Just after the New Year’s holiday, over 70 people from around the country came to Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology to take part in the Dehonian seminary’s fifth annual Preaching Conference.
“There is a hunger to be a good preacher,” said Dn. Steve Kramer. “Every priest and deacon wants to be effective at sharing God’s Word. This conference allows homilists to gain additional skills to bring God’s Word alive.”
Dn. Steve is Director of Homiletics at SHSST, and is recognized nationally as a speaker on preaching, as well as for his columns in The Deacon magazine. He is also the force behind what has become known as a well-regarded national preaching symposium.
The topic for this year’s conference: “ΑΩ, The Beginning and the End: Constructing Effective Introductions and Conclusions to Homilies.” Speakers included Fr. Carl Gregorich on “The Significance of Good Introductions and Conclusions in a Homily,” Fr. Dan Dorau addressing “How to Engage Your Congregation by Starting your Homily Talking About Yourself,” Dcn. Rick Valencia speaking on how to “Bring to Life the Words of the Gospel,” Dcn. Steve Kramer on “Major Characteristics of Effective Introductions and Conclusions,” and the Dehonians’ own Fr. Mark Mastin whose topic was “Taking Off and Landing: Using Imagery to Help Effectively Fly Our Homilies.”
The speakers – many of whom came to ordained ministry after professional careers outside of the Church – represented a breadth of experiences. Fr. Carl had been in marketing and sales for the railroad industry, Fr. Dan was a systems analyst, corporate trainer and university instructor before pursuing his vocation. Dcn. Rick is retired from law enforcement, having served as an officer and as a detective. Fr. Mark, now a member of the SHSST staff, had been a chaplain in the US Army.
The annual Preaching Conference is one of several continuing education programs offered by SHSST to help people thrive in their ministries. Next up: from June 5-9, the seminary will offer a week-long “New Pastor’s Toolbox.” Click here to learn more.