I would like to know the differences, if any, seen in homilies offered at Mass during different liturgical seasons. For instance are both Marian and Rosary-based prayers included customarily or are they more secluded, for private piety?
Homilies during liturgical seasons?
Needless to say that I have heard homilies on feast-days that either include and exclude either Marian or Rosary-based prayers. A lot will depend on the the individual’s personal devotion as well as their understanding on the subject matter being preached upon.
The best homilies will naturally elevate the hearers to contemplate the supernatural mysteries in question. Few priests have a natural knack for it. Others had to work very hard to do naturally. The Cure d’Ars comes into mind here.
On February 10, 2015, the Vatican released a Homiletic Directory, designed to help priests improve their preaching.
It is very poignant that Pope Francis wished to devote considerable attention to the theme of the homily in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium. Both positive and negative aspects of the state of preaching had already been expressed by Bishops gathered in Synod, and guidance for homilists was offered in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortations Verbum Domini and Sacramentum caritatis of Pope Benedict XVI.
From this perspective, and bearing in mind the provisions of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, as well as subsequent Magisterial teaching, and in light of the Introduction of the Lectionary for Mass and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, this two-part Homiletic Directory has been prepared.
In the first part, entitled The homily and its liturgical setting, the nature, function, and specific context of the homily are described. Other aspects that define it are also addressed, namely, the appropriate ordained minister who delivers it, its reference to the Word of God, the proximate and remote preparation for its composition, and its recipients.
In the second part, Ars praedicandi, essential questions of method and content that the homilist must know and take into account in the preparation and delivery of the homily are illustrated. In a way that is meant to be indicative and not exhaustive, interpretive keys are proposed for the cycle of Sundays and Feasts, beginning at the heart of the liturgical year (the Sacred Triduum and Easter Time, Lent, Advent, Christmas Time, and Ordinary Time), and also for the Masses of weekdays, weddings, and funerals. In these examples, the criteria outlined in the first part of the Directory are put into practice: typology between the Old and New Testaments, the importance of the Gospel reading, the ordering of the readings, and the nexus between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, between the Biblical message and the liturgical texts, between celebration and life, and between listening to God and the particular assembly.
Two appendices follow the main text. In the first, with the intention of showing the link between the homily and the doctrine of the Catholic Church, references are given to the Catechism according to various doctrinal themes in the readings for each of the Sundays and Feasts of the three year cycle. In the second appendix, references to various Magisterial teachings on the homily are provided.
This text was presented to each of the Fathers of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and was reviewed and approved at the Ordinary Sessions of 7 February and 20 May 2014. It was then presented to Pope Francis, who approved the publication of the Homiletic Directory. This Congregation is pleased, therefore, to make it available, desiring that "the homily can actually be an intense and happy experience of the Spirit, a consoling encounter with God’s word, a constant source of renewal and growth" (Evangelii gaudium, 135). Each homilist, making his own the sentiments of the Apostle Paul, is to renew the understanding that "as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but to please God who tests our hearts" (1 Thess 2:4).
Translations into the principal languages have been undertaken by this Dicastery, while translations into other languages remain the responsibility of the concerned Conferences of Bishops.
All things to the contrary notwithstanding.
From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 29 June 2014, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.
Antonio Card. Cañizares Llovera, Prefect
Both priests and deacons, generally have a great freedom to add pius prayers and Marian phased prayers such as the Rosary prayers to their homilies depending on circumstances or particular feasts.