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
May012012

Reflection's - April 29, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

This weekend we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter, sometimes known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” because the Church always provides us a Gospel this weekend dealing with some aspect of Christ as the Good Shepherd.  This year, we hear an excerpt from the Gospel of St. John (10: 11-18), reminding us that “a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” The connection with the Season of Easter is unmistakable – Jesus, as our Good Shepherd, has laid down his life for us and has been raised from the tomb as proof that he has conquered sin and death for us.

Truly, there is so much for us to contemplate during this “Great Sunday” – the Fifty Days of the Easter Season – it’s no wonder that the Church gives us such an extended time to be reminded of, and “re-absorb,” the various aspects of the Paschal Mystery: the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In order to help us in this process of contemplating the different facets of the “gem” we know as the Easter Season, we encounter various physical reminders of the Season when we come to Sunday Mass – for instance, the Paschal Candle remains lit next to the ambo (pulpit) throughout the Fifty Days of Easter.  Once Pentecost Sunday is past (and the Easter Season has reached its conclusion), the Paschal Candle appears in the sanctuary only for baptisms and funerals – to remind us that we, who are baptized into Christ, share in his resurrection and new life.

Another physical reminder that we experience during these wonderful Fifty Days is the Rite for the Blessing and Sprinkling of Water which takes the place of the Penitential Act at the beginning of Mass.  While not mandated for the Sundays of Easter, the Church encourages the use of this rite on the Sundays of the Easter Season so as to remind us of our baptism and the ramifications of that baptism: i.e., that our sins have been forgiven, that we are incorporated into and conformed to the Body of Christ and that we have been given the pledge of eternal life…that we who die in Christ will share in his resurrection to new life. 

The words of the blessing speak eloquently of this reality: “…through water, which Christ made holy in the Jordan, you have renewed our corrupted nature in the bath of regeneration. Therefore may this water be for us a memorial of the Baptism we have received, and grant that we may share in the gladness of our brothers and sisters who at Easter have received their Baptism.” Then, as the priest moves through the assembly sprinkling the blest water, we here the antiphon sung:  I saw water flowing from the Temple, from its right-hand side, alleluia: and all to whom this water came were saved and shall say: Alleluia, alleluia.

So much beauty, so much glory, so much meaning to contemplate during these Fifty Days! 

 

Grace and peace in the Risen Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

p.s. I’m away at St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, California this week for my annual priest’s retreat –

know that you are in my prayers; please keep me in yours!

 

Tuesday
Apr242012

Reflection's - April 22, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

The Fifty Days of the Easter Season are a joyously busy time in the life of parish priest… even more so when that parish priest serves as a Dean (also known as a Vicar Forane) of the Diocese.  In a nutshell, a Dean is a priest, appointed by the Bishop, to help “make present the Bishop’s ministry” in a specific region of the Diocese.

The Easter Season is the primary “Confirmation and First Holy Communion Season” in the Catholic Church – and here in the Diocese of Phoenix, as many of you already realize – Bishop Olmsted relies on those priests that he has appointed Dean to assist him in ministering the Sacrament of Confirmation around our 44,000 square mile Diocese. 

I see it as a tremendous privilege that our Bishop has asked me to share in his ministry in this way – yet I also realize that my service as Dean of Central Phoenix also requires accommodation on the part of the parishioners of St. Theresa Parish.  This Spring, there are nine Confirmations on my calendar (actually a bit fewer than years past, now that Auxiliary Bishop Nevares is also in the mix of those ministering Confirmation).   This weekend, I’ve had the privilege and joy of celebrating Confirmation and First Holy Communion both at St. Thomas the Apostle and right here at St. Theresa.  Last Saturday, I was at Our Lady of Fatima in South Phoenix doing the same.  Obviously, the time I take in celebrating Confirmation liturgies is time that is largely taken away from my ministry at St. Theresa.  This, along with other aspects of a Dean’s ministry (parish visitation to the eighteen parishes of the Deanery, Dean’s meetings, etc.), my role as a Judge on the Diocesan Tribunal and my “light service” as Canonical Pastor of St. Mark Parish and St. Philip the Deacon Mission causes me to be less present to St. Theresa Parish than I would like.   

On numerous occasions, Bishop Olmsted has expressed his appreciation to you parishioners of St. Theresa for the sacrifice entailed on a parish level by having a pastor who also serves as Dean and in other Diocesan ministries. I add my thanks to that of our Bishop… for your understanding, as members of the St. Theresa community, of these additional aspects of your Pastor’s ministry. I’m also deeply grateful for the ministry of Fr. Bing and Fr. Will, and the weekend assistance of Fr. Lou Bishop and (hopefully soon) Fr. Frank Fernandez, who is currently recovering well from a hip replacement. We are also blest by the dedicated staff members of St. Theresa… whose ministry, along with the priests,  make my “wearing of multiple hats” possible. While I find deep satisfaction in being involved with various ministries at the Diocesan level, I know that such involvement would not be possible without the cooperation and support of a great many people in my primary ministry – that of Pastor of St. Theresa!

During this Easter Season, may God continue to bring to fulfillment the good work he has begun in each one of us!

 

Grace and peace in the Risen Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

Tuesday
Apr172012

Reflection's - April 15, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

On this Second Sunday of Easter – the Octave, or eighth day, of Easter (also known as Sunday of Divine Mercy), we continue to revel in the celebration of Christ’s victory over death.  In fact, so enormous is the mystery of God’s love – and mercy – revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that the Church sets aside a full fifty days (from Easter Sunday through Pentecost Sunday) for us to contemplate this core mystery of our faith.  In fact, this fifty-day period was known by St. Athanasius and the other spiritual fathers of the ancient church as “the Great Sunday” – one continues period of exultation in, and celebration of, the victory of the Risen Christ over sin and death.

Today’s Gospel is one of several accounts of post-resurrectional appearances of Jesus that we will be hearing through these Fifty Days of Easter.  Our Gospel on this Octave of Easter (John 20:19-31) is the well-known story of “doubting” Thomas and Jesus’ empowerment of his disciples to forgive sin in God’s name.

It seems to me that our attention is often riveted on Thomas’ doubt when we listen to this story – and it can be difficult to avoid a subtle sense of passing judgment on Thomas: “tsk, tsk, Thomas… you should have known better than to doubt.”  But of course, when we pass that sort of judgment, we are (naturally) looking back on the events in that upper room from our 21st century perspective as people who have been taught from an early age that Jesus indeed was raised from death and that he appeared to his disciples multiple times before ascending to the Father.

Another way we can look at this story, though, is by recognizing that – when it comes right down to it – we are all in the position that Thomas was in on that first evening when Jesus appeared to the others, and subsequently Thomas was told of this – and invited to believe.  None of us has actually seen the Risen Christ… we have been told that he has been raised from death, that he lives… and, like Thomas, each of us has the choice to believe… or not. Belief in something unseen involves risk. What if we’re wrong? Will we look stupid?  And yet, we believe in the unseen all the time. Few of us would question the existence of germs or black holes in space – but who among us has actually seen a germ? Or a black hole? Yet we believe these things are real – as a result of what we’ve been told. 

What about resurrection?  What about new life – eternal life?  For two thousand years, generation has passed on to generation a fervent belief in these realities of faith.  We are invited, right now in 2012, to truly embrace that belief: that God’s love for us is so strong that God indeed raised Jesus from the dead.  That our God, as fount of mercy, does indeed forgive our sins – any and all sin – so long as we sincerely seek that forgiveness.  That God indeed promises each one of us a resurrection like Christ’s… to the fullness of life, love and joy eternal.

No wonder the Church sets aside these Fifty Days to contemplate this message. It’s overpowering, it’s staggering… it’s beyond comprehension.

But so is God’s love for us.

 

Peace and joy in the Risen Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

Tuesday
Apr172012

Reflection's - April 8, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

As many of you know, The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night on Holy Saturday evening is the liturgical highpoint of the Church Year.  This is the climax of the Sacred Triduum – the three holiest celebrations of our liturgical calendar, Holy Thursday of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord and Holy Saturday’s Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, which is also the First Mass of Easter. At the Easter Vigil, the catechumens who have prepared for months (though the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) are welcomed into the Church through Baptism, Confirmation and the reception of the Eucharist for the first time. Then, as is the case at all Easter Masses, everyone in the community has the opportunity to reaffirm their baptismal promises and to be sprinkled with the baptismal water in which the Catechumens were baptized at the Easter Vigil. 

Not only is the Easter Vigil the pinnacle of Church Year, it’s also the “main gate” of entry into the Faith for new Catholics as well as a moment of renewal for “seasoned” Catholics. 

So it’s natural to think that the Gospel passage assigned for the Easter Vigil is chosen with great care… and indeed it is.  This year, the Gospel reading for the Easter Vigil comes from the concluding verses of the Gospel of St. Mark (Mk. 16:1-7), describing how the women go to the tomb of Jesus early in the morning on the first day of the week to anoint his body. When they arrive at the tomb, though, they find the stone rolled aside and the body gone from the tomb. Instead, they find a young man (an angel?) clothed in a white robe inside… who tells them “He has been raised, he is not here... he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” These last words of the Gospel proclamation come at the end of verse seven. But the original conclusion of Mark’s Gospel came at verse eight: “Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

Isn’t it interesting that this final verse (verse 8) is omitted from the Gospel proclamation of the Easter Vigil? Probably because verse 8 would tend to “throw a wet blanket” over the celebration of the Easter Vigil! 

But the reality is that verse 8 gives us a huge insight into the faith of the first disciples – and an insight into our faith as well.

You see, grasping the reality of the Resurrection is challenging for anyone – even for those who, like the women in the Gospel, “hung out” with Jesus.  Being “seized with bewilderment” is a natural part of the process of arriving at a deeper faith.  Coming to terms with an empty tomb, and the message to seek Jesus among the living, was overwhelming for those women – and can be overwhelming for us as well.

But that’s okay. We know that eventually the women did spread the Good News of the Resurrection… we know that their fear and trembling did not last, because the news of Jesus’ victory over sin and death has been spread far and wide over the past 2000 years.

How did they get over the fear and the bewilderment? How did their faith grow strong?

The Gospel doesn’t specify “how” exactly this happened… but it’s safe to say that they opened themselves to God’s grace and the support of the other disciples as they grappled with – and grew in – their Easter faith.

What a wonderful example this is to us – as we grow in our Easter faith by opening ourselves to God’s love and experiencing the support of our brothers and sisters in the faith community!

 

Peace and joy in the Risen Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

Tuesday
Apr032012

Reflections - April 1, 2012

My Brothers and Sisters,

With the implementation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal last Advent, there has been a subtle – and in many ways, more profoundly descriptive – change in the “official titles” of many of the feasts of our Liturgical Calendar.  These changes are evident especially as we make the transition from the Season of Lent to the Season of Easter.

Today, we celebrate what is now known as Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, delineating our entrance into Holy Week – the most solemn and meaningful time of the Church Year.  Holy Week is our annual opportunity, as Catholic Christians, to be renewed in our faith as we recall the great mysteries of our salvation. This is the time that we walk with Christ through his passion and death… to his resurrection. This is the time we renew the core beliefs of our faith, culminating with the renewal of our Baptismal Promises at Easter.  This is – in the words of one of my seminary professors – our “Annual Retreat Week” as Catholic Christians… our yearly opportunity to deepen our appreciation for – and our unity with – the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

The principal three days of this celebration of the Paschal Mystery are, of course, the Sacred Paschal Triduum (pronounced “trih-doo-um”) of Holy Thursday (now known as Thursday of the Lord’s Supper), Good Friday (Friday of the Passion of the Lord) and Holy Saturday (The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night). The Liturgy of these sacred days is actually one continuous Liturgy: linking together the sacred mysteries of God’s love which are at the very core of our faith, recalling how God has so loved the world that he gave his only Son to suffer, to die and to be raised up for us so that we might have abundance of life, and life eternal!  As we enter the Sacred Paschal Triduum with the beginning of the celebration of Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we leave the Season of Lent behind.

Each celebration of the Sacred Paschal Triduum begins in church at 7:30PM (for consistency and so that we may meet the Church’s ancient requirement that the Easter Vigil begins after sunset).  Particularly if you’ve never had the opportunity in the past to participate in the Sacred Paschal Triduum – it’s well worth your commitment of three evenings.  This is the pinnacle of the Church Year; the time we celebrate the greatest events of our salvation.  At Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus in which the Lord washed the disciples’ feet as a sign of the service to which each of us is called.  Then, we commemorate the institution of the Sacrament of the Eucharist in which Jesus gives us the incredible gift of his Body and Blood.  After Communion, we process to Father Feeney Hall for the reposition of the Eucharist – adoration continues there until midnight.  On Good Friday, at the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, we reflect on the words of the Passion Gospel, we venerate then the wood of the cross and then share Holy Communion (with hosts that have been consecrated on Holy Thursday).  The Triduum reaches its climax and conclusion with the celebration of the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night on Holy Saturday – this is the First Mass of Easter, at which the new fire is blessed (along with the new paschal candle), the Old Testament scriptures are proclaimed (reminding us of the roots of our salvation), those who have prepared through the RCIA to become Catholics (the Elect) are baptized and confirmed and the Easter Eucharist is celebrated.

Please Note – To maintain focus on the events of the Lord’s Passion during the solemn days of the Triduum, the “regular schedule” for these three days is suspended:  the 6:30AM Mass is NOT celebrated on Holy Thursday or Good Friday – NOR will there be Mass at 8AM or 5PM on Holy Saturday.   3:30-4:30 Confessions are NOT scheduled on Holy Saturday. 

Stations of the Cross will be prayed in church at Noon on Good Friday, followed by quiet meditation time available until 3:00PM.

Masses of Easter Sunday are celebrated at 6:00AM (School Courtyard), 7:30, 9:00, 9:15 (School Courtyard)* and 11:00AM.  There is no 6:00PM Mass Easter Sunday.  Overflow parking will be available in the school field (weather permitting) and on neighborhood streets south of campus.

This wonderful week – which we call “Holy” – gives us so much to contemplate. Please join in the celebrations of the week ahead… all are welcome.  These celebrations are incredible opportunities for us to deepen our faith and experience the wonder of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ!

 

Grace and peace in Christ at this holy time,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer, V.F.

Pastor

 

*the Easter Sunday 9:15 Mass in the School Courtyard is a “Liturgy with Children.” 

 

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) will be offered in church this Wednesday evening from 5 to 6PM. Three confessors are scheduled to be available – please note: this is the final opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation at a scheduled time prior to Easter, as Confessions are not scheduled on Holy Saturday.