A tale of two churches

I’m not sure if this is the correct thread - could just be “back fence” or “clubhouse”, but anyway here goes …

My wife and I just got back from a week’s holiday in Cairns, tropical North Queensland. We also just happened to be staying directly across the road from the Cairns Baptist Church, and St. Monica’s (Catholic) Cathedral was just around the corner. So I got to mass at 5pm and then joined my wife at her Baptist Church for the 6pm service.

If you’re ever in Cairns, make sure you see the interior of St. Monica’s. It’s a bit boxy looking on the outside, but it’s quite attractive on the inside. There’s also a brilliant stained glass display displaying the Biblical story of creation, the fall, and right through to the new creation. Definitely worth a look.

The choir was brilliant as well, featuring some very powerful and attractive voices.

But the homily? I’m hard of hearing, but even so I was only seven rows back from the front, and I hardly heard a word. As far as I’m concerned it was a complete waste of time. They may as well not have had a homily, for all I learnt from it.

I don’t know if it was the sound system, or if the priest didn’t take it seriously, but it was a big disappointment compared to the glass display and the choir, which was one of those choirs where you don’t want to sing, for two reasons - you just want to listen to the beautiful singing, and you’re worried you’ll muck it up if you do join in.

At least in my wife’s much smaller Baptist church I heard a workable sermon word for word. Their music was standard Baptist fare, although not bad, featuring an all male group, contrasted to the predominantly female choir in the Catholic Cathedral.

The lack of Catholic emphasis on homilies has long been one of my bugbears since becoming Catholic. I’ve said it before, and no doubt I’ll say it again, but when it comes to preaching, the Protestants usually do a much better job.

The lack of decent homilies is one of the main reasons many Catholics say that “they are not being fed” and then leave the Church. It leads to the boredom. Of course, that brings the retort that we are not there to be entertained. However, it seems obvious that Peter, Paul and other early leaders of the Church put “fire” into their homilies and that is what drew people to the faith.

The priests can’t win this one, really. My parish priest is one of the most gifted homilists I have ever encountered, truly inspired by the Holy Spirit. He reaches right into my soul with his words, and he challenges all who hear him to be faithful, loving, obedient Catholics. There is definitely “fire” in his preaching. Yet others complain he is too rigid and moralistic; some have left the parish as a result. I have often wondered what people want. Either the homilies are too stern, or they are too hollow.

I have been to Masses where I couldn’t hear the homily, but I won’t go so far as to suggest that the priest isn’t taking it seriously. There are many possible reasons why that might have happened. If I feet compelled to say something about it, I might ask if there is a problem with the sound system or if Father is having trouble with something. At one such Mass, I found out the priest had inexplicably lost his voice and was due to have surgery on his vocal cords. Another Mass was in a chapel with no sound system due to financial constraints. Whether or not I seek a reason for the inaudible nature of the homily and, if I do, whether or not the reason seems acceptable to me, I offer the matter up to God and thank him for the blessing of the Mass.

I used to mentally “grade” homilies until the day it dawned on me that if the Lord could speak through Balaam’s ***, His Word could certainly come from the mouth of even the most tired and jaded pastor - I understand that I am still being fed even if the “food” doesn’t seem fresh and appealing :slight_smile:

Protestants MUST have good homilies, or else
why would they go to church? The Catholics
go to Church because they believe in the REAL
PRESENCE of the Lord in the Eucharist, and
if the homily is good, that’s ICING ON THE CAKE!

Regarding homilies being too stern or too hollow - If it “is a harding saying, who can follow it” then so be it. We should not despair if the truth is preached but remember that Peter said , when explaining our reason for joy that it should be done with gentleness and reverence.

The last time we attended Mass while traveling, the priest apologized for the poor sound system - said they were working on it. :slight_smile:

Even tho we couldn’t understand the homily, we were still able to follow the wonderful liturgy, which was very well done.

You should have talked to the priest afterwards, maybe he is not aware of it. Some have softer voices than others. Being there for Mass, (Holy Eucharist) was the important part of course no matter what else is going on around you or “not” going on. And the Catholic Church,(and some Orthodox) are the only ones that have that. Did you take your wife to see the beautiful church??? God Bless, Memaw

AMEN, God Bless, Memaw

I just found a new site www.greatcatholichomilies.com Really amazing and really worth passing on.

was it not St. Francis who said-" Preach the Gospel and if necessary speak"-Priests should inspire us by their example in livng a pious life-old Oral roberts and Jimmy Swaggert had the speaking down but not the living

Originally Posted by GLam8833 View Post
Protestants MUST have good homilies, or else
why would they go to church? The Catholics
go to Church because they believe in the REAL
PRESENCE of the Lord in the Eucharist, and
if the homily is good, that’s ICING ON THE CAKE!

the above statement does not belong in this thread-both the Lutherans and my Church believe in the real presence -as well as Copts and Old catholics

I was only there for one mass. I’d say its up to the regular parishioners to raise the issue, if it’s a continuing problem.

Yes I did take my wife on Tuesday, the day before we left, to see the stained glass windows, and she was impressed. To fully appreciate the imagery and symbolism, you need to grab a published guide as you walk in the front door.

They must have cost a fortune. There were twelve windows on each side, and two more at the back, with a further three at the upper back level with overtones regarding the battle of the Coral Sea. The USS Lexington for example is shown as a submerged wreck, along with a Japanese and American plane.

I don’t know the exact dimensions, but I’d say the side windows were about a metre across and four or five metres high.

To further my post above, I’ve provided two links which show the “Creation Windows” and “Peace Windows” and the a link which shows one side of the Cathedral and the windows -



in relation to the business about the Battle of the Coral Sea, the guiding pamphlett has this to say about the relevant stained glass window/s …


In contrast to the mayhem of the right window, the left window presents more peaceful tranquil imagery In the lower foreground is an Aichi D3A1 “Val” dive bomber, accurate to 1/3 scale. This aircraft was specifically chosen. It was the first aircraft to drop bombs on Pearl Harbour and Darwin…

Behind the Aichi is an American Grumman F4F “Wildcat” flown extensively from aircraft carriers…

The gigantic aircraft carrier USS Lexington lies behind. The huge hole in its side is where stored warheads exploded after taking five direct hits…

At the lower left two emperor angel fish dawdle past. A stone fish shelters behind a brain coral: the shape of the human brain - an irony - reminding us that while we may be the most intelligent creatures on Earth, we are also the only ones that wage savage war against each other…"


Agreed…but all too many drift away as they wrongly perceive the Mass to be meaningless. It is through effective preaching that those who are marginally engaged can be brought back into/kept in the fold and ‘get the living part down’.

NO, it was NOT St. Francis that said that. Just ask Fr. Mitch Pacwa. While a good example IS very important, God gave us a mouth and the TRUTH to tell about, so I think we better do both. God Bless, Memaw

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