Preaching Academy

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"The homily is the touchstone for judging a pastor's closeness and ability to communicate to his people.” 
Pope Francis
Evangelii Gaudium #108

bill_toohey_improved_web_sizeFr. 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, is initiating 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 will we do this? First, priests will come together as brothers in peer-learning groups. This will provide an atmosphere of mutual support and constructive homiletic feedback. In addition, the Academy will provide ongoing online resources, expert homily evaluation and special events. 

Where do we start with preaching improvement?

With support from the Lily Endowment of Indianapolis, three dioceses and one religious congregation will begin the initial pilot project in January of 2016. Preachers will self-assess and design their own goals for improvement; the peer-learning groups will support and critique each other; congregations will offer their input; and homiletic experts will coach priests in what life-giving preaching looks like. An online curriculum and in-person workshops will augment the process. All together this will create a rich community of learning to fortify the fruitfulness of Sunday preaching. 

Who is involved in this initial project?

See our current participants, here.


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  
Telephone: 574-631-3006