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Holy See confirms investigation of Order of Malta

January 17, 2017. The Holy See has issued a statement Tuesday in response to "attempts by the Order of Malta to discredit” the new group established by the Vatican to conduct the investigation of why the Chancellor of the Order of Malta was asked to step down.

Pope sends condolences for victims of Turkish cargo jet crash

January 16, 2017. On Monday morning, a Turkish cargo plane has tragically crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing dozens and hospitalizing many others. Many homes and vehicles in the small village are also destroyed. As a result, Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin has sent a message of condolences to the victims of the disaster on behalf of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis to meet with Palestinian president on Saturday

January 11, 2017. Pope Francis will meet with Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas on Saturday, January 14, at the Vatican to inaugurate the new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.

Former Director of the Vatican's school for diplomats, Justo Mullor dies

December 30, 2016. The smiling archbishop Justo Mullor died this morning in Rome, at the Pío XI Clinic. He was 84 years old.
Pope Francis

Pope approves new decrees for the Causes of Saints

December 22, 2016. On Wednesday, December 21, Pope Francis authorized the following decrees for the Causes of Saints:

The Art of Preaching: What makes a good Homily?


What exactly is a good homily? What does it take for a message to hit home. We asked people around St. Peter's Square, for their opinion. 

"It has to be short, concise and straight to the point.” 

"I think it should speak to your heart, to your soul and heart.” 

"They need to get the message out to their Congregation and that depends on actually knowing who you're speaking to.” 

"It should be short, I think max, 10 minutes is acceptable.”

For better or worse, people usually judge the Mass by the quality of the homily. 

Now the Vatican is also weighing in. It issued a document to give priests and seminarians a few tips on preparing for homilies. It shouldn't be a catechism course, it reads, but rather, a way to explain Church teaching through the Gospel.  

"I found that people really relate to images and to stories.”

Father David Rider has been a priest for nine months. As a young priest, he says the key is to reflect on what the reading says to both the priest and the congregation. Being prepared, is a must. 

"Pope Francis has an interesting line in Evangelii Gaudium where he says, priests who say, I’m going to rely on the Holy Spirit and make it up on the spot and let the Spirit guide me. He says, they are not Spiritual they are irresponsible.” 

The Vatican document also includes a portion of Pope Francis apostolic exhortation, 'Evangelii Gaudium' where it says that, for the most part the homilies should be brief. There should be a balanced mix of theology and practicality.

"If a priest is using language that is very familiar to him from his studies and that would be understood by other priests and seminarians, he’s probably not using language that people need to hear. He’s got to simplify his language.” 

The document also includes tips on giving homilies for weddings and funerals and special Christian holidays. 

Perhaps the best example is Pope Francis, whose homilies are always to the point, practical, moving and usually also challenging.