On the one hand, many people who leave the catholic church talk about how boring the Catholic Mass is. Surely, as a parent i can identify with my children saying so too, but to be fair, if we had a three ring circus at the church they would be excited at first, but the mere fact that they HAVE TO go to church, instead of playing computer games, would have them grumbling.
Also here in Trinidad, we have about 60,000 people who go to church every week, yet these 60,000 are invested in the church. They give more today than members gave ten years ago. They come to church for the BODY OF CHRIST, the homily is incidental.
On the flip side, aren't we supposed to be a church of evangelization? How can we get people to come to church? Isn't one way to make the experience better? Does having an entertaining homily mean that the gospel can't be expressed properly? Of course it can be. The message could be made clearer and even more profound, if it is done right.
We have some very caring and loving priests here in Trinidad, but not all are great orators. Perhaps, the archdiocese of Port of Spain could take a page from the book of the Detroit Seminary.
Here is the article:
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?"
In an afternoon session, the seminarians took to the stage. The students memorized monologues involving characters from plays — a Jewish businessman from Neil Simon's "God's Favorite" to an engaging Irish-American pastor from "Mass Appeal." The men whooped and applauded when classmate Edgar De La Cruz, 27, did a foot-stomping, arm-pumping interpretation of a preacher from the drama "The Diviners." De La Cruz can be philosophical and introspective, and his passionate acting was a surprise, said his classmates.
"My Daddy, now he was a preacher," went De La Cruz's line. "Man took to the Bible like he was there just to shout it. Gonna tell everybody! Gonna tell everybody about the wonder and the miracle and the sweet love of Jesus." De La Cruz had been told to amp it up from a previous practice. But on this day, the delivery was staccato, not a fluid reverie. The preaching came out as screeching.
In the critique afterward, Beer, a University of Detroit Mercy theater professor, credited the seminarian for trying. But Beer said the student satirized the preacher rather than portraying a heartfelt character. "That was Joel Osteen on speed," quipped Bremer-Beer, referring to the noted televangelist and author whose Texas church is one of the country's largest Protestant congregations.