Pope to priests: Keep homilies short

Ghio Ong, Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star
Pope to priests: Keep homilies short
Pope Francis waves to the crowd during the weekly general audience on June 12, 2024 at St Peter's square in The Vatican.
AFP / Isabella Bonotto

MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis declared during his Wednesday catechesis on June 12 that homilies must only be eight minutes short.

According to the pope, the homily, usually based on readings from the Bible during masses, should “help move the Word of God from the book to life.”

“But the homily for this must be short: an image, a thought, a feeling. The homily should not go beyond eight minutes because after that time you lose attention and people fall asleep,” according to a report from the Catholic News Agency quoting him.

He made the remark while reflecting on how the Bible “is inspired by God and authoritative,” the report said.

When asked to comment about Pope Francis’ suggestion, EDSA Shrine Rector Fr. Jerome Secillano said this was possible, just do away with long anecdotes.

 “It can be done but perhaps without the long and winding narratives or anecdotes that we Filipinos are used to hearing during homilies,” said Secillano, the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Commission on Public Affairs.

There have been instances when a priest would start his homily with an anecdote or narrative to connect with the present situation and to better explain the context of the Gospel to the mass goers.

Secillano said there is no specific number of minutes allotted for a homily during masses. Usually, a mass lasts for about an hour.

“There is no formal policy with regard to the duration of a homily,” he said.

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