Friday, July 14, 2006

Homily is finished...

Some folks ask how long it takes a priest to prepare a Sunday homily.

For this priest, this week, it took about eight hours direct time in composition, not counting time I thought about it, on and off, as I went about other business.

I started composing Wednesday, and spent several hours coming up with a lot of material--far too much. I got back to it today, rewrote most of it, adding, cutting, cutting, cutting...trying to get it to a manageable length, but also to try to give it some discernible flow and shape, attending to the imagery, the phrases, so they might be effective and memorable.

You'll see it Sunday, and your comments are always very helpful.


Ellen said...

How long does it take you to give your homily? It is tough to tell by reading it as I know I read faster than I can speak.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I estimate each 100 words takes about a minute; my homilies vary in length, but I attempt to go 7-10 minutes, rarely longer (if I stick to my text, which I usually do). I have no problem with a shorter homily, if that is what works out.

I am guided by what I'm trying to say; if I can hit on the right words, and say it in 100 or 200 words even, no problem! But if it goes longer than 10 minutes, I figure I'm trying to say too much.

My shortest homily was 18 words.

Mary Martha said...

18 words? I am going to have to ask that you share with the blogging world.

I love your homilies when you post them. Then again I generally enjoy homilies.

But sometimes in real life I am annoyed when there is no homiliy. Just a couple months ago the reading was one of my very favorites ('Greater love hath no man...') and then there was no homily. I was bummed.

Ellen said...

Thanks for the response. I enjoy listening to the homily at mass, but if it goes past 10 minutes, you've lost me. The only exception to this was when I was a child and attended mass at an army hospital base where I lived. The priest who said mass would give great homilies that would be in serial format and would leave you hanging so you had to come to mass the following week to hear the next installment. He was so good that my brother would come home from college just to hear the continuation of the homily.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I am speaking, I always let the people know that if they start listening at about the same time I start talking, chances are very good that we'll both end around the same time !!!!

On one occasion, St. Francis said to the brothers who were closest to him, "...In prayer we purify the desires of our hearts and enter into union with the one, true, and supreme Good, and we grow in virtue. In preaching, on the other hand, the dust of distraction and relaxed discipline enters the soul."

St. Bonaventure - Major Life