"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 Preaching Academy Process
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. With support from the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, "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.
At the core of this one-year program are peer-learning groups. Priests come together monthly in an atmosphere of mutual support where: 1) they preach and both receive and give constructive feedback, and 2) they study and discuss how to grow in their preaching. The Preaching Academy provides curriculum resources, online discussion opportunities, and one expert homily evaluation per preacher per semester.
At the initial orientation meeting (in the home diocese), preachers complete a homiletic self-assessment and design goals for improvement. The program begins and ends on the Notre Dame campus in the summer, either at the biennial preaching conference or at a workshop. In the middle of the one year program, there is a four day workshop in a warm and sunny place. (For the 2018 cohort, it will be in Florida.) Conference and workshop expenses are fully funded. Participants are expected to attend peer-learning group meetings, support and encourage their fellow priests, do some congregational assessment, and come to preaching conferences and workshops. Thanks to the generosity of the Lilly Endowment, a $1000 stipend and a certificate are given upon successful completion of the program.
Who is currently involved in this project?
See our 2016 cohort of 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
Telephone: 574-631-3006 or 574-631-2653