Wednesday, July 30, 2008

St. Peter Chrysologus, pray for us (preachers)!

Today's feast day, commemorating St. Peter C., may not have even been celebrated at the thousands of daily Masses that have already taken place, or will take place, today.  He's not one of the first Saints of the Church you think of, if you were asked to rattle off twenty-five Saints of the Church.

But I get the feeling Joe and Jane Catholic would demand a Mass on this feast day, if they knew more about Chrysologus.  I got this tidbit out of Butler's Lives of the Saints:
"We have many of his discourses still extant: they are all very short, for he was afraid of fatiguing the attention of his hearers."
A Patron Saint for short homilies at Mass?  Now do I have your interest?

Now, before you start running to the internet in a desperate attempt to find novenas to St. Peter Chrysologus, maybe even asking that a statue of the Saint be placed in your parish church (preferably right across from the ambo), let's remember that "short" is a relative term.  Some of the Church's best preachers would be up in the pulpit for hours; what is a short homily in comparison to them?  forty-five minutes?  a half hour?

It has been said that some preachers can preach for two hours and say absolutely nothing, while others can say something in one minute that blow you away!  Most of us are somewhere in the middle, but we can always use some assistance.

St. Peter Chrysologus, pray for us preachers.


Unknown said...

Though I've never heard any of your homilies - I have the distinct impression that your homilies would be of the entertaining and yet enlightening variety.
I will, however, find a novena to St. Peter Chrysologus to pray for those preachers whose monotone and length of sermon have caused me to tune out and quite possibly miss that one minute of applicable insight.

Gregg the Obscure said...

Expectations vary. I remember hearing a story from relatives of mine that the German Lutherans in northern Minnesota in the late 30s were incensed when the new preacher's second sermon came in under an hour. They sent a deputation to him telling him he'd face a pay cut if he didn't put in at least a full hour in the pulpit at every Sunday service.

Father Jay Toborowsky said...

>>>They sent a deputation to him telling him he'd face a pay cut if he didn't put in at least a full hour in the pulpit at every Sunday service.<<<

On a related topic. A seminary classmate of mine studied at a Lutheran seminary before he was received into the Church. He told our class that he was told that ministers should plan on 30 minutes of preparation for every minute of length of their sermon. So, if a Sunday sermon lasted one hour (60 minutes), that would mean you should have spent 30 hours that week preparing the sermon.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

The numbers sound about right, I know that when I'm preparing lectures, I spend for every paragraph I spend about 1/2 hour to hour peparing for it, most of my lectures are a good 1500-2000 words, time and effort is something I definately put intoo when I'm teaching.