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 27, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

Following our September 24th “Evening of Prayer and Discussion” regarding the various levels of crisis surrounding the Church’s dealing with sexual abuse, I promised that I would do my best to keep the community informed of developments and/or progress made in addressing the concerns that all of us share as Catholics.  Now that the rush of the Thanksgiving through New Year’s “holiday season” is behind us, I thought it time to update you on a few developments.

Many of us are aware that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at their annual meeting in November was poised to vote on adopting various protocols for how bishops and cardinals could be held to accountability for either mishandling abuse claims in their dioceses or being perpetrators of abuse themselves.  On the first day of that meeting, the President of the USCCB announced that “at the insistence of the Holy See” the bishops would not be voting on the measures after all.  Many people – including bishops – were frustrated, disappointed and felt that the Holy Father was being obstructionist or telling the bishops to drag their feet, perpetuating a sense of cover-up.  Unfortunately most media outlets only added fuel to these flames, increasing a sense of divisiveness in our Church.  However, on January 1st, the Associated Press released the “backstory” on why the Vatican put the brakes on the vote (go to to see a copy of the article).  Essentially, U.S. church leaders didn’t sufficiently discuss the legally problematic proposals with the Holy See before the USCCB meeting (as they are required to do).  The draft proposals to be voted on only arrived at the Vatican on Nov. 8, four days before the U.S. bishops’ meeting began.  While the Vatican is known for its slow pace, even the speediest bureaucracy would have found it difficult to review and sign off on sensitive legal documents in that time.  The Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops wrote: “Considering the nature and scope of the documents being proposed by the (conference), I believe it would have been beneficial to have allowed for more time to consult with this and other congregations with competence over the ministry and discipline of bishops,” since the Holy See has exclusive authority to investigate and discipline problem bishops.  

So – far from being obstructionist, Pope Francis had already called the US Bishops to take a decidedly un-American approach to the problem: instead of holding a knee-jerk type of vote (the subject of which apparently was already causing factions among the bishops), he challenged the bishops to enter into prayer and discernment.  He provided the services of Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household, to lead a “mandatory” retreat earlier in January for some 280 US Bishops, gathering a group of men publicly divided over a host of issues for prayer and meditation away from daily pressures.  Their reflection was guided by a hard-hitting 8 page letter from the Holy Father, received as the retreat began, in which Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with the bishops during the retreat and urged them to draw on the Holy Spirit’s guidance as they reflected on how to combat the “culture of abuse” and work together with the Holy Father and all the world’s bishops toward restoring credibility to the Church.  

Pope Francis is scheduled to enter into deliberations with the presidents of all the world’s bishops’ conferences in late February, to ensure that there will be worldwide applicability in working toward healing the brokenness of our Church and bringing renewed hope to Catholics everywhere.    

Our Holy Father is bringing a very Ignatian approach to collaborating with the bishops to address the crisis:  prayer, discernment and then action.  (No doubt misguided “actions” of some bishops in the past – taken without much prayer and discernment – have been a great contributor to the mess we find ourselves in today!) 

We continue to pray for Pope Francis, our bishops, all women and men who minister in the Church and all members of the People of God as we move through this present darkness, guided by the light of Christ.   

                                                                                                                                                            Grace and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer



p.s. In the spirit of continued transparency, I hope to host another open-forum discussion (like that of September 24th) for our community sometime in March, once we hear and can process the results of the late February meeting at the Vatican of Pope Francis with the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences.  Stay tuned!



Reflections - January 20, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for your patience with today’s “alternate” Mass schedule to accommodate the Sunday morning street closures in our neighborhood, due to the running of the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Some of you who have been with us for several years recall a time that we had worked with the City and the marathon organizers to figure out ways to allow members of our community to be allowed to cross the barriers on their way to and from church on Sunday morning. We tried special passes – but inevitably some of the police guarding the barriers didn’t receive word about the passes, so parishioners weren’t allowed to cross as they had been promised.  Other parishioners who were aware that there would be challenges in attempting to drive to St. Theresa on the morning of the marathon simply stayed home or went elsewhere to Mass.  So finally, we decided simply to change Mass times on the day of the marathon – a less-than-optimal solution (as it does cause confusion), but at least it prevents frustration on the part of our community members.

The very first year of what was then known as the PF Chang Rock ‘n Roll Marathon, the marathon course was set to be run along McDowell Road through Phoenix and Scottsdale. The many car dealerships that were at one time situated on McDowell Road were apoplectic because their businesses were affected by the closure of McDowell. So, after the auto dealers voiced their complaints, the marathon course was changed to what it is today. Evidently there was no consideration given to the several churches that are adversely affected by the Sunday road closures (one of which is The Bridge United Methodist Church just west of us along Thomas Road) and the small businesses (e.g., Ingleside Animal Hospital, also just west of us) that serve our community on Sundays.

The major auto dealerships along McDowell Road in Scottsdale have largely relocated or closed altogether. Other cities will accommodate marathons by closing down one side of a freeway for the runners, and change the other side temporarily to accommodate 2-way traffic (or, close the freeway altogether and divert the traffic to other freeways or city streets) –    either option allows runners and drivers to peacefully co-exist, while allowing neighborhood residents to have access to their places of worship and those businesses that serve the local community.  

Perhaps the time has come for our community to again petition city and marathon leadership for a change that will “free” our neighborhoods on the Lord’s Day. Phoenix residents can contact Mayor Williams at or by phone at 602.262.7111; Scottsdale parishioners can contact Mayor Lane by phone at 480.312.2433 or e-mail him at Community relations contact for the marathon is Sage Melley ( or 623.252.2485). The local representative for our parish on the Phoenix City Council is Councilman Sal DiCiccio (

Who knows? If a sufficient number of local residents make their feelings known, maybe we can return to a regular Sunday schedule on future “marathon Sundays!”


Peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




Reflections - January 13, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters,

Yes, those are Christmas trees, lights and the Christmas crèche still present in our sanctuary and baptistery areas… even though society and the retailers have left Christmas a distant memory and now busy focusing on Valentine’s Day!

It’s not because we haven’t gotten around to packing up the Christmas décor, but because the Christmas Season in the Catholic Church comes to a conclusion with today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. We Catholics take our time drinking in – and reflecting on – the meaning of the Incarnation, that incredible mystery of God-made-flesh in Jesus Christ. Because there are so many facets of this mystery, we go a week beyond the traditional “Twelve Days of Christmas” (which we reached in the January 6th Solemnity of the Epiphany). 

And so, as we consider the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John… how does this inform our contemplation of the co-existent humanity and divinity of Jesus that we have celebrated throughout this Christmas Season?

Well, since we celebrated the Nativity of our Lord on December 25th, we have come forward in marking the events of some three decades in the life of Jesus Christ – most of in the “family business” of carpentry, growing in wisdom, grace, knowledge of the Torah and intimacy with his Heavenly Father. 

Now we celebrate Christ’s baptism in the Jordan – and the moment that the Holy Spirit descended on him, proclaiming Jesus as God’s beloved Son in whom God is well pleased. This was the event that opened the door to that phase of Jesus’ life that we have come to know as his “public ministry.” John the Baptist speaks of the baptism he administered as being “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Clearly, then, this was not why Jesus approached John to be baptized. Why then did Jesus receive John’s baptism? Some of the words of the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer in today’s Liturgy help us to answer this question: “For in the waters of the Jordan you revealed with signs and wonders a new Baptism, so that through the voice that came down from heaven we might come to believe in your Word dwelling among us, and by the Spirit’s descending in the likeness of a dove we might know that Christ your Servant has been anointed with the oil of gladness and sent to bring the good news to the poor.”

Jesus submitted to John’s baptism precisely to set an example for us: he established “a new baptism” as a template for his followers, he himself made holy the waters of the Jordan in which he was baptized… in turn making holy the waters of all who are baptized in his name.  The descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus as he emerged from the Jordan and the voice from heaven proclaiming him to be God’s beloved Son “set the stage,” so to speak, for Jesus to begin his ministry of proclaiming the reign of God. This too is an example for each of us, in that we too receiving an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as we are baptized and confirmed – and, we receive the affirmation of being a beloved son or daughter of God as we are initiated into God’s family.

Indeed, there is much to celebrate as we conclude the Christmas Season!


Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer




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



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