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 9, 2019 | Main | Reflections - May 26, 2019 »

Reflections - June 2, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord in place of the Seventh Sunday of Easter. It’s a significant solemnity of our Church, ranking in importance on the Church calendar only after Easter (the “highest holy day” of our Church). Four solemnities rank right behind Easter: Christmas, Epiphany, As-cension and Pentecost.
The day on which the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated can be confusing to Catholics in the United States. Those of us “of a certain age” grew up always celebrating Ascension Thursday; the forti-eth day of the Easter Season. Some areas of the United States - and some 55 nations in our world – continue to celebrate the Ascension on Thursday… while in many parts of the world (including most of the US), the Ascension has been moved to Sunday. In our own country, this past Thursday was a holy day of obligation in the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia and Omaha. (An ecclesias-tical province is a geographical area “led” by an Archdiocese with a group of dioceses,” usually surrounding the Archdiocese. We are part of the Province of Santa Fe – which, in addition to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, includes the Dioceses of Phoenix, Tucson, Gallup and Las Cruces).
Why exactly did the Church allow entire countries or ecclesiastical provinces the option of continuing to cel-ebrate the Ascension on Thursday or transferring the solemnity to the Seventh Sunday of Easter? In the 1980’s and 90’s, bishops in many places of the world became concerned that the Thursday celebration of the Ascension kept many Catholics from a “full adherence” to this holy day of obligation – again, one of the four most important solemnities ranked just behind Easter. “Full adherence” involves both a mandatory participation in Mass and “a contemplative removal from the world of work and other routine obligations.” The Solemnity of the Ascension is important to Catholics as an integral part of the redemptive work of Christ, beginning with His betrayal, suffering and death, followed by the Easter celebration of his resurrec-tion and concluding with the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. So that it may be celebrated on Sun-day, "the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church" [Code of Canon Law §1246], the Holy See allowed the feast to be moved from Thursday to the following Sunday. In the United States, approval to transfer the feast was obtained in 1999. By decree of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, au-thority to implement the change was granted to the ecclesiastical provinces. Provinces in the western part of our country were among the first to move the feast to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. This change has also been made in many countries around the world.
In a nutshell, the transfer of the Solemnity of the Ascension to Sunday gives a greater number of Catholics the opportunity to truly celebrate the Ascension of the Lord – not only with Mass attendance, but by taking a day of rest (which is hopefully “standard operating procedure” for most of us on a Sunday!) It’s interesting to note that – at least for the ecclesiastical province of Santa Fe – only one of the Church’s primary holy days is not celebrated on a Sunday: Christmas. The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, though, does not “need” to be moved to a Sunday in order to underscore its specialness – December 25th is already a holiday/non-work day across most of the world and so is a day when “full adherence to the holy day of obligation” is readily possible for the majority of Catholics. (Many countries still celebrating Ascension Thursday actually observe this fortieth day of Easter as a national holiday, giving their people a “day of rest” on this solemni-ty… as well as the ready opportunity to attend Mass. Hence, in these places, there is no need to transfer the solemnity to Sunday).
One of the many blessings of our Catholic Faith is that the Church continues to recognize the needs of the People of God in various times and places, and adapts where possible to ensure her people a “full, con-scious and active” participation in the Liturgy that celebrates the mysteries of our faith.
In Christ’s peace,
Rev. Charles G. Kieffer