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Vatican Document Offers Homily Help

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – A homily at Mass is not a mini-catechism class, the Vatican says in a new document on homilies, but it is an opportunity to explain Church teaching using the Scripture readings and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

“In the broadest sense, the homily is a discourse about the mysteries of faith and the standards of Christian life,” says the Homiletic Directory published by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, whom Pope Francis named prefect of the worship congregation in November, told reporters that for many Catholics the homily, experienced as “beautiful or awful, interesting or boring,” is their basis for judging an entire Mass.

Montfort Missionary Father Corrado Maggioni, congregation undersecretary, said laypeople can help their priests. “We priests may need someone to tell us: ‘It’s too long,’ ‘It’s too repetitive’ or maybe ‘Little notes might help you not go off on a thousand tangents.’”

The Church discipline is that only ordained ministers – bishops, priests or deacons – are to deliver the homily at Mass.

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