ASK FATHER: Sermons at daily Masses. POLL

From a reader…


Why is it that it seems common practice at daily Masses in the EF to not preach (and thus not repeat the readings in English)? Would it be illicit to do so? Might this be a case where mutual enrichment might manifest itself?

There is no obligation to preach at daily Masses.  Can. 767 § 2 says that a homily (sermon) must be preached on Sundays and Holy Days of precept.  It cannot be omitted except for a grave reason.

As a matter of fact, the fad of preaching at daily Masses is pretty new.  In some cases, it might respond to a genuine desire of the faithful for instruction.  In some cases, it might reflect the priest’s love of the sound of his own voice as he scatters his profundities.  In other cases, Father might think that he has to preach.  He doesn’t.

As for wanting to hear the readings in English, I might recommend getting a hand missal and/or taking a look at them before Mass begins.

A priest can preach at a daily TLM if it is opportune.

That’s the question.  Is it opportune?  Some preachers are better than others at the “fervorino”.  Some people really need to get to work or get home to cook supper for their kids.

We might try a little poll.

Choose your best answer, even with the understanding that you might evenly split your time between both forms or even the Divine Liturgy.  Explain more fully in the combox.

Anyone can vote.  You have to be registered and approved to use the comment box.

Sermon/homily at daily Masses (not of obligation)

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  1. zag4christ says:

    I attend daily Mass in the Novus Ordo. It is my only option where I live. I appreciate what the Mass is, and I fully understand that my human sensibility can not truly apprehend the entirety of what is truly going on, but once in a great while I get a glimpse, and I am humbled, filled with joy to the point where I think I have a clue about “what the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard”.
    I do desire homilies that bring the Gospel alive, and inspire me to go forth and witness to Christ. On a very rare occasion does that happen. I read Scripture, but I always have believed that hearing Scripture proclaimed, then hearing a homily about it conveys more. How much more? I hope exponentially. As I said, it is rare that a homily brings Heaven to earth. I have come to the conclusion that the rarity is part of the human condition for the most of us who struggle in our conversion to Christ.

    Peace and God bless,

  2. APX says:

    We used to have a priest from the FSSP who would give a short fervorino off the cuff for all 2nd Class Feasts, as well as many 3rd Class Feasts, the majority of Mass w during Lent and even some votive Masses. I used to find them very helpful and motivating when I’d get stuck in a rut with the daily grind. Now our priests don’t preach except for Sundays and very limited First Class Feasts.

    I have received much grace from these fervorinos so it’s a pity more priests don’t even bother with a short exhortation, especially during Lent.

  3. Fr. W says:

    Of course a homily at daily Mass in the Ordinary Form is not required. But giving a homily is more than simply a “fad”. From the Girm #66: “There is to be a homily on Sundays and holy days of obligation at all Masses that are celebrated with the participation of a congregation; it may not be omitted without a serious reason. It is recommended on other days, especially on the weekdays of Advent, Lent, and the Easter Season, as well as on other festive days and occasions when the people come to church in greater numbers.”

  4. DavidR says:

    I voted ‘Indifferent – NO.’ We often get heresy on Sunday, I really don’t need to hear it on dailies also.

  5. Adaquano says:

    I appreciate a brief homily at daily Mass (normally NO), especially if focuses a saint or it reflects on a O.T. reading that we don’t hear at Sunday Mass.

  6. drforjc says:

    I voted yes, provided it is kept succinct and to the point.

  7. Thorfinn says:

    As I understand it the requirement for a homily on Sundays & holy days is of relatively recent origin.

    Does the Canon apply to the TLM? Or is it still, strictly speaking, optional?


  8. Titus says:

    The poll options are tricky. For daily Mass, I almost invariably attend the N.O., although we assist at a TLM on Sundays.

    Also, I like to have a short, punchy homily on weekdays, but it’s not the end of the world if there isn’t one. A bad weekday homily is worse than none at all.

    The priest who says Mass at the parish near my office, where I hear weekday Mass, only gives a homily if he has something to say that day (I believe he also omits the homily sometimes on account of illness). So sometimes we have one and sometimes we don’t.

    The best daily preacher I’ve encountered was a Franciscan canon law professor. He never talked for more than about three minutes, but they were always richly packed minutes.

  9. Red A Surcami says:

    The FSSP priests have such great knowledge. I’m a bit disappointed if they do not share at least a little of it during daily Mass.

  10. Fr. Kelly says:

    The Code of Canon law applies to all Latin Rite Catholics and so Canon 767 would apply equally to all forms/uses of the Roman rite.
    Summorum Pontificum exempts celebrations of the Mass and Sacraments according to the liturgical law in force in 1962 from certain aspects of the later liturgical law, but not from canon law.

  11. Josephus Corvus says:

    The reason I voted no is for a bit of a selfish reason. My primary opportunity to attend a EF Mass was during the noon Mass when I was working close to the parish. The timing is such that if Mass were extended, there would be fewer opportunities to attend.

  12. wbloomfield says:

    A short homily is fine, though my preference is no homily. If anything were to be excised from the daily Masses I attend, I suggest removing the general intercessions.

  13. dholwell says:

    I attend daily Mass frequently at a Benedictine Abbey. Every homily is a work rooted in profound faith and homiletic art.

  14. Tom says:

    I attended a handful of OF Masses at which the priest read all or part of the second lesson from the day’s Office of Readings for a sermon. I greatly appreciated this and wish more priests would do it more often.

  15. Charivari Rob says:

    For me, it depends on time of day (or perhaps type of day)

    If it’s a workday and I’m trying to get to Mass, that would usually mean an early one before my start time or one at midday during my lunch break. That’s the case for a lot of people who go to early Mass or noon Mass on a weekday. Even a couple of minutes added to 20+ minute Mass can move the matter into the realm of the impractical.

    On a day off, or a Mass time like 9 or 10 AM, I like it if Father has a couple of minutes of insight to share.

  16. iPadre says:

    I usually give a short homily/ sermon at daily Mass whether it’s OF or EF, except for one day a week.

  17. Blog Goliard says:

    My college chaplain (who celebrated the Novus Ordo versus populum, but otherwise with as much of a traditional feel as was possible) was master of the trenchant three-minute extemporaneous homily.

    That would be my clear first choice. No homily at all would be my second choice, outranking longer (or even short-but-not-trenchant) ones.

    P.S. I will always treasure the conclusion to one of that chaplain’s daily homilies: “You can’t please all of the people all of the time…even when you’re God.” Father turned charmingly beet red at that point; I suspect he was a tiny bit surprised that he’d gone ahead and said it.

    Along with being a bit startling, his words weren’t a bad jumping-off point for some meditation on human free will and human perversity. (And there was soon a nice bit of quiet in which to so meditate, during the preparation of the altar and the gifts. As much as I like singing and chanting in choirs and scholas, I think the impulse to cover the quiet bits of Mass with music needs to be resisted more.)

  18. Ave Maria says:

    I only have access to the TLM on Sundays in my home town but when I visit elsewhere and attend a daily TLM, I really miss having the readings also in English and at least a few words of sermon from the pulpit.

  19. ex seaxe says:

    I remember noticing that Trent recommended that there should be frequent instruction/comment by the priest at Mass for the better instruction of the faithful. I don’t have time to find the reference though. I think that they meant that Mass should often have a homily, NOT that the celebrant should during Mass often break off to explain something!

  20. JesusFreak84 says:

    I think in this day and age, every opportunity to instruct the folks in the pews needs to be taken. My verbal memory is pretty much non-existent, (thanks, Asperger’s,) but I think most people will remember sermons, especially the Catholics who ARE daily Mass goers.

    FWIW, ETWN also preaches sermons in daily Masses.

  21. APX says:


    Even when we did have a daily fervorino, our priest didn’t re-read the readings in English except in Lent (which has different readings) and specific feasts where the readings weren’t from the regular common of Masses, and even then, only if his fervorino was specifically about one of the readings. His line of thinking was that as Catholics we should know what the readings already are for the common of the saints.

  22. ex seaxe says:

    Session XXII – The sixth under the Supreme Pontiff, Pius IV, celebrated on the seventeenth day of September, 1562
    Doctrine Concerning The Sacrifice Of The Mass
    … the holy council commands pastors and all who have the that they, either themselves or through others, explain frequently during the celebration of the mass some of the things read during the mass …
    [translation at EWTN]

  23. CDNowak says:

    In seminary and college life we are often spoiled by priests who have adequate time to prepare their homilies. In parish life, however, there are myriad concerns that prevent many parish priests from spending time on adequate preparation. It seems that it might be beneficial in some situations for the faithful if their priests focus their time on preaching fewer homilies, but of higher quality.

  24. The Egyptian says:

    Card Dolan on Catholic Radio several years ago,
    from memory not direct quote
    “I used to be known as 20 minute Dolan, had a very early morning daily mass, quite a few people going to work or just getting off, these people have made a choice to spend a few minutes with God on their way to work, juggling transportation schedules, they didn’t come to listen to me sermonize, the least I could do is have short proper Mass for them to send them on their way”

  25. yatzer says:

    I’m usually pressed for time at a daily Mass. A short commentary or some such is great, but skipping it can be helpful also. So I said indifferent.

  26. APX says:

    In parish life, however, there are myriad concerns that prevent many parish priests from spending time on adequate preparation

    Yet when I used to go to the Anglican Use Ordinariate church for daily Mass, the married Pastor with a wife and five young children managed to manage his time efficiently enough to manage a parish, manage a household, and still write well-thought out homilies for daily Mass which far exceeded anything I would ever expect in a daily Mass homily. One of the priest’s main duties is that of teaching his flock, which should take priority over lesser daily tasks.

  27. Grumpy Beggar says:

    There was one Mass in particular at my home parish when I was a young adult which rarely had a homily. At that time we were blessed with 3 priests. So each weekday , there was a 7:00 am Mass and a 9:00 am Mass (plus one additional Mass Tuesday evenings).

    The 7:00 am Mass was strategically implemented for those who had to work, or get to work early so they would have the opportunity of beginning their day with holy Mass if they desired. Good ol’ Fr. Mac, our pastor – God rest his soul, would be in the Confessional almost every day at 6:40 am when he was presiding at the 7:00 am weekday Mass.

    Once in a blue moon we got a 2-sentence homily at the 7:00 am weekday Mass, but it was for the most part , without homily ; so the workers could get away earlier without cheating themselves out of the final blessing.

  28. tzard says:

    A daily mass for me is usually to leave work, go to Mass, have a quick lunch and head back to work. I’d prefer to get in and out – I do fill the rest of my day with prayer too, but I prefer a quick and to-the-point mass. The familiarity is comforting.

    Even way back in College, daily mass was a 15 minute thing. Enough time to take a break from studying and then get back to work.

  29. Moro says:

    When I lived in Barcelona, daily mass whether TLM or Novus Ordo in English, Spanish, or Catalan it there was only one time I saw a sermon at a daily mass. It was well attended because it was a normal daily mass offered on the an anniversary of the death of several young adults in a car accident. That was the only time I heard a sermon at daily mass. I was a little puzzled as to why this was a custom there but I have two theories:

    1. This is the custom in Catholic countries. The English speaking world was the exception with daily mass sermons because they are in protestant countries and the protestant focus on the sermon had affected the local Catholic mindset.

    Or perhaps:

    2. Mass was scheduled to accommodate workers and students and so it was short. I know it was scheduled to accommodate works because virtually every weekday mass was at 8AM or 8PM to accommodate the local work schedule unlike in suburban American where it tends to be at 9AM, when most in the private sector have been at their desks for at least half an hour if not more. All this because Msgr. Wimpy McWuss doesn’t want to incur the displeasure of retirees who have the freedom to go at almost any time by scheduling the mass at a time when public school students and workers can actually make mass.

    For any American priest readers out there, please offering mass early beginning at a time from 6-7:30AM or in the evening beginning from 5:30-7:30pm to accomodate those of us out in the workplace and non-Catholics schools needing the grace to stand up to an anti-Catholic, anti-life, politically correct and hedonistic society. In fact, you can actually help more parishioners at masses scheduled convenient for the working crowd than at times that are not convenient for them.

  30. JuliB says:

    I was working in Manhattan and went to a daily Mass frequently. The pastor there would give a 2-3 minute homily which would have more impact than many Sunday homilies I heard. So, I would prefer a few comments, but can live without it.

  31. Imrahil says:

    Opinion maybe later. In the meantime,

    “no sermon” does not need to mean “no lessons in English”. It is often the practice to either use Summorum pontificum’s (I think) provision to have the lessons in the vernacular (in any case, that is often done on weekdays at the FSSP vicariate I attend). I’m not so sure whether I like that, but it’s possible. It is also possible, which I also have already seen already, to have what is technically a sermon but which consists just of the repetition of the lessons in the vernacular, with no thoughts added.

  32. KateD says:

    Indifferent-TLM , though I’m not indifferent…..
    I love homilies. The only time I’ve been present at Mass w/o homily is for priests’ private Masses. I always learn so much from homilies, but the main thing is worshiping God.

    I consider it a great honor to be present when any Mass is offered.

    There have been times when Mass was not readily available.

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