Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Korean Catholic Priests and Sermons

Korean Priests on the whole seem to do a good job with the liturgy of the word. They have good voices and for the most part seem to work at preparing the sermons. Catholic Priests do not, however, compare well with our Protestant brothers when it comes to preaching. We are saved in a way by having the Mass to fill the needs of the people while most of the Protestant Ministers have only the Word as the center of their worship service. Our Mass has both the Liturgy of the Word and of the Eucharist, but the liturgy of the word often suffers at our hands.

In our parishes we have, as in every other country, some good and some not so good sermons. Outside of the occasional foreign missioner the language is clear and well spoken which may not be the case in many other countries . The country is blessed with a good number of priests and in the near future this will not change noticeably.

Korean Priests are busy with large parishes, many meetings, visits, and the ordinary parish details that require attention. This for many is a serious distraction in preparing his daily and Sunday sermons.

We know to go to the pulpit without preparation is sinful. One of our priests mentioned in his newsletter: for many Catholics to listen to a sermon without a message and lacking enthusiasm is irritating. He went on to say that in those cases it is better to forget the sermon, for at least they will not be annoyed or bored.

The priest went on to say it is the desire of the priest to give a good sermon. He mentioned that after ordination like many other priests he was determined to give good sermons. However, he said he didn't have a gift with words and besides did not have an attractive voice. Consequently he felt guilty and not knowing the living conditions of the people and lack of knowledge, felt frustrated.

The priest said that instead of trying to give a good sermon he settled for giving a talk no longer than 10 minutes with a simple message but even that was not easy. He made it a habit to do a lot of reading and to read over the scripture for the following day's Mass before going to bed which was a great help.

He concludes with the reflection that without living the Christian life in its totality it will always be difficult to move the hearts of our Catholics. He quotes Thomas Merton:
" The Saint even without words by his work, his walk even his standing, his whole life becomes a sermon."

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