Congregation for Catholic Education, Letter Outlining the Conditions for which Seminarians may be Permitted to Preach during Mass, 1999.
The following letter in English from the Congregation for Catholic Education outlines the conditions for which seminarians may be allowed to preach during Mass.
Many thanks for your letter of ____________ concerning the practice of permitting seminarians on pastoral placement to preach the homily at Mass. Please excuse our delay in responding to that letter.
You ask for our opinion of the current arrangement whereby candidates from ____________ Seminary do a non-ordained pastoral placement of five months immediately before ordination to the diaconate and after admission as a candidate for holy orders. During this placement, seminarians are permitted to preach at Mass, and this permission is given on an individual basis to each student. Our opinion of this experience is a positive one: it forms an integral part of the formation program of the seminary, it is closely supervised, and for over ten years now it has served you well in the preparation of your priests.
Accordingly, we are disposed to allow this practice to continue, with the understanding that it is very much an exception to the norm and that, therefore, it is limited to those pre-diaconate candidates on pastoral placement. The following conditions should be observed:
1. It should involve only those in third theology, who have received all the necessary instructions in the field of homiletics, have been approved for diaconate, and are in the final five months before ordination.
2. Permission be given, by the Bishop, on an individual basis, taking into account the particular situation of each candidate.
3. The candidates should be closely monitored and supported especially in the preparation of the homily, by the Pastor or other ad-hoc designated parish clergy.
We trust that this letter has clarified the situation for you. If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
With every best wish, we remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Pio Cardinal Laghi
RRAO (1999): 9-10.