Trying to take his sermons to the next level, Saint Dominic Parish’s head priest, Father Peter Thompson, has been using Saturday’s midnight mass to workshop some of his edgier material.
“It’s a different crowd than Sunday morning,” explained Thompson. “There’s definitely a different vibe to it which makes it a great place to see what lands and what doesn’t. I’ve found that some of the material ends up making it into my morning sermon but most doesn’t. Sometimes I throw some stuff in on Saturday that I know will never make it to Sunday, you know, just for kicks.”
Father Thompson first used midnight mass to workshop a sermon about how divorce is becoming a reality for the modern Catholic family. Eyewitnesses report that the finalized sermon he gave on Sunday morning went over exceptionally well, striking up a perfect balance between recognizing the reality but not condoning it.
“That kind of workshopping is going to be critical for the biggies: Christmas and Easter,” reported Thompson. “Those are the ones I need to go into feeling completely confident in my material, knowing that I picked a Letter to the Corinthians that’ll get the crowd’s attention but isn’t too racy.”
Thompson admits that his workshopping strategy isn’t foolproof, though. “I was riding the high of my divorce sermon and used the next midnight mass to try out one on how creationism and evolution aren’t mutually exclusive,” said Thompson, explaining that it had gone over well at midnight mass but not on Sunday. “I bombed. It was a riff on a bit I had heard Pope Francis do but I just couldn’t pull it off in the same way. The whole experience showed me that every crowd is unique and I can’t totally predict how they’ll react.”
At press time, Father Thompson had walked out from behind his pulpit to do some light crowd work.