Northern Ireland news

Priest promises parishioners he will shorten sermons

Fr Paddy O'Kane has promised to shorten his Sunday sermons. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

A PRIEST has promised to restrict his Sunday Mass sermons to five minutes to hold his parishioners' attention.

Fr Paddy O'Kane, parish priest at Holy Family church in Derry's Ballymagroarty, made the promise following his return from a sabbatical in the US.

Fr O'Kane came to national prominence last year when he ministered to Derry mother Louise James and led the funeral service for her family after they drowned in the Buncrana pier tragedy.

Writing in the Derry News newspaper, Fr O'Kane said that while on his sabbatical he observed Mass from the point of view of the congregation.

"I got a different perspective of the liturgy and have come to the conclusion firstly that many of us priests, including myself, are under the illusion that our homilies are more interesting than they really are and secondly that the best homilies are spoken from the heart, not read from a script – and short," he wrote.

He has in the past pioneered various ways of engaging his parishioners. On one occasion, he took over a former Bureau de Change in a shopping centre to provide Saturday confessions and to meet shoppers.

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