Homilies given by newly ordained priests

are frequently too long and way too focused on the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Stick to the lessons, fellas, and keep the homilies to ten minutes or less.

There are no rules on how long homilies can be. I would be happy to sit through a long homily.

There are, in fact, practical considerations. It is a rare homilist who can effectively craft and deliver, say, a 20-minute homily. I’ve heard too many 20-minute or so homilies that are really 7-minute homilies with a thyroid problem.

I have sat through some long ones before, and some short ones too.

We have a priest out of seminary for two years in our parish and the description above does not fit him at all. In fact, I’m not sure why this statement is directed at new priests. In my life, the longest homilies come from priests with more tenure and/or more education.

Mass starts at 9 and ends at 10 (not that I’m looking at the clock.)

And there is simply nothing wrong with a long homily. It really doesn’t matter to me if Mass gets done at 10:15.

My favorite Jesuit (link below), frequently, commonly, has homilies in excess of 10 minutes. This week’s homily is 14 minutes.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way. They are excellent. :thumbsup:

I think Americans are too impatient, and too interested in just the ‘sound bite’

I regularly go to Tanzania, and the homilies there are about 45 min to an hour long. Any less, and the people complain.

If it is the bishop giving the homily, it had better be an hour and a half :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t mind a long homily if it’s worth listening to.

It takes practice and experience to be able to speak clearly, concisely, and coherently to a group.

There are priests, just as there are people in every profession, who think they know the material well enough to "wing-it’ when they start talking.

Uh-huh. Doesn’t work that way.

I think that homilies given by newly ordained priests often demonstrate their inexperience with public speaking and preaching. Given their typical younger age and inexperience, their messages often include discussion of Church History and/or teachings of doctors of the Church. I believe it is important to remember that these young priests are just coming out of the seminary, so much of their experience to speak of relates directly to things they learned.

With regard to length of homily, I don’t believe that time is of the essence; however, I think that experience in public speaking does bring with it a certain ability to keep the audience engaged while discussing a topic at length. Frankly, I believe that homilies given as a lecture do indeed have a tendency to lose their audience by about the five minute mark or so. It is a talented ordained that can keep their audience captive and engaged during long homilies. I recall as a youth serving at weeknight mass during lent we had a visiting Monsignor celebrating mass. While I don’t recall the topic of his homily, I do recall that he preached with such vigor that he kept the attention of the people for an excess of forty minutes - on a weeknight no less, and no one seemed to notice.

I believe that newly ordained could use encouragement and positive feedback as much as possible; and, constructive criticism as necessary, though perhaps the latter might be better delivered by the pastor or priest guiding over the newly ordained.

We should pray for our newly ordained that the Holy Spirit guide their homilies and teachings. I also think we should pray for ourselves and each other that we should approach the sacrifice of the mass with open mind and heart to receive the message being taught and focus less on the amount of time it takes to deliver the message.

I can’t say I’ve had the same experience.

If anything, I have heard a tendency towards being a bit more *‘flowery.’ * Yet with all things considered that is not too surprising.

A generalization that doesn’t really mean anything. That hasn’t been my experience at all.

Since “weekly mass” for me is an “hour struggle to keep toddler from making too much noise and running up and down the aisles”, I admit the shorter homilies have me saying prayers of thanks. I’ll take any few minutes I can get. We usually attend low masses for this reason.

Is there a rule that Mass can only last one hour?

Is there a rule that Mass can only last one hour?

We have very few newly ordained priests coming out of our liberal diocese, but I can speak for the visiting ones who are on loan to us and frequently from other countries, mostly Nigeria or Liberia, where, I am told, the homilies are frequently quite long. I’m amazed that so many have the gift of preaching and there is such energy. There is one young one that has visited us for the past two summers. I’ve seen tears at some of his homilies and even when he consecrates the bread (and yes, I would be one of them with a kleenex in my hand.) A few of us have openly spoken of his amazing giftedness and have wondered among ourselves if he could be a hidden saint. I personally pray for vocations on a frequent basis and I think we need to be grateful for every single one.

and way too focused on the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Last Lenten season our pastor invited a young priest who had only been ordained a short while to give our Lenten mission. IIRC, he was a Father of Mercy. The orthodoxy that came from his mouth with his testimony was like a sweet sounding song to us. Our pastor is very traditional, but even so, it was an occasion to rejoice to hear teaching upheld and affirmed as it has been my experience that older priests are not faithful to this. Is this what you are objecting to?

I agree that priests often seem to have no training in effective public speaking. I have sometimes wished (I know it won’t happen) I could conduct a series of courses for priests in it. I was in speech and debate in high school and college, and some of my grandkids are in it now at the high school level, and training makes an enormous amount of difference.

Even learning how to structure a speech helps a lot. The mind expects a certain sequence, and if you don’t know that, you’re likely to ramble and have disconnected thoughts.

I remember when I was a kid we had two parish priests in succession who were really good at it. Interesting, engaging, structured, fascinating.

It’s also a lot of work to prepare a really good presentation, but if one understand structure, it’s not so bad.

Ten minutes is the perfect length of a homily. There’s just no need for it to be any longer.

Newly-ordained priests, in my experience, talk a lot about the hierarchy of the Church. They tell us how the Church makes decisions, they lecture on the history of the Church, they refer to Church documents they read in Seminary, they tell us how it’s important to follow what the local bishop says, etc. My suspicion is that they do this to justify their own authority.

The perfect homily lasts ten minutes and is based upon that day’s readings.

Sounds like the value of wonderful young Orthodox priests is lost on you. That’s a shame. Christ came to found a Church, with authority, with structure; and He has given you a gift of young priests full of zeal for the gospel.

If you don’t believe in that, and if you think the mass is just an assembly line for you to get in, get your wafer, and get out again… well then perhaps just save yourself the time altogether. Clearly you’d rather be somewhere else, hearing something besides the eternal truth of the gospel. (hint: sarcasm - no one actually wants you to go)

For every lazy cafeteria Catholic we lose, the likelihood of two of our separated protestant brethren returning to us, refreshing us and strengthening us, goes up immeasurably.

I wish all my priests had the zeal and fire you are complaining about. 10 minutes is entirely too short. And yes I have two screaming children. I want to hear the gospel. I want THEM to hear the gospel. If the sermon is 2 hours… so much the better. We are in the real presence of the Most High. We are hearing Him speak wisdom and prophecy through the mouth of His priest. I cannot get enough.

I pray that your eyes would be opened to this great beauty to which you are presently blind. It sounds like it’s just what the great Physician ordered.

So do I. Preach on the Gospel (and the Epistle), not on the hierarchy of the Church.


:thumbsup::thumbsup: well said! It sounds like these newly ordained priests are being well trained and are trying to educate the congregation on the responsibilities and priorities of running Christ’s Church. We need to pray that priests like this do not lose their zeal or become disillusioned when the congregation seem to zone out during the homily. I wish there were more homilies about the Church or based on that day’s gospel reading. Sadly, many priests don’t want to offend anyone and the homilies are generic and they end up talking about something related to their life. At leasy that is what I usually hear.

The Church IS the gospel.

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