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Rome Reports

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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.â?  "I think it should speak to your heart, to your soul and heart.â?  "They need to get the message out to their Congregation and that depends on actually knowing who you're speaking to.â?  "It should be short, I think max, 10 minutes is acceptable.â? 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.   FR. DAVID RIDER "I found that people really relate to images and to stories.â? 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.  FR. DAVID RIDER "Pope Francis has an interesting line in Evangelii Gaudium where he says, priests who say, Iâ??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.â?  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. FR. DAVID RIDER "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, heâ??s probably not using language that people need to hear. Heâ??s got to simplify his language.â?  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.  KLH  MG SV -PR Up: GRT