Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 17 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Mariana of Jesus

Professional actors help seminarians with “Preaching Boot Camp”

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 05/18/15

Roman_Catholic_Archdiocese_of_Detroit.svg

From the Detroit Free Press:

Let’s be honest, Catholic priests aren’t known for soul-stirring preaching. And according to Pope Francis and many ex-Catholics, that’s a problem. Boring sermonizing does not fill the sanctuary or pay the bills. It certainly will not curb the steady march of American Catholics from the faith. “Priests today have to compete with a digital media culture where sounds bites, tweets and social media updates are the currency of communication. It’s a real challenge for preachers to break through,” said John Gehring, Catholic program director at the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Faith in Public Life. That’s why Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary has hired two professional actors to put priests-in-training through an acting/public speaking workshop nicknamed Preaching Boot Camp. For the last several years, actors Arthur Beer and Mary Bremer-Beer have conducted the three-week workshops at the seminary. The seminarians are taught how to project, how to control tempo, and how to master timing in order to deliver a Biblical truth or a laugh line. The married couple’s boot camp is a change-up from the typical seminary classes in Catholic theology and doctrine. Classes begin with rounds of vocal exercises — think “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” There are stretches to loosen muscles and minds. The priests-in-training test their endurance in breathing exercises that involve holding a lit candle in front of their mouths. The goal is to exhale slowly to make the flame dance, while not blowing it out. Learning how to control their breathing can help in their delivery. To get them to tap into their emotions, the men were asked to write and deliver speeches about their mothers — and to read those speeches to their moms. When one of the seminarians said his mother started crying, Bremer-Beer, a Henry Ford College acting teacher, took it as a good sign: “Doesn’t it make you feel good when they cry?”

Read more. 

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 Aleteia.org 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
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
LOREN SCHAUERS
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
3
HOLY SEPULCHRE CROSSES
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
4
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
St. Padre Pio: His life, his miracles and his legacy
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for strength
7
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
See More