Letters to the Editor

More Homily Comments

Dear Editor: I am responding to the invitation in The Tablet (Feb. 7) entitled “Need for Good Homilies.”

First, let me acknowledge that in my parish we have wonderful, dedicated priests. Therefore, this letter is not to criticize but to offer some thoughts that are intended to be constructive regarding homilies at Mass on Sunday.

Very often, I have experienced homilies where the priests say something relevant, insightful and thoughtful within the first five minutes of the homily. Then, I’m sorry to say they “undo” their point by “beating it to death.”

Good homilies do not come from quantity of words but quality of words. I’m sure most priests have read “Evangelii Gaudium,” the pope’s handbook on preaching which is excellent. Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, said, “The homily in general should not go over eight minutes.” That says it all. If you have a good message, you should be able to deliver it in eight minutes.

Another unfortunate and sad result of homilies that are too long is that sometimes the priest rushes through the remainder of the Mass. That just should not be. Another concern I have is that some priests ask the congregation questions during their homily.

Maybe some people like that but, frankly, we are a congregation not an audience or a class, so, personally, I find that objectionable during a homily.

Jackson Heights

Dear Editor:

Just to let you know, St. Francis de Sales parish in Belle Harbor has had, and continues to have, priests who truly love God and bless us with some of the best spiritual messages ever.

Belle Harbor

Dear Editor: My impression of many homilies (drawing on the several thousand heard in my lifetime) probably aligns with a large number of faithful Catholics in parishes across the land. “Random ruminations,” “vague themes,” and “feel-good aphorisms” tend to dissipate en route from pulpit to pew. Yet it might be worthwhile, when/if one does find something that speaks to her, to communicate a positive word to the priest/homilist. A mediocre preacher might actually appreciate and possibly benefit from any such show of support.

A good homily, I hold, need not equate with superb oratory. A good homily reflects deep faith, relies on a simple yet strong presentation, demonstrates a clear love and understanding of Sacred Scripture and empowers/ inspires listeners. It feeds our intellect and our soul. It helps us grasp and understand the meaning in the message. And its content is more important than its length.

I am a parishioner of Sacred Heart Church in East Glendale, a parish that has been blessed for almost 17 years with a pastor named
Father John Fullum. He has an easygoing manner and conversational style – qualities, I believe, that draw and maintain our attention. His gift is communicating theological and t Scriptural truths in a way that equips listeners f with the means to confront and deal with personal life issues. And his weekday homilies are equal opportunities for imparting knowledge and genuine wisdom that have staying power.

Father Fullum’s deep love of Scripture is evident every Sunday morning after 9:30 Mass, as he leads a Bible study group in church.

Yes, we are a rich – and enriched – family at Sacred Heart, and we say to our pastor: Ad Multos Annos!


Dear Editor: I agree that there is a lack of interest in the homilies at Mass. My husband and I attend early Sunday Mass, and when you look around the church, there is hardly anyone under the age of 50. We have all heard the Gospels for the past 30 or so years, and we do not need the Gospel to be explained to us, but give us something to bring into our daily life or tell us something we don’t already know.

For example, a few weeks ago, the Gospel related the baptism of Jesus by St. John. It would be interesting to hear about how the sacrament of baptism has changed since its inception or to hear about the life of John the Baptist.

I recall a great homily – it occurred shortly after the tragic Oklahoma City bombing about 20 years ago. The priest reminded us that “you never know when life will be snuffed out in an instant” and that “you must be prepared to meet God at any given time.” And “you must live life to the fullest.” This homily improved my life with God and created a new personal life for me and my family. I still cherish his words.

Jamaica Estates

Dear Editor: What most preachers need to learn better is how to share their own experiences, how they themselves are struggling to live the Gospel. Rather than simply telling us parishioners that we must love God and love our neighbors, preachers should show us how they try to do this in their own lives. They can convince us to follow what they say from the pulpit and really improve our lives only if they – as true leaders and pastors – reveal how they practice what they preach. Then we all can go to God together.

If preachers want to learn how to show that their words are living words, they might watch the Oratorians on any Sunday at St. Boniface in Downtown Brooklyn.

Or go to their website: www.oratory-church.org and click on Homilies.


Dear Editor: I consider myself an “ok” Catholic guy, older than 50, that has spent time around the world, so I have a lot of Masses under my belt. With all these years, I have heard tons of homilies, good, bad or indifferent.

I moved back to Brooklyn over two years ago and happened to stumble upon Father Timothy Lambert at St. Bernard parish, and now at Mary, Queen of Heaven. That’s right, I am following him, and will probably follow him the rest of my days. He is amazing!

My Jewish wife also thinks so! He’s the only priest I’ve heard that really touches our souls, as he really connects with us and has us really wanting to hear the homily. His delivery, passion and reverence stand out from all others, and the message he so eloquently relays, really speaks to me, and so many others. He’s a man with very few peers, and we are blessed to have him.

I’ll end with what Father Tim ends his homilies with – “How Great is our God!”