Pope pleads for shorter homilies

Pope pleads for shorter homilies
Priests should challenge parish


Priests must challenge parishioners if they want to make the Mass relevant to their lives and prompt them to delve deeper into their Faith. Irish religious and lay-catechists have called for homilies to be “more accessible” and really connect with people if they’re to make an impact.

Speaking about the importance of preaching, Fr Silvester O’Flynn  OFM Cap. told The Irish Catholic that all homilies should be simple, clear, direct and well-adapted so that the reading of the day is “connected to the life people are living”.

Author of Homily Hints and Prayers: Daily Mass Readings, Fr O’Flynn emphasised that the homily isn’t a “lecture”, but should be integrated into the Mass so that it appeals to “the mind, the heart and the imagination” of listeners.

His comments come after Pope Francis told a gathering of 10,000 people on a one-day trip to Palermo in Italy over the weekend that homilies should only be eight minutes long.

Speaking about the Pontiff’s remarks, Petra Conroy of Catholic Voices Ireland, said that, like a torch, the homily is “really a source of light and heat” and so it’s important “to get it right”.


Parishioners tend to be interested in homilies, she said, “if you’ve got a priest who can communicate well in that context because at the end of the day for an awful lot of Catholics who attend Mass only sometimes, that’s probably their only Faith input from the Church”.

Ms Conroy emphasised that the homily should be directed to those who are connected to the Church but are not really involved in it, like busy parents or businessowners. In this way, she said, people who attend Mass can go home “challenged” by it, and think about how they can act on what they’ve heard.