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...]

“Pray, prepare, practice…”

Several months ago, the folks at Deacon Digest asked me if I might have anything interesting to contribute to a special issue devoted to preaching. Well, I didn’t. But they printed it anyway. Now you can find that essay — “Pray, Prepare, Practice: How I Put Together My Homilies” — here at Patheos.  A snip: [Read More...]

Bishop accused of inciting hatred with homily

Given the state of the Church in Ireland these days, I have to wonder how this will turn out.  Details: A homily delivered at Knock shrine by the Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Boyce, is being investigated by the Director of Public Prosecutions following a formal complaint by a leading humanist who claims the sermon was [Read More...]

Analysis: Obama’s SOTU written at 8th grade level, pope’s homilies at 11th grade

The other day, Elizabeth Scalia asked “Is great oratory over and done?” She made a compelling case that, yes, the era of truly eloquent speechifying is a thing of the past: I think what is missing from our current crop of gushers and gasbags is the ability to find poetry in their texts, or even [Read More...]

“Abortion snatches the knitting out of God’s hand…”

From the huge Mass celebrated Monday at the Verizon Center as part of the March for Life, here’s Msgr. Charles Pope, from the Archdiocese of Washington (and blogger extraordinaire), delivering a terrific homily before a crowd of 18,000 young people. [Read more...]

A seminarian on preaching: “The first thing I do is pray…”

Catholic San Francisco has been following the pastoral year of seminarian Tony Vallecillo as he moves closer to ordination in 2014.  The latest installment in the series looks at the experience he is gaining preaching: The self-described perfectionist spent 10 hours reading, researching, ruminating and rehearsing to deliver the seven-minute “reflection,” the equivalent of the [Read More...]


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