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 - June 2, 2019 | Main | Reflections - May 19, 2019 »

Reflections - May 26, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

He said, ‘I am but a messenger from your Lord, [come] to announce to you the gift of a pure son.’ She said, ‘How can I have a son when no man has touched me? I have not been unchaste.’

It may surprise you to know that the above quote – referring to the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, the mother of Jesus – is not found in the Gospel of Luke, but rather in Islam’s holy book, the Qu’ran (Sura 19, 19-20).  The Qu’ran actually contains two stories of the Annunciation: the other is in Sura 3.  Mary is the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an and has an entire chapter named after her (Sura 19, “Maryam”) and is honored by Muslims as the Virgin Mother of Jesus.

It seems to me that, in an era when Islamophobia is on the rise, it seems particularly important for Catholic Christians to realize that – in addition to sharing our belief in the one God (Jews, Muslims and Christians alike profess belief in the “God of Abraham) - Muslims also share a reverence for Mary.  While contrasting ideas about Jesus have long been a dividing line between Christianity and Islam (Christians call Jesus the Son of God, while Muslims call him a prophet), his mother Mary can more easily be seen as an interreligious bridge.

This is exactly how she is viewed in the Second Vatican Council’s document on the relationship between the Catholic Church and non-Christians, Nostra Aetate, which explicitly mentions Mary as a point of agreement between Catholics and Muslims: “[Muslims] also honor Mary, [Jesus’] Virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion.”

Like Catholics, Muslims believe Mary to be pure, courageous and faithful. They also believe that she was free from sin. The Qur’an calls her an example for believers, a woman of truth, a sign for all peoples and chosen above all women. Some medieval Muslim scholars even argued that Mary was a prophet (this was a minority position, however).  The famous Muslim poet Rumi devotes a full chapter of his magnum opus, the Mathnawi, to the Visitation—when John the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth’s womb at Mary’s greeting in Lk 1:41. Rumi described Mary as a “woman with a silent heart” and “a lovely branch which when touched by a sweet breeze gave birth to Jesus the rose.

It’s interesting to note that there are several Marian shrines throughout the world that are frequented by Catholics, other Christians and Muslims alike. Not only in Syria and Algeria, but there is Meryem Ana Evi in Turkey, which was visited by Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.  In Lebanon, a Muslim-majority country with a significant Christian minority, March 25 (the feast of the Annunciation) has been declared a national holiday. The idea originated with a Muslim, who also created the day’s motto, “Together around Mary, Our Lady.” Perhaps we should look to our Blessed Mother to be a bridge-builder between Catholicism and Islam!

In this month of May – a month that has long been regarded in the calendar of the Catholic Church honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary – and, as our Muslim brothers and sisters are now observing their holy and penitential month of Ramadan (which culminates with the joyful celebration of Eid al Fitr, this year happening in early June) – may we ask the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary as we pray for peace in our world and a greater understanding and respect among Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Grace and Easter peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer



(Many thanks to Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, whose insights formed the basis of today’s Reflections column)