THE IMPORTANCE OF STRONG PREACHING PROGRAMS
Hi, I’m Deacon Steve Kramer, Director of Homiletics. I hold an MA in Theology and a Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching and Communication. I have been a deacon for over 27 years, I lead retreats, organize Sacred Heart’s annual Preaching Conference, and I write a national column on liturgy, sacraments and preaching for the Deacon Magazine. All of that points to this: Preparing seminarians to be great preachers is my passion! It is vital that these future brothers, deacons and priests help make the Word of God come alive for all those who hear them.
Sacred Heart places a strong emphasis on preparing effective preachers. We emphasize the importance of sound biblical exegesis, and the importance of connecting the message to the people hearing it. What will the listener take back to their home, school, work or community?
We know that our seminarians will go out to very diverse ministerial assignments: urban, rural, varying economic and cultural assignments, some will be responsible for multiple parishes. We align their needs with pastoral placements and provide many opportunities for practice, beginning their first year! Students often accompany priests and deacons on faculty to participate in the celebration of various sacraments, giving them real-world experience with the support and guidance of active, faithful clergy.
Students start with giving reflections at evening prayer on a regular basis. They have preaching courses and placements, and receive feedback from peers, faculty and staff, local pastors and parishioners!
Our annual Preaching Conference is another opportunity for students to think broadly about homiletics. Past topics have included: “Preaching the Lukan Parables”, “Hearing the Hebrew Scriptures with a Heart for Homiletics” and “Preaching Through Times of Good News and Fake News”.
The Church desperately needs solid, effective preachers! We can make this a reality for your diocese/religious order. Please feel free to email me or call so we can discuss how Sacred Heart can form your seminarians, bring preaching programs to those in formation at other institutions and provide continuing preaching education for your priests and deacons.