We traveled to San Luis Obispo, CA and the Church of the Nativity of Mary to meet its pastor, Father Matt Pennington, and Deacon Tom O’Brien. They have collaborated in ministry for well over a decade, and their work remains vibrant, creative and perhaps the best example of preaching in the media age.
Here Matt tells us about his particular approach to preaching and homiletics, while Tom provides an essential insight into how Church music and the new social media can help forward evangelization in the local community.
James V. Matthews is the Rector and Dean of the Cathedral of the Light in Oakland, CA. Ordained to the priesthood in 1974, Father Jay has the distinction of being the first African-American ordained in Northern California.
My first encounter with Jay was hearing his heartfelt homily at the funeral Mass of a deceased faculty-colleague of mine at Saint Mary’s College. Jay’s consoling words at that time stuck with me – the resonance of a great preacher.
With his broad smile, Jay welcomes us into this magnificent Cathedral of light and worship. For years, he has brought understanding and healing to a community sometimes faced with the most troubling social problems.
Now he has responsibility for a parish community that is also a setting for diocesan-wide liturgical events as well as a showcase for the arts for the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area.
Father Jude Siciliano, O.P. and Sister Patricia Bruno, O.P. have been friends of mine for over twenty-five years.
Father Jude’s effective preaching was clearly evident at Saint Monica’s parish (Moraga, CA) where I met him several years ago. Later, he and Sister Patricia taught homiletics at the Graduate Theological Union. They call themselves the Dominican Preaching Team and have worked around the country in preaching parish retreats and giving scripture workshops.
I’m naturally delighted that we can provide an example of a collaborative team that goes back to the historical roots of the Order of Preachers and the holy memory of Saint Dominic.
In San Francisco, we meet Sister Patricia at Saint Dominic’s Church, then travel to the Church of Saint James in Petaluma, CA where both she and Jude are holding a parish retreat.
We listen to these gifted witnesses to the gospel and hear how they pass on the preaching circle of Dominican spirituality and social justice.
Father Donal Godfrey of the University of San Francisco is a gifted preacher and campus minister, and someone whose preaching has inspired me. Almost twenty years ago, I met Donal when he provided assistance for the Sunday Masses at Saint Monica’s in Moraga.
As a practice, we customarily rotated the preaching, so the priests had the opportunity to hear one another. It was very effective for the congregation and helped me to gain greater exposure to my priest colleagues, and hear their personal witness to the gospel. In this interview, Donal and I comment how Father Declan Dean’s ministry and most especially his preaching remain a model for both of us.
Msgr. Robert Sheeran is the Director of Mission & Ministry at Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield, CA. His pastoral and preaching ministry extends to Sunday Mass at Saint Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys, in San Rafael, also in Marin County.
Having studied in Rome, and with a doctorate in Sacred Theology, Msgr. Sheeran’s years of priestly service were in seminary education, and for fifteen years, he was president of Seton Hall University. He is a most gifted public speaker and witness to “God’s Word.”
Bob Sheeran and I are classmates of the ordination class of 1971, for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. We began our studies at Seton Hall University in 1963 — so our friendship goes back many years.
In this interview, Bob calls attention to the importance of the sacred texts and how these affect the preacher and the congregation.
Father John Kasper is the pastor of Saint Perpetua Church in Lafayette, California. He is a friend of mine and a most accomplished preacher and pastor.
This “Sunday to Sunday” interview highlights the importance of the “preached word” and how the Sunday homily supports and may even change the lives of parishioners.
On the Saint Perpetua website, you will notice the long list of Father John’s past homilies. Also, take note of how he gives a title to each in order to focus greater attention to the theme for the particular Sunday.