I chose to attend a mass while in Green Bay, WI in order have an opportunity to critique the presentation skills of a community member with lots of experience in public speaking. On this particular day the priest’s sermon was about the importance of retraining from sin, no matter how much pleasure we think the act will bring us. Before the mass officially started, there was a baptism; welcoming new member into the Christian community. The Father effectively incorporated this event into his speech, saying that as a community of Christian brothers and sisters, it was our duty to go forth and help each other avoid sin as well.
The priest did a phenomenal job of using a large vocal variety, rate and pauses in order to communicate the importance of today’s mass to the congregation. I found that, without even being aware of it, I was swept up in his speech about restraining from sin and helping my neighbors to do likewise.
I did find that he used too many large gestures with his arms. But, this could have been simply because in this setting, he felt it was appropriate to do so. Considering that a large portion of a mass is based on retelling a “story” from the Bible, it would make sense that storytelling allows for different kinetics than general public speaking.
Now that I have a better understanding of all of the work that goes into the preparation of a speech, I was surprised to see that the priest could stand before such a large audience and give his speech without using any note cards or visual aids to help him. I never really thought about this before. The priest must have practiced what he intended to say so well as to commit it all to memory.
It was interesting to see when members of the congregation went up to the podium to read from the different passages from the books, there was a noticeable difference between their public speaking abilities and the Father’s. Obviously, the priest has more practice speaking in public, but it really demonstrated how practice and using the different techniques we learned in class (as I am sure the priest must have taken public speaking classes as well) can really make a difference.
*I did not take any photos inside the church while mass was in session because I felt that it would be impolite to take a picture of the baptism of the baby and did not want to disrupt the people around me.
- Ashley H
- Sonora Landeros
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