THE PRACTICAL PREACHER: Handy Hints for hesitant homilists
by Paul Edwards SJ
(Gracewing, Paperback, 161pp, $22.95. Available from AD Books)
Paul Edwards, a Jesuit priest based in North Wales, began to write and teach in 1962. Beginning his ministry as a classroom teacher, he rose to the exalted rank of Master of Campion Hall, Oxford University. It was during this period, while preaching in parishes, schools, religious communities and at universities that he compiled this book titled The Practical Preacher.
Everyone, argues Edwards, wants to be a competent preacher or public speaker; and, in addition, prefers to listen to a confident and engaging speaker. So such a book as this, written in a readable and easy-to-follow style with a wealth of amusing and instructive anecdotes, should be a valuable resource for priests, religious speakers and all those involved in evangelisation.
For the priest, one of the key aspects of his ministry is to proclaim the Word of God. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Those who are called to the ministry of preaching must suit their words to the maturity and understanding of their hearers, as they hand on the teaching of the mysteries of faith and the rules of moral conduct."
And as the then Bishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Arundel and Brighton (UK) remarks of The Practical Preacher: "In my view, [Edwards'] book on preaching will be of enormous help to clergy who have been many years in the ministry and who need to reflect and renew in their own lives their ministry of preaching the word of God."
The author concludes his book: "Long Live the Preacher, the Practical Preacher, of course."
Anthony Cappello is National Secretary of the Thomas More Centre