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Liturgical Press

Written Text Becomes Living Word

The Vision and Practice of Sunday Preaching

Stephen Vincent DeLeers

Written Text Becomes Living Word
Written Text Becomes Living Word

ISBN: 9780814627594, 2759

Details: 216 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 08/01/2004
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Effective, significant preaching requires a vision and a pondering of the question, "How can I do what the Church expects of me?" The homily offers preachers a chance to live this question. Drawing from official Roman Catholic documents (1963–1995), Written Text Becomes Living Word summarizes this vision for the homily as having five characteristics: personal, liturgical, inculturating, clarifying, and actualizing. DeLeers integrates and develops homiletic practice into this vision by a detailed process for effective preparation and preaching. Written from the author's work with preachers, Written Text Becomes Living Word will help re-inspire the homiletic vision as well as the spiritual life of those preaching.

Chapters are: “Repairing the ‘Accidents of History’: Roman Catholic Restoration and Embrace of the Sunday Homily,” “The Evolution of the ‘Restored’ Homily, 1963-93,” “A Roman Catholic Contribution to the Vision of Sunday Preaching,” “The Homily as Personal Word: Responsibility, Faith, and Love,” “The Homily as Liturgical Word: The Assembly and Its Sacred Ritual,” “The Homily as Inculturated Word: Correlating Experience and Tradition,” “The Homily as Clarifying Word: One Good Point, Clearly Made,” “The Homily as Actualizing Word: Written Text Becomes Living Word,” “Arriving at the Sunday Message: Three Necessary Encounters with the Word,” “From Message to Homily: Content, Structure, and Delivery,” “Ten Suggestions for Becoming a Better Preacher,” and an Appendix: Roman Catholic Documents on the Homily. Also includes an Index.

Stephen Vincent DeLeers, DMin, is an author and consultant in homiletics. He has taught and lectured widely, and among his writings are those in The Bible TodayNew Theology Review, and The Theology of Priesthood, all published by Liturgical Press. He maintains a presence on the web at

ISBN: 9780814627594, 2759

Details: 216 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 08/01/2004


From documents to process, from routine to reflection, the book offers a wide variety of help in the craft of creating homilies, as well as 10 suggestions to help the preacher be a better homilist-no matter how good he already is. He specifically encourages us to call upon five characteristics-personal, liturgical, inculturated, clarifying and actualizing-for a homily.

Seminarians, Catholic clergy, and those charged with liturgical preaching in Catholic communities of faith will find helpful guidance in preparing homilies preached in the context festivals and `occasional services' as well as the Lord's Day Eucharist.
Catholic Books Review

Steven Vincent DeLeers clearly understands the challenges facing Catholic preaching some forty years after the Second Vatican Council.
Catholic Books Review

Offers preachers a book that is personal, inculturated, clear, and, one that will activate the reader to prepare sermons that are, indeed the `living Word of God.'
Pastoral Music

This book should be in the library of every preacher.
Catholic Library World

DeLeers' guidance through over thirty years of church documents leads preachers to a renewed awareness of the dignity and importance of the Sunday homily. The vision found here leads to a practical approach to preaching, holding up a profile of the homily as personal, liturgical, clear, inculturated, and actualizing. This study is informative and transformative for both those with preaching experience and those beginning to preach, for Catholics, Protestants, and all other traditions that preach the word of God. Add this book to your preacher's library.
James A. Wallace, CSsR, professor of Homiletics at Washington Theological Union, Washington, D.C. Author of Preaching to the Hungers of the Heart (Liturgical Press, 2002)

With a great deal of keenness Stephen DeLeers has cut through the often dense thicket of forty years of Catholic magisterial pronouncements to describe the Church's developing theology of Sunday preaching. I find this work both theologically challenging, professionally fascinating and immensely practical. For that reason I wholeheartedly recommend the work for novices and veterans alike.
Bishop Richard J. Sklba

A mosaic window of insights, understanding, and helpful practices, whether for the preacher who stands inside the homiletic moment or for the believer who sits in the pew with eyes and ears of faith.
Joseph J. Juknialis, Homiletic faculty, Saint Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, WI

Not only does Stephen Vincent DeLeers provide sound and helpful counsel for the building of good homilies, he also passionately and effectively communicates the urgency of preaching a living Word for God's people.
Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Stephen Vincent DeLeers is the international sleuth nonpareil when it comes to piecing together a Roman Catholic vision of homiletic preaching from over seventy-five magisterial documents since Vatican Council II. He spells out an acronym of five recurring characteristics—the homily as Personal, Liturgical, Inculturated, Clarifying, and Actualizing (PLICA)—and expands each characteristic in practical terms for preaching preparation and delivery. The founder of has captured for preachers, liturgists, and church historians an integrated Catholic vision of the practice of Sunday preaching.
Gregory Heille, O.P., Director, Doctor of Ministry in Preaching, Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri

This book will prove to be a worthy resource for those wishing to understand, claim, or reclaim the heritage of preaching in the Catholic Church. It provides a sound, helpful framework for the contemporary practice of preaching while remaining rooted in scripture and tradition.
Dr. Richard Stern, Associate Professor of Homiletics, Saint Meinrad School of Theology

The book is well researched, insightful in its approach, and easily read. Though it is specifically meant for preachers, anyone involved in liturgical ministry or interested in developing a liturgical spirituality will find it very helpful.
The Bible Today