The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Short homily or long homily?

Many Catholics tend to remain at the Parish in which they were baptized, confirmed as well as married in, unless they have relocated to another country, city or state. For some, the only time they ever set foot in another sister Parish happens to be when they go away on vacation or while away on business, far away from their permanent worship place. Some people on the other hand visit a different Parish each week or multiple services within a given day, which can lend a different perspective on the readings by each priests of the various Parishes. This past Sunday morning I found myself torn between paying a visit to the Cathedral or attending the same Parish I attended on Saturday evenings. I had learnt that Mrs. Hutchinson of the Legion of Mary of Sacred Heart's Parish would be at the 9am Mass to speak about the ministry, therefore I decided to be present.

I had already attended the Saturday evening service so I was already prepared for what the readings were about and what the homily message entailed or did I? As the priest began to speak his message I sat intently with my eyes closed to absorb what I had already heard, but was excited to hear it again. Have you ever watched a movie, enjoyed it so much, or you may have missed something that you wanted to see it a second time? This is how I felt taking it in for a second time. As the priest continued my eyes opened and I began to register what I was hearing, but something just wasn't right. Could I be listening to another homily message within the space of several hours? A few more minutes into it and I began to hear familiar snippets from before. After all was said and done I realized that I was deprived of a great homily at the previous Mass, especially since an airline joke was a part of it.

I approached the priest after Mass and explained that I was certain that he did an entirely different homily at this service, and that it seemed to have more meat and substance. Was it longer than the one at the previous service you may ask, yes, but its content made you forget the time it took to get through it. So what warrants one group of parishioners to hear one homily and another to hear somewhat of the same, but in a watered down fashion? As I had suspected, but did not want to believe, each service has its group of members who are at the Mass they attend for specific reasons; there may be one group who wants a clean cut, to the point, no fuss, no frills, no drama kind of a service. This is the crowd who wants to get in and get out. I didn't think that this actually happened, but believe it or not it does. Then there are those who wants the smoke, the chanting, the choir worshipping singing, with all the bells and whistles attached.

As Jesus went from town to town preaching I can only wonder if He taught one way with one group and differently with another? Those members who were at the previous Mass that I attended missed out on an excellent homily. Our congregations have become that of classroom settings where one group of students respond a certain way with a certain style of teaching while another class responds the opposite. Ever so often I believe our members need to be surveyed on Church related matters to ensure that we are getting across to the majority. Of course many members are lifelong members and like the same old thing, but over time some of us change therefore we look for something different than what we were once use to. I'm sure many would say that they do not mind a good long homily over a short homily. Priests come and go, but members remain. What may have been the norm several years ago may not be what is needed for today under the guidance of a new shepherd. Take Pope Francis for example, everyday he is surprising the world because he thinks outside the box. It is a refreshing encounter indeed.

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