What Goes In To Preparing A Homily
Every now and then someone will ask me what, if anything, I do to prepare the homilies I deliver at weekend Mass. Over the years I have served as a priest, I have learned to preach without notes, using an outline in my head. That can give some people the idea that I just stand up there and wing it. Nothing could be further from the truth!
I’m not saying that I am a great homilist, not by any means. I’m also not saying that I spend as much time preparing a weekend homily as I should; the best preachers – even the best Catholic preachers – will prepare as much as an hour for every minute they preach on Saturday afternoon or Sunday.
Studies clearly show that most parishioners think preaching is important to their faith life and their Sunday Mass experience. Research also shows that many Catholics think their priests and deacons could do a better job of delivering their homilies.
It is such an important aspect of the ministry that the 10 men from our diocese who are in line to be ordained permanent deacons next summer recently spent a week at Saint Meinrad Seminary in Indiana studying preaching skills and practicing their homilies. According to their instructors, they made great progress during the week and were open to learning and growing. That’s good news for the future of these deacons’ preaching ministry in our parishes.