua made his leap of faith, trusting God to supply what he needed: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15b).  May we have the courage, with the Father’s help, to do the same.

 

Grace and wisdom in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor    

 

Tuesday
Aug212012

Reflection's - August 19, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

In today’s passage from the Gospel of St. John (Jn. 6: 51-58), we come to the stunning epicenter of Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse that we have been meditating upon during the Sundays of August.

The words of the Lord are shocking, graphic… and unmistakable:

My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

 Jesus couldn’t possibly be any clearer.  How exactly does Jesus “mean” this statement?  Is he referring to cannibalism?  No.  That would be impossible – if Jesus meant this in a cannibalistic way, his body would have been eaten shortly after his death… and then gone forever.  No, Jesus gives his flesh and blood for the life of the world… for his followers to be nourished down through the ages with his Eucharistic Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  

Why should there be any question in the minds of Christians about these words of Jesus?  The Bread of Life Discourse occupies most of the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel – and the passage we hear in today’s Gospel proclamation is the crux of that Discourse.  Jesus is speaking in very real, extremely powerful terms… why, then, do some Christians (even those fundamentalists who take the Bible very literally) think that he’s speaking symbolically, or allegorically, or analogously? Why do even some Catholics – despite our two thousand year tradition of belief in the true presence of the flesh and blood of Christ in the Eucharist – try to rationalize or explain away such a crystal-clear message out of the Lord’s own mouth? 

Perhaps the questioning, second-guessing or outright rejection of Jesus’ words in which he tells us that he is actually giving us his flesh as true food and his blood as true drink comes from the failure of our human logic to fully comprehend how this can be so.  That’s okay, though – it’s not necessary (or even possible) for our human intellect to completely grasp the gift of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ under the form and appearance of bread and wine.  How all of this occurs is, in the truest sense, a mystery. It’s a reality that can only be affirmed in our hearts through faith.

Do we believe that God is all-powerful? That God can do anything that God wants? Do we believe that Jesus could perform miracles when he walked this earth? Do we believe that miracles are still possible? The Eucharist is one of those – a miracle.  It’s a miracle that’s so commonplace, we can partake of the miracle every time we come to Mass. If God can indeed do anything… God can indeed change the substance of ordinary bread and wine into the Flesh and Blood of his Son, while allowing the appearances (the taste, the smell, etc.) of the bread and wine to remain the same.   Why would God do such a thing?  Because God loves us and desires intimacy with us so much… that God literally gives us himself as our food and drink.

May the Spirit of God inflame our hearts with faith so that we can fully embrace the awesome gift of the true food and true drink that is the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.     

With love and prayers,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

p.s. Please remember in your prayers all the students, faculty and parents of St. Theresa Catholic School

as the new school year begins this week.  Thank you for your support of our Parish School!

 

Tuesday
Aug142012

Reflection's - August 12, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

In our Gospel today (John 6:41-51), we hear the “next installment” of Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse… portions of which we will continue working through in our weekend Liturgies until the end of August.

The controversy grows: there is some pushback from the Lord’s Jewish listeners today when he tells them “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” Immediately those who hear Jesus are reminded of the manna from heaven that came to the Israelites in the desert during their exodus from Egypt under Moses’ leadership.  Understandably, the Jews question the connection that Jesus is making.  They complain amongst themselves, essentially commenting “We know this guy.  We know his parents, Mary and Joseph… how can he claim to equate himself with the manna that was given by God to our ancestors?”

Their human logic clashes with what Jesus is saying.  Their “how can this be possible?” response is the most natural human reaction in the world.

But Jesus is laying the groundwork of leading his listeners beyond the boundaries of human, empirical logic.  He’s preparing them for his stunning statements to come… statements that can only be fully embraced through the eyes of faith, not by reason or logic.

Isn’t this something that you and I can relate to, as we grapple with the reality of the Bread of Life Discourse 2000 years after these words were first heard?  Even with the further analysis and explanations we’ve received by way of twenty centuries of Eucharistic theology… exactly how Jesus is the Bread of Life is something that we can only begin to grasp though faith… and through an acknowledgement that we can never fully – humanly – comprehend this through logic alone.  Only when we open our hearts in faith; only when we ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit, can we begin to accept the reality of what Jesus told those Jews in the first century… and what he tells you and me in the twenty-first century:  “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  

May God empower and deepen the gift of faith that has been given us!

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor