Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 12 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Pancras

Is a shorter homily better?

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 06/20/17

I tell my homiletics students: “A boring four-minute sermon is twice as good as a boring eight-minute one.” A priest in Ireland seems to agree.

From The Belfast Telegraph:

Fr Paddy O’Kane, who is parish priest at the Holy Family Church in the Ballymagroarty area of Londonderry, decided to cut the length of his sermons in order to encourage parents to bring their children to Mass on a Sunday and to keep his congregation fully engaged. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Fr O’Kane said: “When you are up on the alter preaching, you can be under the false impression you are being more interesting than you actually are. “I have just come back from a sabbatical in Texas where we were told as far as possible to sit in the pews beside the congregation to get a lay person’s perspective on what was going on. “I found the sermons were quite long and I found my attention began to wander after around five minutes no matter how interesting the person was. “There were some sermons I heard that were short, sharp and to the point and I found those very uplifting. “A parent of a child recently asked me why he should bring her to Mass when all she does is yawn with boredom while a priest goes on for around 15 minutes talking about things they didn’t understand. “What that parent said really struck a chord with me and made me think maybe having sermons, shorter, to the point and child-friendly would be the start of getting more families to come back to church. “It is easier to write a longer sermon so my decision to keep my sermons to around five minutes is not a matter of me taking it easy. It is difficult but my congregation seem to be on board with this. In fact one wag said: ‘Could you not make it four minutes Father’?”

Readthe rest. 

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Meg Hunter-Kilmer
Saints to help if Mother’s Day is hard
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
Zoe Romanowsky
Moving 1-minute film about motherhood will touch your heart
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
See More