Preaching Participation

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By Sister Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

Several years ago, I participated in a Preaching workshop led by Robert Morneau, now Bishop of the Green Bay Diocese. It was very comprehensive and enlightening as well as inspiring for the participants. It is still applicable today. Bishop Morneau has given us permission to share this summary of his article on preaching. Other preaching resources are listed at the end of this essay.

The Principles outlined are:

1.     Preaching is an invitation to continue the Mission of Jesus by calling people to a community of faith and love through conversion. We are asked to treat one another as brothers and sisters and become one. The truth we speak as preachers would bring people into unity. Preachers of the Gospel will have a great love and devotion for preaching the Word of God without reservation. Jesus is our model for this. This can be done in a variety of ways, through the media, pulpit preaching, and in gatherings of people who share their faith, hope and love.

2.      Preaching must be grounded in a solid spiritual foundation in order to influence the lives of people. The message of the preacher must spring from true holiness of life. Preaching also helps the preacher grow in holiness and reveal the face of God to our world. We ask “Where does the gift of preaching come from?” It is more than a gift of eloquence. The preached word must come from reflection on the Scripture rooted in a life of spiritual energy and grace. Preachers must continue to develop their own spiritual lives and allow God’s grace to shine through their words and actions.

3.      Preaching was a very special ministry of Jesus. He preached in many places and allowed God’s transcendence to shine though him. The God of Jesus is a God of love. The same must be true of the life of the preacher. Jesus offered a vision for life that he lived and shared with his followers. His life reflected the words that he spoke.

4.      Preaching calls the preacher to proclaim, interpret and illustrate the Word of God. The Word is relevant when it is the bearer of the power of God and leads people to belief. Preaching is the art of using words that are graced with the power of God.

5.      The gathering should reflect the joy of celebrating the Lord’s presence in their midst and foster belief, hope and unity. The people leaving the church after a liturgy will reflect what they have achieved and the motivation to live the Gospel that they have heard proclaimed.

6.      The homily can be enhanced through appropriate stories and images.

They can spark the imagination and heart and help people look at their experiences in a new way.

7.      Preaching demands that the preacher be able to adapt language used for diverse audiences and circumstances that are often present in congregations today. 

8.      Preaching must communicate truth that touches the heart of the listeners and calls them to action. They must be encouraged to go deeper into the meaning of the Word and then put it into action.

9.      The disposition of the preacher and audience has an influence on the sermon preached. This calls both preacher and participants to prepare their minds and hearts to be open and receptive and responsive to the Word that is preached.

10. Preaching is a privilege and responsibility. Remember we all carry the Good News of Jesus, who is ever ready to walk with us through all the ups and downs of life.


We recall that today, many people are hungering for hope and healing and a nourishing Word. We cannot disappoint them. It is a great privilege and opportunity to satisfy their heart and spirit hungers. Let us begin today with courage and hope.

(Other good resources for preaching are Fr. Greg Heille, OP, Fr. Heille is the Promoter of Preaching for St. Albert the Great Province and provides many good resources for preaching.

     Another recent article on preaching can be found in August 2012 issue of Sojourners, written by Brad Braxton, teacher of homiletics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Go to   Fr. Don Goergen, OP also frequently writes articles on preaching. )


Dominican Preaching Archive

Preaching is at the heart of the Dominican vocation. The Dominican Leadership Conference claims for all members of the Dominican Family the right to preach, and commits itself to the struggle this claim entails. The injustices of our day compel us to place the charism of preaching at the service of the poor and powerless. The Dominican prophetic message, rooted in experience, study and prayer, will move both preachers and hearers of the word to act for the transformation of oppressive structures. The Conference on its part will act corporately, confronting evil with the Gospel and working for the construction of a just world order.

We embrace the mission of preaching for justice with a commitment to act in collaboration with one another and all those with and among whom we minister

------Dominican Leadership Conference

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• Blessed Are the Peacemakers •
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• Acquiring Legal Status Under Fedral Immigration Law •
• Living With Integrity •
• Preaching Participation •
• Reclaiming the Gift of Prophetic Preaching •
• The Call And the Challenge To Address Racism •
• United Nations •

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