Fr Paddy O'Kane
Image caption Fr Paddy O’Kane got the idea while on holiday in Texas

A Londonderry priest has made the decision to cut his sermons down to five minutes, to hold his congregation’s attention.

Writing in Derry Now, Fr Paddy O’Kane explained that he got the idea while on holiday in Texas.

While there, the parish priest at Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty went to Mass in various local churches, he wrote.

These gave him a “different perspective of the liturgy”, he added.

He said he had found the “short, sharp” sermons much more interesting than the longer ones and “very uplifting”.

‘Stop drilling’

“I have come to the conclusion, that many of us priests, including myself, are under the illusion that our homilies are more interesting than they really are,” Fr O’Kane told the BBC’s Mark Patterson show.

Fr O’Kane cited a “wise old priest” who once told him: “If you cannot strike oil in the first five minutes, better stop drilling.”

“Because of my Texan view-from-the-pew experience, I made a deal with the people here last weekend, namely approximately five minute homilies from now on.”

However, for one of his congregation even five minutes was too long and he heard a voice pipe up: “Father, could you not make that four?”

You can’t please everybody.

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