An interesting and unimpressive first day for the USCCB powwow in Seattle. The cool Pacific air has clouded some memories. I noticed this CNS headline piece on how excited the bishops got over a new document on preaching. Rehashing preaching must be more exciting than rehashing the Charter. We’ve sure seen how that 2003 document has been absorbed in Kansas City … in Philadelphia … and Santa Rosa … and Chicago. And maybe other places we don’t know about.
I wonder how many bothered to read the original from the “the first lost generation of poor catechesis,” as Bishop Alexander Sample of Upper Michigan put it. We sure read it, remember?
The fifty-page limit seems arbitrary. Not long enough to read on a flight to Rome, but maybe lengthy enough for an airport layover.
Imagine if the bishops solicited input from their clergy and laity on liturgical preaching. For many of us, it’s the 21st century. Set up a blog. Invite some theologians–remember these guys so many have alienated the past twenty, thirty years? See what happens. It could be worse. They could solicit our opinion on how the “lost generation” has fared with clergy sex offenders.
They’d do well to make Bishop Ken Untener’s book, Preaching Better, available to every person who preaches, not just at Eucharistic liturgies, but at all other places where people of faith gather.
Another document– no thanks. How about an online preaching resource taking the best online sources each week? Granted there are lots of preaching websites, but of varying quality.
Such a site as Fr Michael seeks already exists
While not long enough for reading on a flight to Rome, well worth reading is
James A Wallace (ed) Preaching in the Sunday Assembly, Liturgical Press (2010)
which contains the full text of “Fulfilled in Your Hearing” (approx. some 45 pages).
For two excellent slightly longer and more “academic” treatments of the homily, and helps in homily preparation,
Stephen Vincent DeLeers, Written Text Becomes Living Word, Liturgical Press (2004)
Guerric DeBona, Fulfilled in Your Hearing – History and Method of Christian Preaching, Paulist Press (2005)
And of course the writings on preaching and homilies by
Walter J Burghardt.
Ultimately, though, nothing can replace time given to reading and praying the Word of God, and listening to the community for whom one is called upon to break open the Word.
If the Word nourishes our daily lives we will find ways to help others to find nourishment in the Word, and surely that is the ultimate aim of our preaching.
Thanks for the textweek link– hadn’t seen that before. Already had the Center for Liturgy link bookmarked.
But my point is a little different. There are a vast number of preaching resources online, including full texts of homilies. What we don’t have is quality control: which are, let’s say, the top three homilies for the week. If bishops want to really let the priests know what they are looking for, providing week-by-week models would be a great help.