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 - November 25, 2018 | Main | Reflections - November 11, 2018 »

Reflections - November 18, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

For most Americans, when we think of “Thanksgiving,” we call to mind turkey and cranberry sauce, family gatherings, parades, bowl games and perhaps Pilgrims in the early days of their settlement in what was to become the United States.  These are some of the traditions that we have come to associate with the holiday that we will be celebrating this coming Thursday.  As memorable as all these traditions are, they really don’t get to the core of what Abraham Lincoln envisioned when – in the midst of the trials of the Civil War – he proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national holiday in 1863.  President Lincoln proclaimed not an annual observance of “turkey day,” but rather an annual day for the people of this country to call to mind God’s great blessings in their lives.

It was clear to Lincoln that the blessings of food, land, family, and freedom enjoyed by Americans are all gifts from the Creator.  But Americans, he realized, had forgotten this.  A special day was needed for us to forget our differences and remember our blessings.  This was particularly important for Americans, who were divided into Union and Confederacy, “blue and gray,” North and South, in 1863.  Remembering blessings was essential in those days of tragic loss of life, families and fellow-citizens torn apart by differing ideologies… those days when it wasn’t unusual for people to question what the future of our country would look like.  For Abraham Lincoln, remembering one’s blessings (rather than focusing on all that was painfully wrong in America during the Civil War) naturally led to giving thanks to the Source of those blessings: a loving and gracious God.     

As I look back on the “roots” of our American holiday of Thanksgiving, it seems to me that – not unlike citizens in those days of Lincoln – we find ourselves in the midst of difficult times in our country.  Divisiveness is now defined by whether one is “red” or “blue,” rather than “blue” or “gray.”  Tragedy and death is now being reported from everyday places where people are innocently gathered, rather than from the battlefields of Gettysburg or Antietam.  Families – even the family of the Catholic Church – continue to be torn by differing ideologies and disagreement.

Stepping back from all of this, forgetting our differences and taking time to focus on the blessings given to us by our God, especially the blessings that we so easily take for granted – and then, giving profound thanks to our God – is as powerful an antidote to preoccupation and worry in our day as it was in the day of Abraham Lincoln. Remembering the blessings, rather than focusing on the ills of our society and our world… and then gratefully rejoicing in the love of God that makes all of our blessings possible: this is the core of our annual celebration Thanksgiving Day. And it’s reason for celebration that is every bit as valid in 2018 as it was in 1863!

As is our custom at St. Theresa, we will celebrate our Annual Mass of Thanksgiving Day on Thursday at 9:00AM.  This is the only Mass we celebrate on Thanksgiving Day (there is no 6:30AM Mass scheduled this Thursday).  I invite all of us to give thanks together as a Eucharistic Community gathered around the bountiful table of the Lord as we begin our celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday (particularly appropriate, as the word Eucharist is derived from the Greek word meaning “thanksgiving”).


In Christ’s peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer