Thursday, June 23, 2016

Notes from the 2016 Notre Dame Symposium 7: Preaching - Relational Evangelization

KARLA BELLINGER:  "Liturgical Preaching and Evangelization"

YOU matter. YOU are the way. Pope Francis embodies this. Jesus was like that too. This is a theological statement. Yet we wonder if any word WE say matters. Do our words matter?

When the Holy Spirit asks say yes!  You matter, words matter, liturgical words matter!

Many people have deep feelings about preaching.

Name one word that comes to mind about Sunday preaching: (mine is "Forgettable")

Is preaching epiphenominological?  (i.e., Does it cause something to happen to the listener?) Too many people say "I come for the Eucharist not for the preaching." The homily is the 21st century hair shirt!

Priests and deacons think: Is anyone listening? 
Those in the pews think: Are you talking to me?  

Preaching is a relationship... When we don't have the connection there is a gap. Deep feelings on both sides... A conversation we are not having.

Study: 94% of those who gave feedback gave it to preachers they liked.  Only one in four catechetical leaders would pass a comment they heard on to a preacher... Zero would do it if the feedback was negative in nature.

Preaching is relational.

We need: new methods, new ardor, new expression

Andrew Greely said 1 out of 6 are preaching well.  CARA study says 1 out of 6 people in the pews is active. The target audience is the other 5.

Preachers should aim at those who only come once a year... If preacher yells at them or the music is bad, why would they ever come back?

For evangelization the homily that speaks to the inner circle does not work.

7-10 minutes can make or break a parish for a visitor.

The homily matters to the relationships in the church.  Connection and authenticity. Be real. Young people: don't talk AT us. Talk TO us.
Go deeper!

The focus should be on How can our people get an "A" in life? Let's call on the Holy Spirit to help us do this.

Q & A 
What does going deeper mean?   The spirituality of the listener and the preacher's content both matter.

Preachers need to get out among the non-active to listen.

What would a seminary formation in authenticity look like?  Like vinyl siding: paint scratches off aluminum siding. Vinyl siding is the same on the inside as on the outside.

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