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
Tuesday
Jul102012

Reflection's - July 8, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters

A few days ago, I received an email with this quote, “Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.” Interestingly, this could be applied to prophets who some days are also pigeons and some days the statute.

 

In all the readings today, especially the gospel, God forewarned prophets of rejections and persecutions. As messengers of God, they take the higher moral ground to denounce social ills and moral evils. Consequently, they in effect denounced first the ruling class, Jewish authorities, and secondly, the moral degradation of the general populace. Jewish authorities oftentimes are offended, feeling alluded by the prophet’s reminders, guidance and often-stern warnings from Yahweh who sees them as, “hard face and obstinate of heart,” and rebellious by nature. But can the prophets say no to the Spirit? As St. Paul said, “Three times I begged…,” but the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:8) Whether their listeners heed or resist, the message of Yahweh must be proclaimed and revealed, be it popular or unpopular.

 

At this point allow me to be a bit philosophical. With the advent of relativism - whose ultimate goal denies anything that is definitive – advocates of this philosophy succeeded in re-structuring the concept of truth in favor of inflated ego and desires. In consequence the message of the prophets, the absolute truths of God, become obsolete and the relative truths of men become the absolute.

 

Today, the message of would-be prophets based on religious Creed is labeled Fundamentalism. While secular messages carried by winds of Modernism, Populism and Secularism such as: “freedom of choice, sexual revolutions, intellectual atheism and radical extreme relativism” become The NORM. Absolute truths become relative, and there is a seeming contempt on established doctrines/dogmas.

 

Unlike the days of John the Baptist, today’s secularism drowns the voice of the modern prophets who are tagged as, “religious dictators,” or “social deviants;” and conservatives responsible of social ills rather than a social and moral conscience of the secularized world.

 

Granting for the sake of argument we accept “absolute relativism” as The NORM and “absolute truth” as TABOO: Why should I exchange a “divine dictator” against hundreds of thousands of “relativist dictators” whose concept of truth “changes through time and space” (B. Villegas) and swims in the ocean of individual ego clamoring for mob acceptance? How can a million dictators guided by the “dictatorship of relativism – the greatest problem of our time” (Pope Benedict XVI) be better than one “divine dictator” whose army, weapons, tactics, military proficiency and mission is simply LOVE and CHARITY?

 

A prophet is not without honor except in his native place…” (Mk. 6:4) His journey is liken to, “The Road Less Traveled” – his main task is not to foretell the future, but to see present realities people refuse to see and forewarn them of the consequences of their blindness. In Jesus case, among his own he was without honor, familiarity blinded his kinsmen. They say, “familiarity breeds contempt,” but also, absolute contempt for what is familiar; traditions, dogmas and doctrines blinds, absolutely. Sometimes the less traveled roads, detours in life, actually become opportunities of a surprise encounter with God. One needs to be aware, sensitive, and open to possibilities when he travels these roads and detours to see the unknown in the familiar, enjoy the unfamiliar in the unknown and capture the entire moment in passing. An unknown author said, “A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.” Just as a truly happy prophet is one who enjoys his detours and the journey of the Road Less Traveled of God.

 

Be in God,

Fr. Bing Colasito

Associate Pastor

 

Tuesday
Jul102012

Reflection's - July 1, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

This Sunday’s gospel shows Jesus power over sickness and death. It also shows the inner struggle in man faced by these realities and the tension brought about by faith versus fear. How does the dynamics of faith work in these particular realities?

The woman hemorrhaging for twelve years tried everything medically possible but with no success - pushed toward desperation – her last hope was Jesus, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”(Mk. 5:28) In the same scene, Jairus a synagogue official also went to Jesus with an earnest request, “My daughter is at the point of death, please come and lay your hands on her.” (v.23) Although uncommon, it was humbling enough for a Jewish official in Jairus’ status to acknowledge Jesus’ ministry, but even more humbling was to seek Him with such an earnest request because it exposes the official’s faith in Jesus. The predicament of Jewish officials seeking Jesus happened a few times in the gospel – as words of Jesus’ extra ordinary healing power spread throughout Israel - many Jewish leaders secretly admire and believe him. Like them, Jairus developed a secret admiration of Jesus, but not until his daughter’s near death experience was this admiration transformed into faith. When everything seems lost and hopeless, GO TO JESUS: like the woman and Jairus, seek, discover and experience the person of Jesus. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Mt. 7:7)

There are people who do not want any thing connected with Jesus, they avoid Jesus’ talk, Jesus’ places, and Jesus’ people. Some have developed passive attitude, advocate subtle attack or adapt the “I am not worthy” approach to anything Jesus. Perhaps the example of Jairus and the woman can help: GO TO JESUS, HAVE FAITH IN JESUS. Have no fear to approach Jesus for He comes precisely for us, sinners. The woman approached and touched Jesus because she believed the healing power of Jesus. Jesus approached and touched the woman because He recognized her great faith.

Jairus feared the possible backlash of his action: overcoming this fear, he approached, humbly asked help and professed FAITH IN JESUS. When we are pushed “against the wall”, the gospel reminds us to GO TO JESUS AND HAVE FAITH IN JESUS. The scene of the hemorrhaging woman delayed Jairus’ earnest request to have Jesus come immediately to his house before it was too late, but true faith allows delays, setbacks, and even failures if only to allow God to work His greater glory. Initially, the faith of Jairus levels only to the knowledge of Jesus power to heal - the delay caused by the woman – elevated it to a greater level, FAITH in Jesus’ power over life and death. Sometimes God allows, delays, setbacks, and even failures to draw out that great faith within us, “He breaks our spirit to draw out faith and save our souls, breaks our heart to make us whole, brings us pain for us to be stronger.” (Anonymous)

Remember, whatever the odds, GO TO JESUS, REMAIN IN JESUS, HAVE FAITH IN JESUS.

 

Be in God,

Fr. Bing Colasito

Associate Pastor

 

Tuesday
Jul102012

Reflection's - June 24, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s feast is an unusual one to celebrate on a Sunday – it’s the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.  It’s one of the few feasts of the Church Year that actually takes precedence over a Sunday when the date of the feast day (June 24th) falls on a Sunday.  The last time we celebrated Nativity of John the Baptist at Sunday Mass was in 2007.

That this Solemnity overshadows the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time this year should give us a clue as to its importance in the “mind of the Church” and in our lives as Catholic Christians. 

John the Baptist, of course, was the forerunner of Christ – the last great prophet of the Old Testament.  John preached in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord and proclaiming the coming of Christ by saying things like “the straps of his sandals I am not worthy to unfasten” and    John and Jesus were “family” – John’s mother Elizabeth was a relative of Jesus’ mother, Mary... and when Mary, carrying Jesus in her womb went to visit her older and unexpectedly pregnant relative Elizabeth (who had, according to Luke’s Gospel, become pregnant six months prior to the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary), the baby leaped in the womb of Elizabeth, so close was humankind’s salvation.  Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John… as the voice from heaven proclaimed “This is my beloved Son – listen to him.”  John bore witness to Jesus, pointing out Jesus, proclaiming “Behold, the Lamb of God.”  John’s ultimate witness was to give his very life for Christ – he died a martyr’s death, being beheaded by Herod rather than compromising his integrity. 

John the Baptist’s presence is woven through the foundations of our Christian faith – and so, it is fitting that we honor and remember him on this June Sunday.  The Church began celebrating John’s birth in the 4th century.  Tellingly, and in accord with Luke 1:36, this feast of the Nativity of John falls six months prior to the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord – Christmas.  Reflecting on the words of John the Baptist “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30),  St. Augustine found the date of this feast (near the summer solstice) appropriate because, after the celebration of John’s birth, daylight begins to grow shorter whereas after Jesus’ birth, daylight begins to increase. 

As we celebrate the Birth of John the Baptist, may we follow his example in preparing the way of the Lord… and embracing John’s attitude to Christ as our own: “He must increase, I must decrease.”   

 

Peace and joy in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

p.s. I will be away for my annual vacation through the month of July; you will be in my prayers – I ask you to remember me in yours.   May God grant us all a safe and relaxing summer!

 

Monday
Jun182012

Reflection's - June 17, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

It was good to have Bishop Jim Wall of the Diocese of Gallup with us last weekend for our Summer Mission Appeal… he felt very welcomed by our community and energized by his “homecoming weekend,” pointing out – “every priest always has a special place in his heart for the parish in which he first served as a priest.”  He and I reminisced about a number of funny (and some serious) stories of our experiences as pastor and associate pastor of St. Theresa, when “Fr. Jim” was beginning his life as a priest in our parish.  One fact that the Bishop also reminded me of (which was touching for him to remember) was that I was the first priest he ever spoke to about his thinking of becoming a priest… I had just begun my service as Pastor of St. Theresa (having completed a six-year term as Vocation Director for the Diocese) and the now-bishop, as a freshly-minted college graduate living in the East Valley and working in retail sales, contacted me (thinking I was still the Vocation Director).  That contact led to a subsequent trip together (in which I took a vanload of assorted guys discerning a vocation) to St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA.  Such began a friendship which has grown over the course of some twenty years.

Bishop Wall spoke in his homilies last weekend of his ministry not only here at St. Theresa from 1998 to 2001, but also as the Fourth Bishop of Gallup – and how varied, multicultural and vast his diocese is.  He mentioned the solidarity we have as Catholics here at St. Theresa with our brothers and sisters of the Gallup Diocese: 55,000 square miles, straddling the northeastern part of Arizona and the northwestern part of New Mexico – a diocese including reservation territories of seven Native American tribes, stunning landscapes and a rich history of Catholicism stretching back into the 1600’s.  The Diocese of Gallup is wealthy in beauty, tradition and in its Catholic Faith, but also has much need and quite a bit of poverty… and so is still considered one of the United States’ neediest mission dioceses.

Given the connection of St. Theresa Parish with the Fourth Bishop of Gallup, our Parish Pastoral Council agreed that an ongoing parish outreach to the Diocese of Gallup would be a worthwhile endeavor for us to pursue as a community.  The Appeal last weekend was the first step in that effort, and a successful one at that: so far, contributions to the Mission Appeal for the benefit of the Gallup Diocese stand at an impressive $7679.50… this says a great deal about the generosity of our parishioners, particularly when one considers the fact that the appeal took place on a weekend when many of our families were away on vacation!  As Pastor of St. Theresa, I feel very proud of the empathy of this community and I thank all who assisted in this generous response to the needs of our sister diocese.  Ultimately, it is my goal – and the goal of the Parish Pastoral Council – that we would provide some type of hands-on, physical opportunities for St. Theresa Parishioners to assist with projects in the Diocese of Gallup.  Bishop Wall will be in touch with us regarding suitable possibilities of that nature.   

Thank you once again for your warm and generous response to our “visitor bishop and former associate pastor,” and for all that you do to support (in so many ways) the Church within St. Theresa Parish, the Diocese of Phoenix and beyond.  We are truly one Body of Christ.

May God, who has begun his good work in us, continue to bring it to fulfillment!

 

In Christ’s peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

p.s. Those who have not had the chance to participate in our Summer Mission Appeal but would like to do so are invited to drop a check payable to “Diocese of Gallup” into the weekend collection basket; we will see that it reaches Bishop Wall.

 

Monday
Jun182012

Reflection's - June 10, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

Only God could think of such a way to achieve intimacy with us.  Only God could become physically part of us – one with us – when we say “Amen” to God’s initiative… and outstretch our hands or our tongue. Only God, in His unfathomable love for us, would consent to become our food and drink!

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, known in former times as Corpus Christi. By whatever name we call this day, it provides an annual opportunity for us Catholic Christians to reflect on and relish the incredible gift we are given as recipients of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. 

Like last weekend’s Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, this weekend’s celebration highlights a core mystery of our faith.  We can ponder a mystery, meditate on a mystery, accept a mystery as reality through the eyes and heart of faith – but this is a mystery that is impossible for us to “solve,” completely comprehend or totally “wrap our minds around” – at least not in this life.  And that’s okay. We don’t have to completely understand the mystery in order to accept the mystery.  Scientists can’t explain, for instance, the “mystery” of dark matter or dark energy in the universe – yet, though inexplicable and unquantifiable in human terms, it’s accepted as fact by astrophysicists and others who study such things.

The mystery of Christ’s Body and Blood being really and truly present under the appearance of bread and wine in the Eucharist defies logical, human explanation. But, for the person of faith, that should be no great obstacle! We believe that God is capable of doing anything. For God to choose to gift us with the Body and Blood of his Son – but in so doing, make it palatable to us by presenting this inestimable Gift as ordinary bread and wine, changed in substance but not in appearance (what the Church refers to as transubstantiation) into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus – should not be beyond our ability to accept in faith. God, who can accomplish anything and everything, and who loves us more than we can ever comprehend, chooses to become one with us by becoming our food and drink.

Of course, God never forces us to believe. God always respects our God-given free will. God always makes the initiative and awaits our response. God offers us the gift of Eucharist – and we are free to “take it or leave it.” Many, down through the centuries, have chosen the latter… struggling to accept the mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ being “real food and real drink” – from the very beginnings of our faith (see the Bread of Life Discourse in John’s Gospel, especially John 6: 52-59) to the present day when some Christians reject this ancient reality of the Eucharist and claim that “it’s just a symbol” or “that’s just a way of remembering the Last Supper.”  

How blest we are, though… who can accept in faith this staggering gift of Christ’s Body and Blood as our Bread of Life and Cup of Eternal Salvation, knowing that God is achieving the greatest degree of intimate love with us as we receive the Eucharist!

 

Grace and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor