Slide 15 Slide 2 Foto di Filippo Maria Gianfelice

Preacher to the Papal Household

The Preacher to the Papal Household (Concionator Domus Pontificalis), formerly known as the Apostolic Preacher, is the preacher chosen by the Supreme Pontiff to deliver a sermon on designated days in the presence of the Pope, the Cardinals, Bishops and Prelates of the Roman Curia, and the Superiors and General Procurators and other members of the Papal Household. Since Advent 1995, by order of John Paul II, a few women religious and laywomen who work in the Vatican have also been admitted to the sermon.
Institutionally, the office dates back to Paul IV (1555) and was part of his efforts to reform the Church and the Roman Curia. Before that time the title of Apostolic Preacher was awarded to some sacred orators, but it was purely honorary, and its holders never in fact preached in the presence of the Pope. The office was held by religious of various Orders, especially Jesuits, until Benedict XIV, in the Constitution Inclitum fratrum of March 2, 1743, assigned it permanently to the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor, who still hold the office today.
With few exceptions, the preaching has always taken place during the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent, although the days, places and manner of preaching have changed. At present, following the reform of the Papal Household introduced by the Motu proprio Pontifcalis domus of Paul VI on 28 March 1968, the sermons are held in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel every Friday of Advent and Lent, except in the first week of Lent when the Pope is on retreat. On Good Friday the sermon takes place in St. Peter’s Basilica in the course of the Liturgy of the Passion, at which the Pope presides.

Bibliography: Mauro da Leonessa, Il predicatore Apostolico. Note storiche. Isola del Liri, 1929; Lexicon Capuccinum, Roma 1951, pp. 437- 438; Analecta Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum, 2 (1886), pp. 356-362; 96 (1980), pp. 226-244 (Bull of Benedict XIV and list of the Preachers updated to 1980); G. Ingegneri, “I predicatori apostolici del Seicento”; in La predicazione cappuccina nel Seicento, Roma, Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, 1997, pp. 197-222.