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
Apr032012

Reflections - March 18, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

It’s a huge “run on” sentence (if I wrote something like it in grade school, I’m sure I would have ended up with some red marks on my English assignment). As ungainly as the sentence is, it packs quite a punch for us as we enter into the Fourth Week of Lent.  The sentence I’m speaking of is the first of three in our second reading (Ephesians 2:4-10). 

“Brothers and Sisters: God who is rich in mercy because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ – by grace you have been saved –, raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”  The verse that follows is a bit more manageable:  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.”

What powerful, refreshing words these are – words of strength, words of mercy, words of hope.  We are being reminded that God finds it impossible NOT to love us… even when we are dead in sin.  If we open ourselves to it, God pours out on us his forgiveness and love as a free, no-strings-attached gift (that’s what “grace” is).  God’s gracious gift of love and forgiveness is nothing we can possibly earn or merit through good works – God’s love and forgiveness is given to us simply because that’s who God is.  God is love.

When we accept God’s gracious love, when we embrace the gift of God’s forgiveness… it’s then that we naturally want to respond by a life lived doing good works. The good works on our part come as a result of God’s free gift of love and forgiveness – a life well-lived is our response to our loving God, the good works we do in no way “earn” us God’s love.  The good works we do are the natural fruit, the natural outcome, of the faith we have in the fact that God indeed bestows on us his love and forgiveness… as a free gift.

Why is it so difficult for us to accept this?  Why do we (almost inevitably) fall into the heresy of thinking that we somehow have to work to earn God’s love?  That you and I have to pay some sort of price in order to merit God’s forgiveness?

Perhaps it’s because so much of the love and acceptance we experience (and give) in life is conditional.  We base our love and acceptance of another on whether that person lives up to certain standards or expectations that we set for them, consciously or unconsciously.   “I’ll love you as long as you ___” or, “I’ll accept you as long as you aren’t ___ or don’t ___” (fill in the blank).  It’s extremely hard – if not impossible – for us frail human beings to love unconditionally.   But God, who is Love, can do nothing but. Unconditionally. Lavishly. Unendingly. 

God simply awaits our openness to his love, his forgiveness.

 

In Christ’s peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

Tuesday
Mar132012

Reflections - March 11, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

By now you have noticed (I’m sure!) a change in the processional and introductory rites of Sunday Masses in these past couple of weeks at St. Theresa.  Rather than the usual greeting by the cantor followed by the opening song, for the Season of Lent we’ve adopted a more meditative and “quieting” way to begin the Liturgy.  At the sound of three chimes, the community rises and the procession of ministers begins to the sanctuary.  Once the ministers arrive at the bottom step of the sanctuary and bow to the altar, the Entrance Antiphon of the day is chanted by the cantor.  Once the priest reverences the altar and arrives at the presider’s chair, the Mass continues with the sign of the cross, apostolic greeting and invitation to the Penitential Act – a simple Kyrie chanted by the celebrant and responded to by the assembly. Then follows the Collect, or Opening Prayer after which everyone is seated for the Liturgy of the Word. (The Gloria, of course, is always omitted Mass during Lent).

The unaccompanied chant of the Entrance Antiphon and the Penitential Act, along with moments of silence surrounding those chants, conveys a sense of austerity during the Sundays of the Lenten Season – hopefully allowing us to quiet our minds and hearts, focusing on the mystery of God’s forgiving love (and our response to that love) as we enter into our celebration of the Eucharist. 

The Entrance Antiphon, a verse or two from the Psalms or another part of scripture, is provided by the Church for each specific Mass throughout the year, to help center us on the mysteries we’re about to celebrate. Today, for instance, at all Masses except the 9AM Mass, the chanted antiphon comes from Psalm 84: “The sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for her young: by your altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God.  Blessed are they who dwell in your house, forever singing your praise.” At the 9 o’clock, where the First Scrutiny is being celebrated for the catechumens (and the Gospel of the Samaritan Woman is read), the Entrance Antiphon chant comes from John’s Gospel: “For anyone who drinks it, says the Lord, the water I shall give will become in him a spring welling up to eternal life.” 

My hope is that – as each of us becomes more and more accustomed to the beautiful new Mass texts of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, the additional quiet times and chant afforded by the Lenten Liturgy will lead us into a deeper appreciation of God’s presence in our lives and the awesomeness of our encounter with Christ in the Eucharist.      

May our merciful God continue to guide us through this holy and joyful season!

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

In addition to the regular Saturday afternoon time (3:30-4:30PM), Confessors are available in the church on Wednesdays of Lent from 5:00 until 6:00PM.  Alternate times for Confession are always available as well… just call the Parish Office to schedule an appointment with a priest!

 

Monday
Mar052012

Reflections - March 4, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

The Church gives us a very interesting selection of scripture readings today,for this Second Sunday of Lent (Year B).

We start out with the practically incomprehensible story of Abraham going up the mountain with his only son, Isaac, and preparing to offer him in sacrifice – at God’s command.  Egad!  What kind of God do we have, that he would ask Abraham to do such a thing? Answer: a God “who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all” (Romans 8:32).  Abraham’s actions, as recorded in Genesis, were a prefigurement of the sacrifice of his Only Son that God the Father would ultimately make for the sake of our salvation. Abraham becomes a model of faith; Isaac becomes a “type,” or image of Christ, in his exemplary willingness to accept God’s will – even if it means his own death. After seeing the depth of Abraham’s faith, though, God sends a messenger to Abraham to halt the sacrifice of his son.

The result of this whole experience for Abraham was a radical transformation in his life.  Trusting in God, open to doing God’s will (no matter how excruciatingly painful it would have been for him), Abraham’s life is turned inside out and he is blest beyond his wildest expectations. Not unlike the incredible transformation brought about in the lives of Peter, James and John as the witness the Transfiguration of Jesus (also taking place on top of a mountain) that we hear about in the Gospel (Mark 9: 2-10).

What amazing passages for our reflection these reading are! We are still relatively early along in our Lenten journey… and so, it seems more than appropriate that we give some thought and prayer to themes of self-denial, sacrifice, commitment to doing God’s will and the incredible transformation and blessings that can come about as a result of embracing these disciplines that are integral to our observance of Lent.

Also worthy of our reflection is in in-depth contemplation of the second reading of today’s Mass (Romans 8: 31b-34), which begins with the question “If God is for us, who can be against us?” But I would also invite us to go just a bit beyond the confines of today’s passage from Romans, and include in our prayer the verses (35-39) that take us to the resounding conclusion of chapter 8: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Lenten blessings and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

In addition to the regular Saturday afternoon time (3:30-4:30PM), confessors will be available in the church on Wednesdays of Lent from 5:00 until 6:00PM. Alternate times for Confession are always available as well… just call the parish office to schedule an appointment with a priest!

 

Friday
Feb242012

Reflections - February 26, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

Once again, we have entered that wonderful season of renewal and growth that we know as Lent.  Far from a time of drudgery and penance where we focus solely on “giving things up,” Lent is a time when we are given (and take advantage of) opportunities to strengthen our spiritual life and give our discipleship in the Lord Jesus an annual “tune up.”

Yes, repentance and “giving something up” is part of the Lenten program – just as “doing something extra” and rejoicing in God’s unbounded forgiveness and love is. In my opinion, though, it seems important to maintain the perspective that these 40 days are a time for “self-improvement, with God’s help, in our spiritual lives and lives of discipleship.” If we choose to let it be so, this Lent can be a time of deepening our spiritual roots and blossoming forth new growth as Christ’s disciples. Many of you have heard me mention, in past years, that the word Lent is derived from the old-English word “lecten” or “springtime.”  Lent, then, provides us a “springtime of spirituality” – a time for new growth and vigor in our relationship with God and our service to others.

The first step in this process though – in a way not unlike making ready a spring garden – is to “pull out the weeds and prepare the soil.”   As we were signed with blest ashes last Wednesday, we heard one of two formulas prayed: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  This admonition came immediately following the prayer of blessing, prayed by the priest over the ashes of burnt palms, which includes the words: “O God, who are moved by acts of humility and respond with forgiveness to works of penance, lend your merciful ear to our prayers…” 

What are those things that I ought to turn away from – those acts of selfishness, overindulgence, impatience, grudges held… just to name a few examples – so that I can “get the garden ready” for the springtime of Lent?  What are some of the things I’ve been putting off – giving unused clothing and household items to St. Vincent de Paul, visiting that relative in the nursing home, resolving to participate in a daily Mass at least once in addition to Sunday, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, etc.? Weeds to be pulled, seeds to be planted in the “garden of Lent,” all in the spirit of growing in the fullness of Jesus Christ. All with the backdrop of remembering that “to dust we shall return.” Time in this life is fleeting – in the words of St. Paul writing to his community at Corinth, “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

May the days of Lent ahead of us be filled with growth, new life and spiritual fruit borne in abundance!

 

In Christ’s peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

 

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

In addition to the regular Saturday afternoon time (3:30-4:30PM), Confessors will be available in the church on Wednesdays of Lent from 5:00 until 6:00PM.  Alternate times for Confession are always available as well… just call the parish office to schedule an appointment with a priest!

 

Friday
Feb242012

Reflections - February 19, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

Do you have an adult child who has drifted from her practice of the faith? Or a spouse who refuses to go to church anytime other than Christmas and Easter? Or maybe a good friend who’s developed a cynical attitude toward God since he was diagnosed with that chronic illness? Or a grandchild who’s “heading in the wrong direction?”

If so, today’s Gospel passage (Mark 2: 1‐12) should be music to your ears. In the Gospel story we hear how Jesus cures a paralytic, enabling him to pick up the mat on which he had been laying and go home. The “clincher” of the story, in my opinion, is not the healing itself... but what immediately led up to that miraculous encounter that the paralyzed man had with Jesus.

You see, the man’s friends (who carried the paralyzed man to Jesus) had to be very creative in getting their friend into the presence of the Lord. Because people packed the house where Jesus was and there were crowds around the door, these friends carried the paralytic up on the roof of the house, opened up the roof over the place where Jesus was, and lowered their friend on the mat into the room where Jesus was preaching.

And then the Gospel tells us “When Jesus saw their faith (that is, the faith of the friends who lowered the paralyzed man through the roof), he said to the paralytic ‘Child, your sins are forgiven’” – initiat‐ ing the healing of the man. What’s remarkable here is that, in practically every other story in which Jesus heals a person, he does so in response to that individual’s own faith. But in this story, Jesus fo‐ cuses on the faith of the paralytic’s friends rather than on the faith of the paralytic himself, resulting in the miraculous cure.

Each one of us has a friend, relative or loved one who needs our prayer – and, if that person is for some reason unable or unwilling to open themselves to Jesus in prayer, this Gospel passage is a tre‐ mendous encouragement to us that our prayers – our faith – can make a difference. We can be just like the friends of the paralyzed man, bringing that person into the presence of the Lord through our prayers... and trusting that Jesus, seeing our faith, will give that person for whom we’re praying ex‐ actly what he or she needs.

May we never tire of praying for one another – especially those most in need of our prayers – because the Lord, recognizing our faith as he recognized the faith of the paralytic’s friends, will answer those prayers according to God’s will.

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F. Pastor