Do priest have some sort of guide for there homilies? I ask this because I went to church Sunday morning and heard my priest homily and loved it. I also like to watch the video reflection on the scripture readings for the day on the USCCB website. When I did this sunday the reflection was a 2 and half minute summery of what my priest said. Like the exact same examples in the exact same order. Do priest have a book that guides them or what?
Yes, there are aides for homilies, and in many priest “save” their homilies and repeat them from year to year.
Well, repeats are more likely to be every 3 years since there’s a 3 year cycle of readings.
There are a number of books that are full of ‘sermon aids’, you can read some here, with titles like ‘Sermons for All Sundays of the Year’.
I enjoy reading them m’self, though in some cases they’re just meant as fundamental ‘material’ to work off of.
I like the Audio Sancto sermons a good deal.
The homilies preached by Pope Benedict XVI are the finest text-book examples of solid preaching I have ever heard (even if by way of radio and TV). These are available for study online through the Vatican website or through outlets like Zenit. In fact, in Sacramentum Caritatis, the Holy Father made homiletics a priority. He said that the quality of preaching must improve.
Homilies should focus on the readings for each Sunday, but can also focus on different aspects of the texts for the day (or otherwise). Maybe even delving into literal translations of the Latin propers…but also good quality!! Audio Sancto is a great resource, as Shin said.
Some typical homilies, they are actually predictable after attending certain parishes for a few Masses:
First there is the priest that merely repeats the readings and Gospel as if hearing it twice with no clarification will hammer it home!
Second is the priest who opens with “how about those Rockies, Broncos, whoever is in season…”
Then we have the one I actually enjoyed; he opened with a Snoopy or Charlie Brown joke that was relevant to the readings or Gospel and built a lesson around it.
Finally we have the TLM homilies I’m currently hearing that are deep, dark lessons based on the readings and Gospel. These are a throwback to the Catholic perpetual guilt days and are designed to strike fear into one’s heart. I think these are pretty effective on those who don’t nod off.
The document most often used in homeletics in the United States is Fulfilled In Your Hearing, The Homily in the Sunday Assembly, from the Bishops’ Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is unfortunately somewhat dated, having a copyright of 1982, and could benefit from some updating. Its last printing was February or 2002. It is the document presently being used in our local seminary studies. It can be found online at:
yes there are several such publications a preacher can turn to for assistance in preparing a homily, some orthodox, some not so much. I am sure there must be websites as well.
Homilies follow the daily readings, as they should, but they should also challenge us by relating them to the issues of our times. Too many times, it relates some nice, general information related to the readings, without making the average Catholic reflect on how this applies today, at the present moment, within our own lives. Especially, when it come to topics, which are not politically correct.
Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. – 2 Timothy 4:2
I have known priests that appear to just build the homily on the run and they are very good at it. They really put their whole heart, mind and soul into it. I am sure they do a fair amount of preparation. Two of our priests write their homilies down to make sure it flows well. One week one of these priests was expecting our Deacon to preach, so he did not prepare a homily. The deacon was a no-show so Father had to wing it. He did great. One of best - and I told him as much.
I really like school Masses because the priests engage the kids. Even if it starts out as a quiz on the readings, the children are tuned in. We once had a priest that would come down off the ambo at daily Mass and have a ‘conversation’ with the congregation. He would reflect on the Gospel by asking us questions like “What would the trip to Bethlehem be like for a very pregnant Mary?” For a few minutes, the Mass with mostly older adults became more like a 5th grade catechism class full of students eager to answer the questions.
Priests are not supposed to come down from the ambo. The homily is to be given, standing, from the ambo or the chair.