A priest’s preaching is probably one of the most visible and important parts of his ministry. Even as a seminarian, what I hear time and again from parishioners is how a given priest preaches. So its very exciting as a seminarian when you first start writing and preaching homilies in class. For Nick Cottrill, Ryan Elder and myself, that has all started this semester as we have our first course in Homiletics (you might call it Preaching 101). So far, we have all given one homily to our classmates and have two more to “preach” before the end of the semester.
I know for me it was both a challenging and encouraging experience. Challenging because no one is a harder audience (I think) than your classmates in the seminary. They all know the same theology you do and they live with you every day, so preaching to them can be a little intimidating. Most of all, however, the experience was encouraging because everyone was very helpful in their comments and supportive of one another, especially given that it was the first try for all of us. I was also impressed by the quality of the homilies and would not have been disappointed had I been visiting a parish and heard any one of my classmates preach. That being said, we still have a lot of work ahead of us, and many more semesters of homiletics before, God willing, we are ordained deacons and can really preach within the liturgy. Hopefully by the end we will all be ready to go out and preach the Word of God in truth and love, never forgetting that it is Christ’s own message that we carry and so we can never rely on our own words to be enough.
Happy Easter to all!