Homiletic Training in a Diocesan Program of Formation for Permanent Deacons: Making It the Best It Can Be

Paul St. Laurent, Fordham University


Preaching the homily is a deacon’s most important responsibility. Assigned to minister in a parish, the newly ordained deacon inevitably reflects upon his preparedness to preach. He may fill any shortcomings through self-instruction, peer-mentoring, trial and error, or not at all. This project studies homiletic training for men in a Catholic diocesan program of formation for the permanent diaconate identifying opportunities for improvement. The thesis begins with a description of preaching’s origin with Jesus Christ, the homily’s purpose, why it is an essential part of the Church’s mission, and how it relates to a deacon proclaiming the Gospel as part of the Liturgy of the Word during Mass. A methodology of appreciative inquiry is employed with a focus group of eight permanent deacons in my diocese recounting their classroom and pulpit experiences. Its purpose is to gain insight into the training components they considered strengths or weaknesses. The homiletic training program for permanent deacons is compared to those in seven other dioceses, transitional deacons in three Catholic seminaries, and future ministers in two Protestant seminaries. It looks to identify beneficial practices worthy of implementation, the golden nuggets or pearls of homiletic wisdom. Lastly, independent research brings the academic perspective to some overlooked aspects of the inquiry. My motivation for undertaking this project is twofold. The first is to recommend changes to my diocese’s homiletic training program. Future permanent deacons need to be as confident as possible in their preparedness and readiness to preach, teaching those they are entrusted to serve on their spiritual journey through life. The second is to have the project function as a model for other dioceses desiring the same.

Subject Area

Theology|Religious education

Recommended Citation

St. Laurent, Paul, "Homiletic Training in a Diocesan Program of Formation for Permanent Deacons: Making It the Best It Can Be" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29063486.