Many busy preachers have to crank out message after message. It may be a challenge to find something “new” to say each time. Thus, an unexamined preaching life can become a stale preaching life. Sometimes it helps to have a fresh set of eyes look at your preaching with you.
From the doctoral study, Are You Talking to Me? A Study of Young Listeners’ Connection with Catholic Sunday Preaching, fifty-five percent of the high school students who attended Mass regularly could describe an experience of growing in faith through the preaching that they heard in the past year. After categorizing those responses, the surprising thing was how varied was that growth in faith. From their responses, we have created a rubric which will find out which populations you are consistently reaching (not just age populations, but learning styles and faith-growth needs), which you inadvertently ignore or marginalize, and what topics you consistently preach about. You may not even be aware of your patterns.
For example, you may preach often on social justice issues. At the same time, you may have parishioners who could use a pastoral homily to help them over difficult situations. Or you may be a preacher that mostly speaks out of scriptural exegesis; it may be refreshing to investigate the US bishops’ new document on preaching, Preaching the Mystery of Faith, to find that you could tie in elements of the liturgy or snippets of doctrine. Or you may not even realize that you direct your preaching toward those who are fifty and older while the people sitting in front of you may be largely under sixteen (a great problem to have!)
But how do you know these things if you never examine your preaching life? The comments that you hear at the door, “Great homily, Father” are not helpful – the deacon may have preached that week. How can you keep your preaching fresh and life-giving? We can work together on it. Send us a message and get in touch.