Addressing the bishops and clergy of Slovakia in the Cathedral of St Martin, in Bratislava, Pope Francis urged priests not to exceed ten minutes during their Sunday homilies. He also exhorted the members of the clergy to be better prepared with their message, which should be coherent, presenting an idea, an image and something people can relate to, something which moves their hearts.
“The homily is not a Sacrament”, Francis explained. “It is not a sermon, but an integral part of the Eucharist.” However, he insisted that the homily should not go beyond ten, maximum 15 minutes, because after eight minutes people lose their attention, unless it is a captivating discourse. These minutes should be dedicated to issues which affect people, issues that everyone can understand and relate to.
Bergoglio also showed his sense of humour, when responding to an applause from the crowd, retorted: “The applause was initiated by the sisters, who are the victims of our homilies!”.
Francis followed up on the meeting with a visit to a shelter for the poor and met representatives of Slovakia’s Jewish community.
Francis will say two open-air Masses in Slovakia, which is about 65% Catholic, including one service in the lengthy Byzantine rite.
He returns to Rome tomorrow morning.