Ways to Spread the Burden of Giving Homilies
Derrick Kourie, Pretoria – I respond to Fr Chris Chatteris’ article “How not to crash the homily”
Perhaps part of the problem is that over the years, the homily has been designated an essential part of the Mass. As a result, the notion has arisen that one needs some kind of “anointing” before one may validly preach.
However, I do not recall homilies at weekday Masses prior to Vatican II. And I can see absolutely no theological reason to limit preaching to priests and deacons.
In other words, while the current protocols around preaching have been put in place to maintain good order, they can be updated and revised at the stroke of a pen without violating any theological principle whatsoever.
For example, in urban parishes (and presumably in rural parishes as well) there are often devout, well-informed and competent preachers of both genders. Why exclude such people from the preaching function?
Neither is there any reason to exclude the tasteful use of electronic media, such as Powerpoint, sound and so on. Many preachers in other Christian churches do so with great effect.
In certain contexts, an appropriate level of congregational interaction could be used, for example sharing insights with one’s neighbour or with the rest of the congregation.
Another possibility is just having a period of silent reflection on the readings. I have experienced this as far more effective than many homilies.
Finally, dear parish priest: when you have a visitor priest, take a break and give him a chance to address your congregation.
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