Speaking at Mass

Please bear with me. Lay people are permitted o speak in our church about charitable volunteer work the do in foreign lands and appeal for financial assistance for their work. I do not wish to deny them that privilege. The priest will give a sermon on that day’s gospel and I have no objection to that either. Sometimes, the priest will give a sermon and incorporate current affairs topics and I have no objection to that. What I would like to see is lay people (male and female) being allowed to speak at mass. Ministers of the word should, I believe, if they wish, be allowed to speak the homily part of the mass. They could, if required, discuss what they are going to talk about, with the priest, prior to mass. I know I would love to deliver a homily on many parables and bible stories. The Road to Amass always springs to mind and i would love to deliver a homily on that event and speak about the disciples walking from (here) to (there), and I would insert the names of two local places about 8 kms apart. I would describe the disciples actions as their traveling companion wanted to leave them. One would say - sure it’s getting dark - let’s go in here, have a sandwich and a cup of tea (coffee) a coke, or whatever. Then later when Christ reveals himself to them - one disciple gets up and wants to run back and tell everyone and the second disciple asks him to wait until the morning - let’s have a good night’s sleep and we’'l go tomorrow and the first disciple gets excited and says 'Oh No - we can’t wait until tomorrow - we have to go tonight we have to tell everyone - He is Risen - He is with Us - Come on let’s go now. I feel so enthusiastic about this I really do - my faith inside me burns to be exposed to others - I want to let them see that there is a power within all of us and a love within all of us that we must share that love, that power that compassion with each other. Am I daft or what???

If you like to talk about your faith with others a great place to do that is a Bible Study. I have been to Bible studies and there is much opportunity for faith-sharing.

It is a definite rule that only the priest or deacon can give the homily, and sometimes (though rarely) a few minutes is allotted to a missionary.

There is good reason for that, and that is the rule. I hope that doesn’t upset you. There are many opportunities for faith-sharing by laypeople outside of doing it at a Mass.

I’m really glad that you are so on fire for the faith. However since it is not permitted for lay people to speak the Homily, the Holy Spirit must be trying to guide you in some other direction. Perhaps you could join KoC and give a talk there. Or maybe some time during a parish mission. Dorothy’s suggestion about a Bible study is really great too.

Or possibly you should consider whether you have a vocation as a permanent Deacon?

It is not up to your Pastor or even your bishop about whether you are allowed to give the Homily, this goes all the way to Rome. And I think I can see the Church’s point here. If nothing else, it would make a VERY awkward situation for a priest–having to edit other people’s proposed homilies to make sure they are free of doctrinal error, and then the arguments if the lay person doesn’t agree that it is an error, and the hurt feelings, and everything. I’m sure it wouldn’t be that way for you, but Lectors would have to have a much more rigorous training and selection process if they were to give homilies, and then it would be hard to find enough people. Then you have the possibility of a dual-class group of Lectors–one set who could give homilies and one that couldn’t. The more I think about it the more of a mess it becomes.

BTW, if lay people (missionaries or whoever) are currently speaking in your church at any time before Communion is over, I don’t think that is allowed either. I’m no expert but I think I remember hearing that somewhere reliable.

Best wishes that you find the direction the Holy Spirit is leading you!


lay persons may not give homilies
I never heard of a “lay minister of the Word” in the Catholic church
so my answer would be no and no
(poll selections btw do not relate to what you discussed in OP)

if you are being called to do some teaching based on scripture volunteer as a catechist, take the training, and learn to spell bible words

The mass is the sacrifice of our Lord at Calvary, made present to us. Thus, the ministerial priesthood, which consecrates the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Lord, is the proper celebrant. There are many ministries in the Church that are outside of mass, and this is the proper place to spread your faith. Ask at your parish office regarding all of the opportunities to speak out about your faith.

The answer is in Canon Law:

Can. 767 §1. Among the forms of preaching, the homily, which is part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or deacon, is preeminent; in the homily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life are to be explained from the sacred text during the course of the liturgical year.
§2. A homily must be given at all Masses on Sundays and holy days of obligation which are celebrated with a congregation, and it cannot be omitted except for a grave cause.
§3. It is strongly recommended that if there is a sufficient congregation, a homily is to be given even at Masses celebrated during the week, especially during the time of Advent and Lent or on the occasion of some feast day or a sorrowful event.
§4. It is for the pastor or rector of a church to take care that these prescripts are observed conscientiously.

Lay people cannot give a homily. Period.

By the way, I don’t know what a “lay minister of the word” is. Are you talking about a lector?

This sort of question really makes me think the Church needs to bring back the minor orders, and integrate the Deacons and minor orders more thoroughly.

People are too confused about the Mass, and the proper roles.

We need instituted lectors, acolytes, etc. with clear delineation of roles and responsibilities.

God Bless

Great observation! :thumbsup:

Ordination is a very important technicality for preaching at Mass that should not be underestimated. Preaching may simply look easier than it really is.

I’m reading a Bible commentary right now that is very interesting. It is an analysis of the story in Genesis of the tower of Babel. It is important in the story itself that the people in the city where the tower was being built committed a sin. In scripture, it is evident when God is shown to taken action to scatter the people and to confuse their languages, so that they cannot talk to one another.

But, what is the sin that is in focus?

The author provides a careful but convincing explanation of how the story of Babel makes sense, in itself, and in its context in Genesis.

I’m not going to spill the beans about the author’s thesis about the nature of their sin.

See? I let God provide me an opportunity right here in CAF to give a little homily on the scripture that I am currently reading. That’s all I try to do is to use CAF as a laboratory for me to see if I really understand and can really explain things, as well as I think I can.

I’m not trying to make this a homily. I’m just sharing some interesting stuff that I was reading.

If anyone has read this post up to this point, and if they want the “beans” about what is going on in Babel, I’ll be back to post the interpretation of the story of Babel in Genesis, if I see that anybody is interested.

DUH, I get excited when I read something, only to find out I was the last one to learn. I’m constantly reminded not to get a big head about anything that I think I know. I’m mortified. This happens to me all the time! LOL. :wink:

Not only that but many lay people are just not qualified to do a Homily. I am applying now for a Masters in Pastoral Studies and I would not want to do it as I feel that Mother Church in Her Wisdom has ordered that only those with ordination do this and me wanting to go against God’s will and a sign of Pride and Disobedience.

Why not just go the whole way and have lay people saying mass:rolleyes:

And there goes the slippery slope to married priests and the Ordination of Women …:bigyikes::tsktsk::nerd::frighten::bighanky::snowing:

Hey Richard, Simple - train for a Deacon, and you will earn this privilege! :thumbsup:

BTW, the priest only gets us for ‘1 HOUR a week’ (sic) - don’t tread on his time!!:blush:

Besides, JPII and P.Benedict both call on us to live our (baptismal) consecration by serving as ‘Lay evangelists’ as appropriate for our ‘state in life’ (not to replace priests roles but rather supplement it).!!!

I do not know if you realize this, but, the Church prohibits the laity from preaching a homily. Please read what Redemptionis Sacramentum states about this matter:

[64.] The homily, which is given in the course of the celebration of Holy Mass and is a part of the Liturgy itself,142 “should ordinarily be given by the Priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating Priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to a Deacon, but never to a layperson.143 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”.144

[65.] It should be borne in mind that any previous norm that may have admitted non-ordained faithful to give the homily during the Eucharistic celebration is to be considered abrogated by the norm of canon 767 §1.145 This practice is reprobated, so that it cannot be permitted to attain the force of custom.

[66.] The prohibition of the admission of laypersons to preach within the Mass applies also to seminarians, students of theological disciplines, and those who have assumed the function of those known as “pastoral assistants”; nor is there to be any exception for any other kind of layperson, or group, or community, or association.146

A person may make a pitch for a particular charity or for stewardship after the post-Communion prayer (just prior to the final blessing). However, only a bishop, priest and deacon can preach a homily.

What kind of poll is this where all the options are bad?

No and no.

This is true. In fact, in some traditions, people make the sign of the cross after the priest delivers the homily.

Ditto about homilies being reserved for ordained ministers (priests and deacons).
There could be a nice role for lay speakers during bible study groups.

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i know what Richard is talking about. i’ve been to some masses where i felt i could give a better homily that the priest. but alas, its not my place to do so.

and i agree with everyone, there’s a proper place for lay people to share, and its not within the mass

I wasn’t really sure about either of the choices, so I didn’t vote. I do agree that we should have ministers of the word/lectors who are lay people. As long as they’re just reading the black and nothing else.

Lay people shouldn’t give homilies though, as that is restricted to the clergy.

That seems to be the common time for general announcements or even for the priest to remind people to check out the bulletin. We’ve actually moved it at our parish to just before the mass starts (before the gathering hymn) because some felt it broke up the conclusion too much.

The permission/ability to give a homily is not dependent, ultimately, upon training, education, skill, etc. It is based on the grace to participate in Christ’s teaching authority in a particular way, received in the sacrament of Holy Orders.

“The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church.” (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium 9) Lay preaching is possible, but it is not necessary or proper that it take place during Mass. Mass is not the place for every particular devotion, practice, or action of a Christian.

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