Deacon giving homily


Lately, the deacon has been giving the homilies more frequently with the priest sitting at the altar. Is this acceptable? He’s the kind of deacon that likes to interject his own phrases during the Mass such as “Brutha Jesus…Lord have mercy.” And at the end of Mass prior to the blessing he asks, “Your mission should you choose to accept it is to …show mercy to others”, etc. Why would a priest defer to the deacon for homilies when he’s perfectly capable if he’s well to offer the sacrifice of the Mass?




The deacon is an ordained clergyman, and preaching is part of his training and function. It is completely appropriate for a deacon to give the homily at a mass, even frequently. Some are good homily givers, some not, but the same is true for priests and bishops.

Perhaps the priest wishes to give the deacon more practice and experience. Perhaps the priest has had other pressing pastoral duties and has prioritized them over drafting homilies, or he may be dealing with some infirmity or grief. Perhaps the priest just felt like it. Whatever the reason, it’s perfectly acceptable and licit.


Deacons are allowed to preach. If the Pastor wants him to preach more often, it is his prerogative.


This is what the General Instructions of the Roman Missal says:

The Homily

  1. The homily is part of the Liturgy and is strongly recommended,[63] for it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life. It should be an exposition of some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or from the Proper of the Mass of the day and should take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners.

  2. The homily should ordinarily be given by the priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to the deacon, but never to a lay person.[65] In particular cases and for a just cause, the homily may even be given by a Bishop or a priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate.

There is to be a homily on Sundays and holy days of obligation at all Masses that are celebrated with the participation of a congregation; it may not be omitted without a serious reason. It is recommended on other days, especially on the weekdays of Advent, Lent, and the Easter Season, as well as on other festive days and occasions when the people come to church in greater numbers.

After the homily a brief period of silence is appropriately observed.

See also:


A few months ago I heard a homily given by a deacon at a church in my area. Unfortunately, it veered into the area of what I’d call “political rant” by the end (it was on the topic of welcoming immigrants, etc.). I tuned out…I would have much preferred the priest speak.
There are some priests in my area who give absolutely wonderful homilies that I think about for days and days. I can’t say I have ever had that experience with a deacon’s speech.


And our deacon is a much better preacher than our pastor. The parish was recently delighted when he increased - with the pastor’s support - his preaching schedule from one to two weekends a month. Everyone’s mileage tends to vary on this issue.


There was a permanent deacon at a church I attended in the past who gave excellent homilies. But yes, it seems in general, some deacons (probably transitional) would have less experience in the area.


It is up to the pastor to determine how frequently and under what circumstances, a deacon shall preach. The only “qualifier” is the deacon should preach only “occasionally”, whatever that means. In my diocese the Bishop has suggested that “occasionally” means about once a month. However, there is also that “circumstances” thing. I have preached more often than that when the pastor has had various ongoing substantial obligations outside of Mass (both pastoral and personal) that made it difficult for him to find time during the week to prepare a homily.


Same here, once a month, but my previous parish now has 5 Deacons, so they don’t often don’t preach in a given month at all. But there is alway s 2 present at each Mass, even the Spanish Masses, where none of them speak Spanish at all.
We had a particularly awkward homily once given by a Deacon (disclaimer, I knew what he meant to say, he just said it awkwardly) and some of the parishioners jumped all over the pastor for allowing him to preach. He was off the rotation for the summer, but he’s back now and doing fine.

At my present parish, the 2 Deacons preach about once a month as well. They split themselves up between the various Masses. Father encourages it, and we get together as a staff every Thursday to offer homily suggestions based on the readings 2 weeks out.


Our Deacons have preached the Homily at Mass many times. The Celebrant may indeed designate him to do so. One of our Deacons is the RCIA Spiritual Director; he gives excellent Homilies on Scripture to the point of them being educational.


When I was shopping for churches I went to one two weeks in a row and it was the same deacon who said the homily both times. The first time he said that he wasn’t going to talk about the gospel because he didn’t want to. The second time he said the gospel was too difficult and circular so he proceeded to talk about his daughter’s facebook page instead. Ugh. I never went back to the church.

Now I am in a church where the priest does the homily and every homily has touched on the gospel. Much better.


Well, I’m just happy to see the priests getting some help because

  1. They need it and

  2. It will go a ways to help manage the workload.


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