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 - January 6, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate that Solemnity of the Christmas Season that has the odd name: Epiphany. As I’ve mentioned in past years, this word comes from the Greek θεοφάνεια, meaning “a manifestation” or “revealing.” In some of the Eastern Churches, this feast of the Epiphany of the Lord is sometimes called the Theophany – or the revealing of God in Christ.

In the Roman Catholic calendar, we have situated the celebration of this Solemnity on the second Sunday after Christmas – since it’s such a significant feast in our salvation history, the traditional date of Epiphany is “moved” to a Sunday so that more people are able to take part in the celebration than would be able to participate if the Solemnity fell during the week.

This year, though, by the “accident” of the overlapping of the civil calendar with the Church’s calendar, we have the opportunity to celebrate the Epiphany on its traditional date of January 6th, since the 6th is the second Sunday after Christmas. In 2019, the celebration of the Epiphany actually occurs on the twelfth day of Christmas – (for centuries, the January 6th Epiphany of the Lord was considered to be the final day of the Christmas Season… this 12-day period is the origin of that famous English carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”). 

Aside from being a touchpoint for a popular carol, Epiphany has a profound meaning for us as Christians. In those Gospel verses considered to be part of the “Infancy Narratives” explaining the events surrounding the birth of our Savior, it is on the Epiphany that non-Jews (Gentiles) first behold and reverence Christ as the “Newborn King.”  The Magi come from the East – outside the Jewish territory – to pay homage to the Infant in the manger. The “wise men” are from outside the Jewish community; they had no expectation of or longing for the Messiah… yet they knelt in wonder in the presence of Jesus, having been drawn by a star to bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to this Child. They open their coffers – and their hearts – to the wonder of God-made-Flesh.

This Solemnity proclaims to us that God’s salvation, promised through the prophets to the Chosen People of Israel, has been poured out upon all people: Jews and Gentiles alike. In the visit of the Magi to the Manger of Bethlehem, and in their return to their own lands, Christ is symbolically revealed as Savior of the world. God’s love has become enfleshed in Jesus Christ in order to welcome every man and woman into loving intimacy with our Creator; God’s offer of salvation in Christ is a universal offer, not something restricted to a particular group, or to those of a certain ethnic and religious origin... but to all who have been created in God’s image and likeness.

What an awesome message this twelfth day of Christmas brings to us!


Peace and joy in the Newborn King,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




Reflections - December 30, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph this weekend, the Church gives us the choice of choosing between one of two different epistles to use as our second reading for Mass: 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24 and Colossians 3:12-21. The ability to choose from among various options for liturgical readings is only given to us a few times per year.  In this particular case, I wish we could hear both readings as we celebrate the Holy Family… as both contain wonderful messages for us!

In the First Letter of John, we hear these words: “Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. And so we are… we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not been revealed.”  What an encouraging message this is for us – we are, right now, part of God’s family. God has filled us with love beyond imagining so that we can be God’s daughters and sons. That in itself could give us hours of meditation on the Feast of the Holy Family!

St. Paul, in his Letter to the Colossians, gives us some marvelous advice for achieving and maintaining family harmony – and indeed, harmony amongst all people: “Put on (clothe yourselves) as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And, over all these things, put on love, that is the bond of perfection. Let the peace of Christ control your hearts… and be thankful.” No matter what our particular configuration of “family” might be, can you imagine what the results would be in our family life if we were to take these words to heart? If this approach to life were to be extended to our workplace, our schools, our American society and politics, and ultimately to relationships among nations… what could the potential be? Perhaps bullying and put-downs would become extinct. Civility would return to human discourse. Respect, tolerance and the dignity of all human life “from the womb to the tomb” would flourish. We would be able to recognize all people – regardless of religion, gender, race, national origin, politics, legal status, sexual orientation, language… as truly being children of God. 

It’s wonderful to imagine such a world, isn’t it?

Friends, we don’t have to simply “imagine” such a world.  We can begin to make it happen – first, by recognizing our own family (whatever form that might take) as a “holy family” of God’s sons and daughters. We can begin to put into action those qualities that St. Paul encourages the Colossians to embrace… and then, little by little, we can allow those qualities to guide us in all of our relationships – trusting that nothing is impossible for God.      

We are about to begin a new calendar year, 2019. May God’s grace sustain us in the year ahead… and may the Holy Spirit always empower us to live out our Christian discipleship as members of God’s Holy Family.


With love and prayers,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




Reflections - December 23, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

The celebration of Christ’s first coming in history (Christmas) is literally a few hours away, with Christmas Eve falling on Monday and Christmas Day on Tuesday of this week. Hopefully our preparation for this celebration in terms of shopping, decorating, etc. is pretty well completed… and, as Advent quickly winds down, we are able to say confidently that we have made strides in our inward preparation as well: keeping our focus on the true meaning of Christmas as well as on our state of preparedness to meet the Lord at his Second Coming, when he returns in glory at a time we cannot predict to judge all the peoples of the earth. 

How can we best use these “final hours” of Advent to continue building our readiness to celebrate the gift of God’s Son at Christmas and be as prepared as possible to meet him when he returns in glory? 

I think that one way this can happen is for us to resolve to be as patient and welcoming as possible when we come to the parish for Christmas Masses... letting the warmth of our hospitality shine forth. We all remember the role of the innkeeper in the Christmas story, telling Joseph and Mary (who was pregnant with Jesus) that there was “no room for them at the inn.”  The couple and child within the womb were left to fend for themselves, finally finding space for the night (and a place to give birth) in a stable.

When our brothers and sisters (some of whom have not been to church for a while) arrive for Mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, will they find welcome… or “no room at the inn?” Will they be greeted in a friendly way by us “regulars” – even if they’ve taken a spot in our favorite pew? Will we be willing to give up some space in the pew by squeezing tighter together so that they can have a place to sit (or maybe even give up our seat altogether to accommodate the visitor)? Will they encounter loving patience from us if they have a “noisy child” or instead be met by a scowl? On leaving our campus, will they encounter courtesy in the parking lot?  Will they want to come back to St. Theresa?

I can’t begin to tell you how many times throughout the year that I am approached by visitors after Mass and told “Father, this is such a welcoming community” or “this parish is so alive – I felt so good attending Mass here today” or “I wish the people at my parish back home were as friendly as they are here.” This is proverbial “music to the ears” of a Pastor, and a great reminder to me of how blest I am to serve as pastor of such a hospitable and welcoming community. These compliments about our community, directed to me by our guests, reaffirm for me that St. Theresa parishioners are a very special group of people.  Thank you for helping make newcomers and visitors feel welcome throughout the year.

Especially at major feasts like Christmas and Easter, let’s remember that each of us is an “innkeeper” of sorts… with the ability to warmly welcome and make a difference to the “stranger,” maybe assisting that person on their first steps back to regular practice of their Catholic faith.


Grace and peace in the Christ who is to come,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




Reflections - December 16, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

We are at that point of our Season of Advent when the Church “shifts gears” from encouraging our preparation and readiness to meet the Lord when he returns in glory at his Second Coming… to an emphasis on our preparations to celebrate the Lord’s First Coming at Christmas. This Advent change of direction occurs gradually each year, culminating on December 17th – beginning this week, you will notice a change in the nature of our scripture readings at Mass as well as the prayers that we use in our liturgies. For instance, the opening prayer for this Third Sunday of Advent brings together both themes of awaiting the future fullness of salvation’s joy as we prepare for the celebration Christmas: ”O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing…”

So, as we move into this second part of Advent, it’s good to take a look at how we are preparing ourselves to celebrate Christmas, the First Coming of Jesus in history. Sure, there are the typical seasonal festivities and activities – the decorating, the parties, the shopping for gifts.  But is that all? Would it be possible to work a bit of extra prayer time into our already-hectic schedules, just to give thanks to God for the gift of his Son and all God’s graces and blessings in our lives? Perhaps we can take a little “break” from our typically seasonal preparations and craziness to visit a friend in hospital, or to make a phone call to someone we know finds this time of year difficult for one reason or another.  If we have the requisite talent (and don’t turn cookies into hockey pucks like I do), maybe baking a batch for a neighbor, co-worker or friend who isn’t on our regular gift-giving list, simply to thank them for their presence in our lives.

May these upcoming days of Advent be an opportunity to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s coming in time by exercising the gifts of our discipleship – along with the lights, the tinsel and all the other traditions that make this such a beautiful time of year!


Advent grace and peace,   

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer



Advent thoughts from a Junior High student of St. Theresa Catholic School…

During this Advent, we are all preparing for the birth of Christ on Christmas.  It's important for us to focus on light, which is a main theme of Advent.  Christ is the light of the world and guides us through darkness.  During the Christmas season, there are many examples of this.  We light the candles on our Advent wreaths to symbolize our preparation for His birth and for the flame of eternal life.  There are Christmas lights everywhere, reminding us of God's presence in our lives which brings us joy, peace, hope, and faith.  During our last school Mass, we were reminded to be the best people we can be by using Catholic values when we act.  Even though we receive presents at Christmas, the light is the most important thing, the light of Christ, the greatest gift God gave to the world.  May you enjoy all the gifts of Advent and Christmas and may your holiday season be bright with His light.



Reflections - December 9, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

Recently I had a conversation with a visitor who continues to struggle with the perception that Pope Francis and the Holy See (i.e., the governance of our Church at the level of the Vatican) is downplaying, covering up or failing to adequately respond to the sexual misconduct scandals that have rocked our Church. This sense of frustration and anger is understandable; I can honestly say I, along with the majority of priests and bishops I know, have experienced tremendous heartache, anger and felt a sense of betrayal as the new details about the abuse scandal have come to light along with the knowledge of how the institutional Church has handled (or mishandled) credible allegations of sexual misconduct of priests and bishops in the past.

So, why hasn’t our Holy Father Francis taken more immediate, visible and perhaps drastic action in responding to the revelations? I think that there are some points of critical importance that have to be taken into consideration when we try to assess Pope Francis’ response.

First, we have to realize that – as Americans – we live in a very particular culture at a particular point in history where we are accustomed to fast food, lightning-speed Google search results and “instant gratification” as we are inundated with tweets, social media and a news cycle that is more reactionary than anything else. So, it’s natural for us to wonder “Why didn’t the Pope reply immediately to various questions posed to him about the scandals, or about conjectures about the Pope’s own integrity as he leads the Church through this storm?” and “Why did the Holy Father ask the US Bishops, meeting in Baltimore a few weeks ago, to delay voting on new policies for holding US bishops accountable for their dealing with abusers?”  These are questions that many reasonable Americans would ask.

But in contemplating these questions, we should remember that (according to Catholic belief) Pope Francis is empowered by the Holy Spirit as the Vicar of Christ on earth, responsible for guiding the Church throughout the world – not just in our own country, not just for Americans who are used to instant results. Our Holy Father realizes that crimes of abuse have happened in every country in the world where priests and bishops have used their power to take criminal advantage of the vulnerable – and he has to discern how best ministers of the Church throughout the world can be faithful to their call to reflect Christ in their ministry. Along with his advisors, Pope Francis is charting the course so that policies can be developed that will be applicable in India, in Spain, in Chile, in Uganda, in the United States, Ireland, the Philippines, Germany… everywhere. In order to properly discern the best course of action, the Holy Father has to listen, to pray, to consult and reflect... and call others to do so as well. This is something that requires a great deal of effort and deliberation – and research into how the root causes of abuse can be effectively addressed, as well as how it was possible that an abuser can climb the ladder of power in the Church and end up as head of a religious order or as a cardinal archbishop. Superficial, quick answers from the Pope are not appropriate in matters such as these, nor are hastily-crafted policies or directives from the Holy See or from a single nation’s Bishops’ Conference. While “putting it off” is unacceptable, we must recognize that dealing with this multifaceted issue will take time and deliberation.

Our Holy Father is taking unprecedented steps to heal and to move toward needed reform in our Church: he has summoned the presidents of all the world’s National Bishops’ Conferences to Rome in February to help discern the direction forward. Pope Francis has also called all the bishops of the United States to come together for a retreat in January in order to prayerfully reflect on what can be done so that our Church can grow holier as a result of the pain and scandal.  The Pope has also consistently asked Catholics worldwide for our prayers so that – in dealing with these issues – “we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead.”  What is needed is trust in God.


Advent grace and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer



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