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Touchstones for Preaching


Welcome to Touchstones for Preaching, a service of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry STM Online: Crossroads in partnership with The Church in the 21st Century Center. We have prepared this resource to support priests, deacons and lay preachers in developing their preaching skills.

The six touchstones provided here were originally presented at weekend retreats for preachers at Boston College. The retreats provided preachers an opportunity to gather in a relaxed and prayerful atmosphere in order to step back and look more closely at one of the most important components of their ministry, namely the art and craft of preaching the Word of God. As you access the touchstones, you will note that some of the presentations are actual on-site recordings from the retreats while others are prepared specifically for this resource.

The presentations are grounded in the 1982 document on preaching entitled "Fulfilled in Your Hearing" published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The document establishes the standards for preaching in the United States. You can view the six touchstones in the order presented or select those of immediate interest to you and view the others at another time.

About the Speakers

Richard Clifford Photo

Rev. Richard Clifford, S.J., Ph.D.

Rev. Richard Clifford, S.J., Ph.D. is professor of Old Testament at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  He holds a doctorate in biblical studies from Harvard University. He taught at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge from 1970 to 2008. He served as founding dean of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. In 2010, he stepped down from the position of dean to return to full time teaching and research in biblical studies.  He was general editor of the Catholic Biblical Quarterly and is a former president of the Catholic Biblical Association.  Among his recent publications is The Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and the Old Testament  (Wipf & Stock Publishers,  2010). He also is active in adult education in various New England dioceses.

Ann Garrido Photo

Prof. Ann Garrido, D.Min.

Prof. Ann Garrido, D.Min., is associate professor of homiletics at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO, where she also directs the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. A lay Catholic woman, wife and mother, she holds a Master of Divinity degree and Doctor of Ministry in Preaching degree from the Aquinas Institute.  She has published books and journal articles on preaching, catechesis and ministry formation. Among her recent publications is A Concise Guide to Supervising a Ministry Student (Ave Maria Press, 2008).  On Sunday mornings, Ann does catechesis with six to twelve year olds.

William T. Kelly Photo

Rev. William T. Kelly, S.T.D. 

Rev. William T. Kelly, S.T.D. is pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Dedham, MA. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. He taught homiletics while serving as a faculty member and spiritual director at St. John’s Seminary, Brighton, MA. He served on the Summer faculty at the Institute for Priests at Creighton University and was president of the Federation of Seminary Spiritual Directors. He also directed the Boston Archdiocesan Office for Clergy Support and Ongoing Formation. He is the host of Spotlight, a weekly program on Catholic TV, during which he offers movie reviews from a Catholic perspective.

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Rev. Msgr. James A. Mongelluzzo, S.T.D.

Rev. Msgr. James A. Mongelluzzo, S.T.D., a priest of the Diocese of Worcester, MA, teaches homiletics and sacramental theology at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, MA. He also offers liturgy workshops and courses in the Continuing Education Program at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  He holds a doctorate in liturgical theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology. On weekends, he assists at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Leominister, MA.  His article, “Encountering the Gospel-Renewing the Preacher: The Preaching Program at Boston College” (Seminary Journal, vol. 16, no. 2, Fall 2010, pp. 11-16) gives an account of the program which provided the contents for the STM Online: Crossroads  “Touchstones for Preaching.”

Thomas J. Scirghi Photo

Rev. Thomas J. Scirghi, S.J., Th.D.

Rev. Thomas J. Scirghi, S.J., Th.D. is associate professor of systematic theology at Fordham University.  He holds a doctorate in theology from Boston University. He served as professor of liturgical theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley where he taught homiletics and liturgical theology to candidates for ordination and for lay ecclesial ministry. He offers workshops on liturgical preaching throughout the United States. His current area of research is in practical theology in addition to his ongoing interest in liturgical theology, ritual studies, liturgical aesthetics and Trinitarian theology.   His most recent publication is Everything is Sacred: An Introduction to the Sacrament of Baptism (Paraclete Press, 2012).   

Paul Turner Photo

Rev. Paul Turner, S.T.D.

Rev. Paul Turner, S.T.D. is a priest of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, where he is pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, MO, and its mission, St. Aloysius in Maysville. He holds a doctorate in liturgical theology from Sant' Anselmo in Rome. He is a former president of the North American Academy of Liturgy and a workshop presenter for the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.  He serves as a facilitator for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.  He has presented lectures and workshops on the new Roman Missal throughout the United States. Among his recent publications is Pastoral Companion to the Roman Missal (World Library Publications, 2010).