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 - May 19, 2019 | Main | Reflections - May 5, 2019 »

Reflections - May 12, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

This weekend of the Forth Sunday of Easter is also an important one on the secular calendar, since we also celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday.

Mother’s Day has a fascinating history (and, in case you didn’t know, I’m a bit of a history buff!). Most Americans attribute the beginnings of Mother’s Day to Anna Reeves Jarvis, a resident of Grafton, West Virginia. Ms. Jarvis had, in the years immediately following the Civil War, spearheaded efforts to bring the mothers of both Confederate and Union soldiers together – along with their ex-soldier sons – to promote reconciliation in a “Mother’s Friendship Day.”  This effort provided the seeds of a memorial held for her own mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton in 1908: this is commonly seen as the “birthday” of Mother’s Day. The idea caught on – and, in 1914, Mother’s Day became an official holiday in the United States.  Interestingly, Anna Jarvis became disgusted by 1920 with the commercial excesses that began to be associated with Mother’s Day – and spent much of her later life trying to have the holiday removed from the calendar! But, as we all know – and are no doubt grateful for – Mother’s Day survived, to be celebrated in the United States on the second Sunday of May each year. Yes, the day has become somewhat commercialized in our country – but at its roots, it’s still a day to honor and give thanks to God for our own mothers, living and deceased… as well as for all mothers in our community.

With all due respect to the various efforts of Ms. Jarvis, part of what’s really fascinating about Mother’s Day is that the idea of honoring mothers with a special celebration had already been thought of “a few” years earlier…   

Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced all the way back to the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, where festivals were held in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele (and, by extension, “human motherhood” was honored). The clearest precedent, though, to the modern celebration of Mother’s Day is a Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday,” which began in the United Kingdom as an explicitly religious event of the 16th Century, with no connection to mothers at all. The word "mothering" referred to the "mother church", which is to say the main church or cathedral of the region. It became a tradition that, on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, people would return to their mother church for a special service. This pilgrimage was apparently known as "going a-mothering", and became something of a holiday event, with domestic servants traditionally given the day off to visit their own families as well as their mother church. 

Despite its long existence in British culture, Mothering Sunday eventually fell out of fashion at the dawn of the 20th Century. This is where a lady named Constance Penswick-Smith enters the picture. The daughter of a vicar, she thought the loss of Mothering Sunday was a great shame, and worked hard to rekindle interest in the holiday. Her determination paid off, and the fading festival was restored to the culture of the country in the 1930’s and 40’s, only now with much more of a focus on celebrating motherhood - due to the influence of the American celebration of Mother’s Day.  

Some version of Mother’s Day is now celebrated pretty much worldwide, on different days in different cultures.  Why?  Probably because it’s hard to deny that every human being has a great debt of gratitude to his or her mother – for bringing them to term, giving birth and (more often than not) nurturing them, loving them and forming them into the adults they eventually become. 

Thank you, mothers, for answering the call to motherhood!


Easter peace and joy,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer