QUAERITUR: Sermon by a different priest during TLM

From a reader:

In my parish the pastor does not know the TLM, but our associate pastor does. Our pastor now desires to preach on a regular basis to the TLM community. Do you know what the rubrics are for a non-celebrant preacher? Should the preacher wear choir dress and sit at a sedilia on the sit of the altar? Should he just show-up and disappear before and after the homily?

Father Homilist should wear his proper choir dress and biretta.

Ideally, Father should should sit in choir.

However, he can come in from the sacristy as well.  This could be a good solution if Father is hearing confessions before Mass and even during the first part of Mass.

Mark my words, someone will criticize the priest coming from the sacristy to preach with the image of “cuckoo clock”.   To which we patiently respond, even with a talking-hand gesture, “Blah… Blah… Blah…”.

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5 Responses to QUAERITUR: Sermon by a different priest during TLM

  1. In many of our Dominican churches (but not enough), the same priest preaches all the Masses. This means that the preacher has much more time to prepare the sermon, rather than churning out a sermon every Sunday for one or two Masses. Most of our parishes have seven to eight Masses. Where there is one priest preaching each week the sermons are better and the congregation does not end up hearing the same preacher week after week because they happen to be at that priest’s Mass. A member of the “Order of Preachers” (and an academic) I have lived in five parishes. I can say, without a doubt, that in the parishes where one priest preached all the Masses, the sermons were exponentially better than the ones where every priest preached “his” Mass every week.

    When Dominicans preach and are not the celebrant, traditionally we wear the cappa — the black cape that is part of our habit. The sole is not worn with the cappa. This has been our practice since the Middle Ages. I have noticed that it is also now the practice of virtually all our students when they preach at Vespers in the house of studies. I would urge all priests (secular and religious) to consider having a single preacher for all the Sunday Masses, if there is more than one priest in the parish.

    I might also add that when a priest preaches all the Masses, the sermon improves with each Mass as he adopts the sermon and improves it. Needless to say, this happens naturally if there is only one priest — I was in that position when I was a Newman chaplain at a small college and had all the benefits of preaching all the Masses, whether I wanted them or not. I have saved for future reference the third version of the sermon for that time in my ministry. The last version was always the best.

  2. AnnAsher says:

    I would find it a tad distracting. How is a priest to hone his skills if not by practice? We have an earnest young priest I admire who rambles …. But I think it’s important to embrace him and not complain. It’d be nice if he realized that his other talking (to altar servers during the offeratory, long announcements prior to the final blessing and Ite Missa est) are distracting and interrupting of the prayer of the Mass. But I believe this will come over time with maturation and practice, with our support and prayers. So – while I’d find the priest coming in for the Sermon a tad distracting … I’d hope for the best.

  3. AnnAsher says:

    I would find it a tad distracting. How is a priest to hone his skills if not by practice? We have an earnest young priest I admire who rambles …. But I think it’s important to embrace him and not complain. It’d be nice if he realized that his other talking (to altar servers during the offeratory, long announcements prior to the final blessing and Ite Missa est) are distracting and interrupting of the prayer of the Mass. But I believe this will come over time with maturation and practice, with our support and prayers. So – while I’d find the priest coming in for the Sermon a tad distracting; I’d hope for the best.

  4. I think it’s admirable that the pastor wishes to preach to the TLM community. I don’t know how common it is to have a priest enter a Mass in the older form to preach, and then depart, but I do it periodically in my parishes in the ordinary form.

  5. Hmm. Preaching one’s “own” Mass, where no other priest hears the young preacher is going to “improve” his preaching. NOT. If the seminary cannot teach new priests how to preach, then the system of one priest preaching all the Masses is obviously better. The new priest will hear other priests who preach well (and others who are worse–the proverbial bad example that he learns to avoid). And having to preach for other priest’s Masses will insure that he get feedback, plenty of it, from the priest that had to sit through the bad sermon.

    I can think of nothing worse for a young bad preacher than “preaching all (and only) his ‘own’ Masses.” And I speak from over 25 years of experience in parishes of the Order of Preachers. Think about it. Just thing about it.