Catholic priests pushed to become better preachers

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RNS photo by Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

RNS photo by Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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ST. LOUIS (RNS) The Rev. Don Wester believes homilies should be practical and direct -- that they should draw a connection between the everyday struggles of parishioners and biblical truths. And it’s exactly the kind of preaching that Catholic bishops across America are hoping for as part of a new national effort to improve preaching at Catholic parishes. By Tim Townsend.

  • Laurie

    The whole basis of this ability to transmit the word of God is prayer and a holy life that renders one an instrument of the Holy Spirit. After all, it is not the priest who should be heard, it is the Holy Spirit who should be heard. A priest has to be on fire for God and His Word in order to transmit the gospel with power and passion. I would like to point out that there are great orators (preachers) too that are not instruments of the Holy Spirit, they are just good at public speaking and entertaining. Therefore, good preaching is not enough, one has to be imbued by the Spirit of God through a life of prayer and a life that is holy, a fitting instrument of the Holy Spirit.

  • John654

    Have them listen to great preachers, like the Fathers of Mercy.


  • Mary

    It’s so sad to see priests deliver so poor homelies.
    The congragation is not spiritually fed. It’s about time
    to do something. Worse is when they don’t preach @ all.
    What is going on. Thanks God I always pray for them.

  • Joe

    Fr. Helmuts Libietis…he is an orator! After attending his masses, we would contemplate his homily, all the way home and for the next week. Why. He was a Prayerful Priest, spoke with relation to the world we live in today without fear of ‘offending’ anyone; yet he also taught us something of our Catholic faith that came with such a clear understanding of it. Most of all, he wants so ardently to Save Souls!

  • Casting Crowns

    You have to understand the word of God has become secondary rather than primacy for Catholic priests. After hearing nothing at Mass regarding the word for decades, it’s clear the only thing they really care about is the Eucharist. Knowledge of Our Lord is more than only the Eucharist. The 7 minute homily is just something to move past in order to arrive at the Eucharist. Most clergy spend little time preparing their homily or use some boiler plate scrip used by other priests. Often the homily is only about the Second Collection, a parish fundraising event or some comical humor. The Mass is not a forum for teaching or instruction. It is rare to find any parishioner after Mass who even recalls what the homily was about. This is very, very regrettable. One Sunday when a visiting missionary nun was going to speak at the homily, the priest shocking told us he “lucked out” by not having to give the homily. I am sure the Lord was pleased with his response to have “lucked out” by not preaching the gospel that Sunday.