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 info@sttheresaphx.org

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
7:30AM
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
(Confession)
Saturday, 9:00AM to 10:00AM
Wednesday, 5:00PM to 6:00PM and by appointment

Pastor

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Parochial Vicar 

(Associate Pastor)

Rev. Joachim Adeyemi

Rev. J.C. Ortiz

Assisting Priest

Rev. Paul Peri

Deacons

Colin F. Campbell

Mark Kriese

Ralph Ulibarri

 

Saint Theresa Catholic School
5001 East Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018

www.stcs.us

(602) 840-0010 School Office
(602) 840-8323 School Fax

 

 

Administration
Friday
Jul122019

Reflections - July 14, 2019


Thursday
Jun272019

Reflections - June 30, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

On this Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we hear in our Gospel (Luke 9:51-62) a snippet of what might seem like a frustrating day in the public ministry of Jesus. He and the disciples are making the journey to Jerusalem and on the way they enter a Samaritan village. The villagers refuse to show this group any hospitality, because the destination of their travel was Jerusalem (remember, the typical Samaritan of Jesus’ time wanted nothing to do with Jews, and vice-versa). The disciples are insulted and want to retaliate… but Jesus essentially says “let it go.” 

As if that wasn’t discouraging enough, as they continued their journey, Jesus and his disciples encountered a man who seemed to be bursting at the seams to become one of Jesus’ disciples, saying to the Lord “I will follow you wherever you go!” But then Jesus speaks the truth to him, noting the fact that he and the disciples had no promise of a bed at the end of the day – rather, all that they could do is trust in God to provide for their needs. We don’t hear of exactly what became of the man, but it appears that this individual did not become a disciple that day. He was likely disillusioned by the demands of discipleship.

Then, Jesus calls out to another potential recruit “Follow me!” The response was “Let me go and bury my father first” – to which Jesus replied “Let the dead bury their dead – you go proclaim the Kingdom of God.” Ouch. Did Jesus actually say that?  Where did his compassion go?   

Not everything is as it might seem. In Jesus’ time, it was customary for the eldest son to remain available to his father (especially if the father had a farm or a business) until the father died, because that son would be heir to the family farm. This may well have been the situation that was at work in this encounter – the father was, most likely, still “alive and well” – and the man was referring to his cultural duty to “bury his father first” (even if that were to be years in the future) before undertaking a new direction in his life. It’s highly doubtful that the deceased father’s body was actually awaiting burial at the time the conversation took place. In a similar way, the third potential disciple cites family ties as a reason for his hesitancy to come after Jesus. Essentially, he does not see discipleship as a top priority.

What do these three encounters teach us about the demands of discipleship? Perhaps three things: those who follow Jesus must be ready to be without home and security; that discipleship takes precedence over family ties and obligations; and that the relationship between Jesus and his disciple is something that is permanent and unconditional. 

In other words, the person who is serious about being a disciple of Jesus Christ must be willing to prioritize following Christ and doing God’s will above everything else. Amazingly, though, when we “have our priorities straight” as disciples of the Lord, everything else tends to fall into place for our good and the good of others.

 

Peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Thursday
Jun202019

Reflection's - June 23, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

Catholics are no different than many of our fellow Americans – we tend to take things for granted.  We’re accustomed to flipping a switch in a dark room, and the space is filled with light.  We turn the faucet and out comes clean, fresh water.  We turn the key in the ignition (or press the start button) and the car is running, ready to take us to our destination.  We hardly give any of these things a second thought!

In our faith lives as Catholic Christians, it’s easy to take a number of things for granted – including what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, in Sacrosanctum Concilium (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), refer to as “the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows” (§10) – that is, the liturgy in which we encounter the real presence of Jesus himself under the form of bread and wine.  The Eucharist – the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is truly the epicenter of our faith.  And yet, it seems all too easy to come to Mass and receive Communion… and hardly give it a second thought,  It’s as if by rote, by routine, we set aside an hour a week to come to Church – perhaps we are able to focus on what’s happening in the proclamation of the Word, our unity in prayer, the calling forth of the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine on the altar and the enormous privilege we have to actually take into our bodies (and be literally – spiritually and physically - nourished by the presence of Jesus Christ become one with us as we eat his body and drink his blood).  But… it might be one of those days when we have a million distractions on our mind, the kids are restless in the pews and before we know it – we’re out in the Ramada milling around with friends and catching up on the events of the past week, hardly aware of what just happened inside Church. 

It’s good, then, that the Church annually celebrates this Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (known simply as Corpus Christi, “the Body of Christ,” in former days).  This solemnity can serve to be a “wake up call” if we find ourselves sleepwalking through the Mass and receiving Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Christ, without a second thought. 

It seems to me that another point worth reflecting upon as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is that each one of us (not just the priest, deacon and liturgical ministers) has a role to play when we come to church to participate in the celebration of the Mass.  As a seminary professor of mine used to observe: “Mass is not a spectator sport.” Sacrosanctum Concilium has this to say about everyone’s participation in the Eucharistic Liturgy: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism” §4.  The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy also admonishes us priests: “In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work” §14.

All of this is not meant to lay a burden on us when we come to Mass and receive the Body and Blood of Christ; rather it’s meant to enable us to joyfully celebrate the Mass together and to deepen the meaning of what we do Sunday after Sunday, growing in intimacy with our God and our ability to live as vibrant disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Thursday
Jun132019

Reflections - June 16, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate a “doctrinal feast” of our Church – one that’s central to our Catholic Christian Faith: the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. In celebrating this solemnity, we affirm our belief in something that ultimately cannot be fully understood through the use of human logic or reasoning: the fact that we have One God who is revealed to the world in three different ways (as three “Persons”) – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As the Preface of the Holy Trinity in the Second Edition of the Roman Missal (the Sacramentary) so well put it “Father, all-powerful and ever-living God… we joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of your Godhead” (i.e., divine nature). “You have revealed your glory as the glory also of your Son and of the Holy Spirit: three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.”

One God… three Persons. How can we even begin to understand this? In ancient Greece, theatre reached its high point some 500 years before Christ. In Greek society of the time, only men were allowed to be actors – or members of the chorus in a play. So that the audience could keep track of what actor was playing which character in the play, the actors would wear masks with exaggerated features so that all the audience could clearly see the character being portrayed. These masks were known as πρόσωπον (prosopn) in Greek – translated into Latin as persona and into English as person. Interestingly, the literal meaning of πρόσωπον is “who I am seen to be.”

So, in considering the concept of “Three Persons in One God,” it’s important that we try to avoid understanding the word “person” in the contemporary sense of “an individual.” We’re not talking about three different “people” in one God… rather, the ancient Church drew heavily on Greek concepts in defining Christian theology. The doctrine of the Trinity, then, refers to one (of one substance, or “consubstantial”) God who “is seen to be” Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One God, three “persona.” 

Okay. If we can begin to get our heads around that, the next logical question is “Why would God do that?” In studying Sacred Scripture (both Old and New Testaments), we see that God has different “attributes” – or functions – depending on the time and circumstance. These “attributes” are seen to be integral with each “persona” of God: the Father has the principal attribute of Creator, the Son has the principal attribute of Redeemer, the Holy Spirit has the principal attribute of Sanctifier. All one God, but three different ways of revealing Godself. We can also see in Scripture that the Three Persons are in relationship with one another: the Father calls Jesus his “beloved Son;” Jesus prays to – and does the will of – the Father; the Risen Christ ascends to the Father’s right hand so as to pour forth the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to be our Advocate and wisdom for the Church. This interrelationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit underscores the value and importance of relationship in our own human lives.  In fact, a great theologian of our Church, Karl Rahner, postulates that – as the Father “spoke” the Word of God into the world, and “the Word became flesh” (the Son, as we learn in the Prologue of John’s Gospel) – the love between the Father and the Son was so intense that that love of Father of Son and Son of Father actually “became” a third persona of God: the Holy Spirit. 

All of this is, of course, mind-boggling (as it should be) – after all, the Trinity IS a mystery! But, as we celebrate a God who loves us more than we can comprehend, hopefully we can just revel in the mysterious ways of our God!

 

Blessings and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Tuesday
Jun112019

Reflections - June 9, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the fiftieth and final day of the Easter Season as we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost.  This day is sometimes referred to as “the birthday of the Church,” for it was on Pentecost that the Holy Spirit – that “power from on high” referred to in last week’s Ascension Gospel – was poured out upon the disciples, to empower them in their mission to continue the work of Jesus’ ministry in the world.

The Holy Spirit – God - the Third Person of the Holy Trinity was not simply “given” to the disciples at Pentecost like some sort of tool to be used in their ministry – rather, the Holy Spirit come to the disciples to dwell within them… in other words, to be the very presence of God with them for all time… dwelling within each of them to guide them, to empower them to be able to live the way of the Gospel and to proclaim that Gospel “to the ends of the earth.”  In other words, the Holy Spirit was not some temporary gift, or a gift that could only be used at particular times but not at other times.  The Holy Spirit was given to the disciples in that upper room to be God’s presence with them always.

Now, I think that there are several points of great significance for us to reflect upon as we celebrate Pentecost 2019. The first is that the outpouring and indwelling of the Holy Spirit was not restricted to those first disciples in that upper room two millennia ago – each of us, as baptized Christians, receive the Holy Spirit first at our baptism, and then at our confirmation, that gift of God’s love for us is reaffirmed and strengthened as the Holy Spirit is called down upon us in this special sacrament. Think of it: God dwells within each one of us who is baptized and confirmed, filling us with the Spirit’s gifts (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, reverence, right judgement, courage and wonder and awe in God’s presence). These gifts of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit are always with us – in all circumstances, places and situations of our lives. Yet God, ever respectful of the gift of our free will that he has endowed all human beings with, never “forces” us to utilize these gifts.  Rather, God gives us the discretion of choosing to call upon the Holy Spirit or a specific gift within us to assist us in our lives – or not. Like any other gifts we are given, we can choose to allow the gift to gather dust – or we can put the gift to good use. It’s up to each one of us to call upon and use the Spirit’s gifts – but the choice to do so remains with each individual, as God will never compromise our free will.

As we celebrate the beginnings of our Church, this Pentecost gift of the Holy Spirit, may we remember that God, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, dwells within each of us to empower and guide each of us to live fully and joyfully as disciples of the Risen Christ. One more way that we are reminded that God’s love and care for you and me is unfathomable!

 

God’s peace and blessings,    

Rev Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor

 

Many of us have come to know and love Sister Carol Fleming, O.P. who – for some twelve years - has been a parishioner of St. Theresa. Over the years, Carol has served as a valued member of our Parish Pastoral Council, our Liturgy Committee, as a Lector and an advisor in many other capacities. To some, she was known fondly as “the flying nun” – keeping up with her many commitments of service across North America. In the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, Sr. Carol was a true servant-leader in our faith community and in her religious community, the Adrian Dominicans. Carol recently relocated to the community’s “headquarters” in Adrian, Michigan.  For those who would like to send her a note or keep in touch, her new address is:

Carol Fleming, O.P.

1269 East Siena Heights Dr.  Apt. 431

Adrian, MI 49221

May the Spirit of God continue to accomplish wonderful things in Sr. Carol’s life and ministry!