Monday, February 25, 2008


I meant to post on this a while ago, but I was just curious: does anybody know how (if) seminarians are trained to give homilies? I don't mean on the substance of the homily, but on public speaking: how to be persuasive, to get your point across, to speak clearly, use good hand and body gestures, etc. I've wondered about this for some time now. Any seminarians or ex-seminarians out there who know the answer to this?

I am blessed to have a gifted homilist for a pastor, but I have been around to many other parishes where the preaching was severely deficient. For example, on February 14th of this year, I went to a parish where the priest began his homily this way, looking down at his notes and mumbling: "So, today is Valentine's Day, you know, with the cupids...and the arrows..." Then he trailed off into a story about a buddy of his that he used to work with at GM years ago. The story went on for fifteen minutes, had nothing to do with Valentine's Day and was only vaguely related to the Faith at all, and the congregation was looking at their watches the whole time wondering what the heck any of what he was saying had to do with anything relevant to them. Just so you know, he was not an elderly priest, but just a middle aged man.

Do priests have to go through any courses on effective public speaking? They ought to. Just because the Eucharist is the center of our worship does not give you a blank check to give crappy homilies.

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