Is Mass supposed to be one hour long?

How did Catholics come to expect the Mass celebrated on Sundays to be only one hour long? Where is it written a priest should give a ten minute sermon? How does one respond to criticisms against a priest who routinely gives twenty minute sermons? Is it a valid complaint to bring to one’s pastor that his sermons are too long? What’s the name for this? Catholic minimalism?

Dear Rosalinda,

The are no laws as to exactly how long the Mass or the homily must last. Certainly, if the preacher is good, he can preach longer without it seeming so. If his preaching is deadly, then ten minutes can seem like a half hour.

In the fifties, thousands of people would tune in every week to hear Bishop Sheen speak on his half-hour TV program. The time passed quickly because he was interesting. All I can say is pray for good preachers in the Catholic Church!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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