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 - September 15, 2019 | Main | Reflections - September 1, 2019 »

Reflections - September 8, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

A good priest friend of mine once made this observation that can be applied to anything from a party to prayer time: “Just show up!”  His philosophy about this saying had everything to do with “presence” – for instance, if someone is invited to a birthday party, it usually indicates that the one celebrating the day would be uplifted by that person’s presence.  The invited guest wouldn’t necessarily have to make any speeches or say something profound… usually in a situation like that, it’s sufficient to “just show up.”  This saying can be applied in lots of social situations – even those in which we might tend to feel awkward, worrying about “what do I say?” (think of a friend who’s just lost a spouse, or a relative struggling with a serious illness).  Often, if we “just show up,” that’s ALL we have to do.  Our presence itself speaks powerfully in situations like these – we “just show up,” maybe give the person a hug… and really nothing else has to be said.

Our life of prayer can be similar.  If we “just show up,” consciously making ourselves present to God… that’s what’s really important.  We’re showing God that our relationship with God is important enough that we take the time to be present to God.  The words we say or prayers we recite are secondary to our consciously spending time with God.  When we “just show up” and spend time with God, we’re allowing God to work in our lives.  We’re consciously exposing ourselves, so to speak, to God’s grace and God’s love.

A couple of weeks ago in this column, I wrote a bit about the Liturgy – and how it is the “source and summit” of the Catholic Christian’s life.  Sunday Mass, then, is the highpoint of our prayer life each week.  We have the opportunity to experience Christ made truly present in the proclamation of God’s word, in the assembly (the community gathered in faith and worship), in the priest who is leading – or presiding at – the Mass and, in a very particular way, in the Body and Blood of Christ that we receive under the appearance of bread and wine.  What an incredible gift we have: Jesus Christ - the Son of the Living God – is revealed to us in these four different ways, one of which is by his giving himself to us as “real food and real drink” in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.  He literally, then, becomes physically part of us!  To experience this, we have to “just show up” – even when it might be difficult or inconvenient.  Once we “just show up,” we are invited to open ourselves to God’s presence and to enter into that full, active, conscious participation that can make the Liturgy more meaningful and fulfilling for us and for those around us.

Now, if we understand what this “source and summit” of our faith is offering us (encountering the living Christ, his true presence, in four different ways), it would be logical to think that once we “just show up” and participate in the Mass… we would want to stay for the entire Mass.  Why in the world would we want to “duck out” right after receiving Communion?  Is it that important to be the first car at the traffic light leaving the St. Theresa campus?  Do we really think the final few minutes of Mass (spending a moment in prayer with the Lord literally inside of us, listening to the concluding prayer of the Mass, hearing a few announcements and receiving a final blessing) is a waste of time?  Most Sunday Masses at St. Theresa are an hour long, or less… but no matter if the Mass lasts 60 minutes or 50 minutes… it’s seems that the same group of “usual suspects” exits church right after receiving Communion.  Why is that? 

Perhaps we can all do well to reflect on what an incredible gift the Mass truly is – the source and summit of our faith, time with the “real presence” of Jesus Christ in four different ways, additional strength and grace to get though the coming week… and make a conscious effort to “just show up” on time and remain until the conclusion of Mass.  Think of all the blessings that God pours out upon each of us, day in and day out.  With that in mind, for us to set aside roughly an hour a week to be consciously present to God - from the time we “just show up” for the beginning of Sunday Mass and staying ‘til the end - doesn’t seem like too much to ask.   


Blessings and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer



When many of you read this over the course of the weekend, I will be at St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, CA for my annual priest’s retreat.   I ask for your prayers… and assure you of mine.