Homilies- how long is too long?


#1

Seems to be a trend toward longer and longer preaching. As a kid and young adult, 10 minutes was about standard, rarely going beyond that. Plenty long enough IMO, particularly to listen to a sermon in Polish which I don’t know.

Should there be some kind of canon to keep the priests concise in their homiletics?


#2

[quote=Kielbasi]Seems to be a trend toward longer and longer preaching. As a kid and young adult, 10 minutes was about standard, rarely going beyond that. Plenty long enough IMO, particularly to listen to a sermon in Polish which I don’t know.

Should there be some kind of canon to keep the priests concise in their homiletics?
[/quote]

If the priest is giving a sermon (teaching not based on the Gospel reading), he may be short (6-8 minutes), or longer 15-20.

If giving a homily, (based on the Gospel reading), he should take as long as he needs to give a fair and understandable teaching on that reading. (short perhaps 12-15) (long perhaps 20+)

Neither homily nor sermon should be treated like an imposition on OUR time.

Priest will be concise if they stayed awake in the seminary, and more, if they are always willing to admit they need to know more. The best way to learn something, is to try and teach it.

(and if they would only spend 5-10 minutes before Mass in the Adoration Chapel, all would be well) (if they don’t have Adoration, then they are already coming to bat with 2 strikes against them)


#3

good points Mr S. its not for us to decide how long anything in the Mass should be. maybe if priests had longer homilies they maybe could teach people something. (since most catholics dont seem to know jack)


#4

Our Pastor says --anythong over 23 minutes and you’ve lost them.

(Unfortunately , this was in response to my complaint about a Priest who was not even scheduled to give a talk, and “lost” us 3 times! :mad:


#5

(since most catholics dont seem to know jack)

I disagree, most Catholics are very well informed on the basics particularly vis-a-vis other religions.

As far as procedural matters, the church is moving fairly quickly, not everyone subscribes and reads the Vatican paper to keep totally up to date. But I don’t think that is the standard that we would want to use, not everyone can be , or should be, a rubric-wonk.


#6

I voted for 15 to 30 minutes with emphasis more toward the 15 to 20…

Anything over 30 is too long…people will only listen as long as their “seat” is comfortable…:wink: More than 30 mins. definitely will start me squirming in my pew…:twocents:


#7

Anything that is disjointed, or rambles, or skips around is too long. So is anything that tries to make more than on major and two minor, but related points.

Our parish has a wonderful priest, but having been a teacher before he was finally assigned to parish duty (we are his second parish), I sometimes wonder what his classes were like. And then I thank God he didn’t teach me.

In a one - on - one setting, or a small group, he can be wonderful. Then we get to the Sunday homily, and it just goes to pieces.


#8

More than 30 mins. definitely will start me squirming in my pew…

I’ve always thought that the changing of postures (stand, sit, kneel) was a point of positivity for catholicism. Staying in one position for too long is too much for most of the people.


#9

[quote=Kielbasi]I disagree, most Catholics are very well informed on the basics particularly vis-a-vis other religions.

As far as procedural matters, the church is moving fairly quickly, not everyone subscribes and reads the Vatican paper to keep totally up to date. But I don’t think that is the standard that we would want to use, not everyone can be , or should be, a rubric-wonk.
[/quote]

k im just basing this on the catholics i know and on the catholics at my school of 3000, but about 95% either dont care or dont know barely anything about their religion(which amounts to not caring anyways)


#10

the best homily Ive ever been at Mass for was the sunday before voting day of 1992, when Fr Charles antekier of st francis xavier in grand rapids michigan gave a homily on why one must vote prolife, it was almost an hour long and everyone was totally riveted. too bad there wasnt more holies like that all over america that day! I vote no amount of time is too long if its making a good point.


#11

Attended a homily workshop recently for priests and deacons. It was given by two priests that travel all over the country. They suggested between 10-15 Min. People have been conditioned to news bites and start daydreaming after this time. Also, the homily is suppose to reflect the readings of the day and relate them to people’s lives. If you study (1 hour for evey minute that you preach) you can get right to the point and stay on the point. One central theme is your goal. My homilies are from 7-10 minutes. And yes, I do mention sin!

Deacon Tony


#12

I say atleast 30 minutes for homilies. Kielbasi, at the Polish parishes I have attended, I have never heard a sermon[kazanie] shorter than 15 minutes.


#13

Reminds me of a Baptist joke. This particular pastor was known for being long-winded, and he got tired of seeing his congregation starting to filter out after an hour. So he stationed his biggest deacons at the back door to keep them in. The following Sunday he was just starting the second of his 20 points, 65 minutes into the sermon, and one old farmer got up and started out. The deacon stopped him at the back door.

Deacon: And just where are you going?

Farmer: To go get a haircut.

Deacon: And why didn’t you get one before you came to church?

Farmer: When I came to church, I didn’t need one.


It depends on the speaker. I could listen to Fr. Corapi for hours at a stretch, but I’ve heard some on the daily EWTN masses (not Fr. Angelus) that had already gone too long at 5 minutes.

DaveBj


#14

we can all specualte but really there isnt a set time and priests can go however long they want. i wish theyd go longer, or maybe have better quality sermons. i donno.


#15

[quote=Deacon Tony560]Attended a homily workshop recently for priests and deacons. It was given by two priests that travel all over the country. They suggested between 10-15 Min. People have been conditioned to news bites and start daydreaming after this time. Also, the homily is suppose to reflect the readings of the day and relate them to people’s lives. If you study (1 hour for evey minute that you preach) you can get right to the point and stay on the point. One central theme is your goal. My homilies are from 7-10 minutes. And yes, I do mention sin!

Deacon Tony
[/quote]

You know, I think the last thing we need to worry about is how other media delivers its message, “sound bites” etc. This is ridiculous. Why do they know any more about delivering a message than anybody else? The news media seems to mimic the commercials.

Homilies are their own “genre” and a bad homily or a short homily just sends the message “you’re taking this too seriously.” Like the crowds that followed Jesus, I think we want to be fed with nourishing spiritual food.

One nearby pastor uses some sort of handbook, and he always uses a cut-and-paste approach in his homily, of practically reading the notebook verbatim. It just smacks of poor preparation.

It is a chore for everybody to go to Mass every Sunday, and to get no homily or to get one that was cooked up 10 minutes before Mass began just isn’t good enough. I don’t know why these priests even bother. I’d rather stay home listen to Billy Graham, or Jerry Falwell, or Charles Stanley.

A lot of non-Catholic preachers are known to tape their sermons for the benefit of people to study them later. These sermons are quite good, for the most part, being extensively researched in the Bible.

Don’t ask me how long a sermon / homily should be. Tell me if it’s worth taping and listening to in the future. Tell me how many people even remember what the priest talked about at the end of Mass.


#16

Call me extreme, I chose 30+. Why?
If the homily is REALLY good it should go on. When I am at Church, that is Our Lord’s Time and also our way to give Him back the gift of Time that He gives us.

It was not uncommon in the 4th. Century for St. John Chrysostom to have a Homily at least 90 Minutes to 2 Hours Long! As a Father of the Early Church, he stressed the faith to a time when the Homily WAS a time to Teach the Faith to the Faithful.

In the technology of today, you would think we would be More Hungry for Knowlesge about the Church, YET most Catholic are LESS knowledgable Today! (I am sure we (those of us on the Forums) are being very useful with the knowlesge than those who don’t care about the Church)

Reason enough for longer Homilies.


#17

[quote=Edwin1961]Call me extreme, I chose 30+.
[/quote]

I agree, but that probably has something to do with the fact that I’m coming at this from a Baptist perspective. Late last year, one of our local Catholic parishes hosted Fr. William Casey for a parish mission. I could’ve listened to him preach for days, as his style struck me as very similar to some of my favorite Baptist preachers. Imagine my delight when I listened to EWTN radio yesterday morning, and discovered that he’s doing a parish mission for them. I got to listen to him for an entire hour.


#18

I love a good talk, but even the best of homilies will become ineffective if the congregation starts daydreaming. In practice, at our parish, the homilies must remain at 5-9 minutes. If they go on much longer, they would lengthen the Mass such as to run over into the next Mass.


#19

[quote=Kielbasi]Seems to be a trend toward longer and longer preaching. As a kid and young adult, 10 minutes was about standard, rarely going beyond that. Plenty long enough IMO, particularly to listen to a sermon in Polish which I don’t know.

Should there be some kind of canon to keep the priests concise in their homiletics?
[/quote]

I think a 10 minute homily is pathetic. 30 minutes should be the norm. You can’t make any kind of point and get into ANY kind of detail in 10 minutes. Period. End of story.

-Michael


#20

I think our homilies last a long time, but you know what, I’ve never timed them. I’d bet they were close to 30 mins if not more. They are so interesting that you can’t help but pay attention to every last bit of it. I get a lot out of them though, so keep 'em comin!


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