Prêtres Diocésains, L’homélie, numéro spécial 2017, p. 97-276, 11 € (plus frais de port)
When we talk about ongoing formation, in addition to the book reviews that we regularly publish, it is important to mention subscriptions to magazines or periodicals especially as some can now be downloaded from the internet as a very reasonable cost.
For French speaking readers, I would like to recommend a monthly magazine (10 issues a year) published by the l’Union Apostolique du clergé in France. Its editorial committee represents diverse situations and responsibilities in the community. I have already recommended it to francophone participants of the sessions in Jerusalem.
I am now taking the opportunity to present the 2017 special issue featuring the sermon. In 180 pages, this issue tackles a number of aspects regarding this subject: 1) History, 2) Preparation, 3) Preaching at home and abroad; in Africa, Japan, in an Islamic milieu (with a very good article by our confrere, Raphaël Deillon) and also in hospitals and other circumstances, 4) Those who listen to homilies, 5) Annexes including Church documents, texts of Pope Francis, a bibliographical selection and internet sites.
I particularly liked two articles, one by Fr. Paul-Dominique Marcovits, O.P on the joy of preaching and another by Philippe Jeannin, O.P on preaching on television. However what I remember particularly about this issue is that there exists already in France, an organisation which helps preachers to improve their sermons. It is called SOHcatho (Service d’Optimisation des Homélies pour prédicateurs catholiques – www.sohcatho.org). It organises interactive session as well as individual coaching.
Since 2007 in France (2012 in Belgium) more than 1,000 preachers have benefitted from this service of which 40% were priests, 20% deacons, 12% seminarians, and 28% were lay missionaries or lay people with pastoral duties such as those who conduct funerals.
Many contributions from SOHcatho are found in this special issue. I particularly appreciated the article on 12 lessons on the sermon, which are 12 short texts which I would like to return to regularly myself. One can order this special number of Prêtre Diocésains and download the 12 lessons of Didier Meillière at www.pretres-diocesains.fr.