"The homily is the touchstone for judging a pastor's closeness and ability to communicate to his people.”
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, #108.
Fr. William Toohey, C.S.C., was the first homiletics instructor at the University of Notre Dame. A renowned preacher and social activist, Father Toohey was the Director of Campus Ministry at Notre Dame from 1970 until his untimely death in 1980. The Preaching Academy is dedicated to his memory.
About the Academy
The University of Notre Dame, through the John S. Marten Program in Homiletics and Liturgics, has initiated an ambitious program of renewal in Roman Catholic preaching. The Rev. William A. Toohey, C.S.C. Notre Dame Preaching Academy is designed to help clergy become more effective preachers in their Sunday liturgies. How do we do this? First, priests come together as brothers in peer-learning groups. This provides an atmosphere of mutual support and constructive homiletic feedback. In addition, the Academy provides curriculum resources, online discussion opportunities, expert homily evaluation and special events.
Where do we start with preaching improvement?
With support from the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, three dioceses and one religious congregation began the initial pilot project in January of 2016. Preachers self-assessed and designed their own goals for improvement; the peer-learning groups have supported and critiqued each other's preaching; congregations offer their input; and homiletic experts evaluate and coach priests in what life-giving preaching looks like. Each semester, a curriculum is designed to curate the best homiletic wisdom for busy priests. The peer groups learn together through monthly gatherings and online discussion. All together this creates a rich community of learning.
Who is involved in this initial project?
See our current participating dioceses and religious congregations here.
We are currently recruiting the Fall, 2017 cohort of dioceses! If you would like for your diocese or religious congregation to get involved in this preaching improvement process for 2017, please get in touch with us.
Rev. Michael E. Connors, C.S.C., Director
Dr. Karla J. Bellinger, Associate Director
The John S. Marten Program in Homiletics and Liturgics
Department of Theology, 234 Malloy Hall
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556-4619