preaching

Pope Francis offers preaching 101 tip -- don't bore the sheep

It was another ordination rite in St. Peter's Basilica and the pope was expected to stay close to the ritual book during the homily.

Then again, Pope Francis has a way of expanding the script. Off the cuff, he offered the new shepherds some blunt advice about preaching -- do not bore the sheep.

"Let this be the nourishment of the People of God, that your sermons are not boring, that your homilies reach people's hearts because they come from your heart, because what you say to them is what you carry in your heart," he said, in one translation of remarks on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

But if priests share from their own experiences, added Francis, their actions must match their words, because "examples edify, but words without examples are empty words, they are just ideas that never reach the heart and, in fact, they can harm. They are no good!"

Pope Francis has, on a number of occasions, discussed how Catholic priests can become more effective communicators. Before becoming pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglia of Argentina was already concerned about the effectiveness of his priests -- during an era in which charismatic evangelical preachers radically changed Latin America.