My Pentecost: tongues of flame, and the heat of a minor crucible

So, how was your Pentecost?  Here’s a window into the world of a deacon — or at least, this particular deacon. Last Sunday, my pastor and I agreed that he would preach the “high” Mass on Pentecost, since at that Mass he was going to be doing the confirmations for about a dozen adults.  (My [Read More...]

A question about preaching: What’s so funny?

Sunday, my pastor and I were sitting in the sacristy, listening to a visiting priest preaching on the 7th Sunday of Easter.  Evidently, he was keeping the congregation in stitches. This priest was a goldmine of winsome stories and wry observations — a few of his jokes were threadbare, and I’d heard them before, but [Read More...]

What did you hear?

In the comments on my homily this weekend, someone asked: Just curious, but I wonder how many Masses brought up Obama’s gay marriage declaration this week? Good question.  Did anyone out there hear anything about this from the pulpit this Sunday? If not, what did you hear?  (Amy Welborn asks that question a lot on [Read More...]

This may be a first: archbishop preaches in Rome basilica from an iPad

Details: Being a bishop means being no stranger to debates and challenges, but also knowing the joy of sharing the faith, said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami. “We know a little bit about controversy and dissension, but like (St.) Paul we know also the joy not only of having encountered the Lord, we also [Read More...]

Venerable Fulton Sheen?

I have a confession to make. Every Sunday, before I preach, I pray for help and guidance from three heavenly intercessors: the Virgin Mary, St. Stephen and…Archbishop Fulton Sheen. I know people are looking for miracles to have Fulton Sheen declared a saint; the fact that I am able to do what I do every [Read More...]

Quote of the day

“It was good. I dozed off, though. Don’t take so many pauses.” – My wife, answering the weekly question after Mass, “What did you think of my homily?” [Read more...]

Preaching on contraception: “You have to make sure people know you’re being compassionate”

Several years ago, a newly ordained priest in the Archdiocese of Washington took it upon himself to preach one Sunday on the topic of contraception.  He reminded the congregation of the Church’s teaching on the subject, acknowledged that there were probably many in the pews that morning who did not follow it, and suggested that [Read More...]

Dolan: “I asked Jesus to help me fight the same temptations he did”

The new cardinal of New York gave a stemwinder of a homily Saturday night — repurposing some material from the homily we’d heard on Thursday — and it’s just too good not to share.  Looking for something to kickstart your Lent?  Take 20 minutes and watch one of the greatest preachers in the American church.   [Read More...]

When was the last time you heard a homily like this? — UPDATED

It’s passionate.  It’s political.  And it’s angry. I’m curious to hear what people think. Give a listen. UPDATE: For another perspective, it’s instructive to read Blessed John Paul’s 1993 statement “Priests Do Not Have A Political Mission,” which notes: The presbyter’s right to express his own personal choices is limited by the requirements of his [Read More...]

Tailoring the message: how preachers adapt to different audiences

From Abilene, KS comes this intriguing look at how preachers of various denominations — including Catholic — sometimes adjust their sermons, depending on the congregation: For churches with more than one Sunday worship service, the sermon doesn’t change much from one service to the next. While the basic message stays the same, there are subtle [Read More...]


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