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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

A parish where two rites don’t make a wrong

posted by deacon greg kandra

While America absorbs the ramifications of the motu proprio, there’s a parish in Indiana that seems to have mastered a delicate balance. It’s been offering mass in both the old and new rite for several years : Holy Rosary Parish […]

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“When you meet Jesus, be sure to call him ‘Mr. Christ’ “

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m sure you’ve been wondering, like I have, about the moral and theological implications of “The Simpsons Movie.” Thankfully, the folks over at Busted Halo have decided to tackle that question for us, with this illuminating essay by Mark I. […]

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Need a youth minister? Send in the clown

posted by deacon greg kandra

Most lay ministers will tell you that parish life can sometimes be a three-ring circus. But here’s a story about a guy in Virginia who knows it better than most: Sometimes Rob Tessier balances a chair or a desk on […]

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Gesu, joy of Ignatius’ desiring

posted by deacon greg kandra

And what are you doing for the feast of St. Ignatius? I’m remembering a pilgrimage we took to Rome in 2000, for the Jubilee. One of the places we visited was the famous Gesu, where the saint is buried and […]

I am “womanpriest,” hear me roar

posted by deacon greg kandra

You might think that an organization named for the patron saint of lawyers would have a better sense of what’s legit, and what isn’t. But then again, maybe not: The St. Thomas More Society of San Diego has invited “womanpriest” […]

Let us play

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of my post yesterday that mentioned golf, here comes news that some chaps in Britain are turning the grounds of a closed seminary into a world class golf course: The £115m development of a former Catholic […]

After a parish closes

posted by deacon greg kandra

Near Albany, New York, as with so much of the country, they’re dealing with parish closings and consolidations. The members of one closed parish found that they missed one another so much, they decided to “gather us in” — and […]

What happened after Vatican II? Just ask the pope

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a fascinating — and illuminating — critique of the years following Vatican II from someone in a position to know: Pope Benedict XVI. It strikes me as particularly on target, because he places the upheaval in its proper context, […]

A Florida deacon: “You can only play so much golf”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s no secret that a lot of deacons embark on ministry as a second career, many after retiring. And now, it turns out some retirement communities (most notably in Florida) are becoming thriving havens for deacons: Dana McCarthy lived a […]

It’s not just priests

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a small but significant detail that many have overlooked in writing about the mammoth sex abuse settlement in LA: a number of those who committed abuse were not priests: Church teachers, sports coaches and even unpaid parochial school volunteers […]

“To hand the mass entirely back to Father makes Latin illiterates like me irate”

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the op-ed page of the New York Times comes a personal critique of the Latin rite mass that is, unsurprisingly, not exactly a rave: In his homily, the pastor, the Rev. C. Frank Phillips, spoke proudly about the Latin […]

Building a Catholic university by degrees

posted by deacon greg kandra

While a lot of attention has been focused on Ave Maria, the shiny new Catholic-centric town in Florida, less attention has been focused on the university sprouting up around it. This, too, is the brainchild of zillionaire and pizza magnate […]

Does Hollywood have a prayer? Yes. Hundreds, in fact…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Fed up with all the schlock coming out of Hollywood? Hit your knees. That, at least, seems to be the message of a new ministry that’s cropped up in California, started by a woman who has produced documentaries for NBC: […]

“I believe my faith is my greatest gift”

posted by deacon greg kandra

In my parish, we’ve just begun a novena to St. John Vianney, the patron of parish priests. It is one way to offer a prayer for vocations, and to raise awareness. In North Carolina, the local paper has a great […]

Homily for July 29, 2007: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was four or five years old, my mother took me Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center, in Wheaton, Maryland, to see Santa Claus. Any four-year old will tell you: this is a very big deal. And it was even more […]

Mac vs. PC? Almost

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A very bemused tip of the hat to David Morrison at Sed Contra for sending this my way. Cute. And thought-provoking. How do you define “Christian”? Click to watch.

A light goes out

posted by deacon greg kandra

For decades, The Christophers have proudly and optimistically proclaimed that “it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” They’ve shed that light, most famously, on television, with the long-running program, “Christopher Closeup.” Now, after six decades, […]

Because it’s Friday and we’d all rather be at the beach

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Bunny Hop is so last century. What wedding is complete these days without everyone doing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”? This routine below has been floating around the ‘net for several months. It’s a scream. Really. For a more recent variation, […]

Get over ourselves

posted by deacon greg kandra

No sooner had I finished reading this piece in my diocesan newspaper, describing the orientation and training for visiting priests from Africa and Asia for the summer (including “accent reduction classes”), than I stumbled on this very good editorial via […]

Did they need a secret handshake to get in?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just weeks after Santa Barbara ordained an astonishing 60 deacons, now a splinter group has decided that’s not quite good enough: it’s “ordained” a batch of women as deacons, and one as a priest. The details are sketchy, which is […]

Log on and pray

posted by deacon greg kandra

Evidently, a few scribes bent over their desks in Rome have finally heard about computers, virtual worlds, and the Internet. They’ve dipped their quills into ink and are offering their opinion in an influential Jesuit magazine: Digital worlds where viewers […]

Now hear this: The Catholic Channel

posted by deacon greg kandra

Radio has changed since the days when Fulton Sheen (on the left, in the 1930’s) began broadcasting. In the mid-1980s, I worked for CBS News Radio, as a writer and editor, rubbing elbows with legends like Charles Osgood and Douglas […]

Dig this: the saint for miners

posted by deacon greg kandra

My grandparents were immigrants from Slovakia, and brought with them a custom from the Old World of naming each child for the feast day on which they were born. But one of my aunts was born in early July and […]

An Army priest is awarded the Purple Heart

posted by deacon greg kandra

We all know there’s a vocation shortage — and that extends, of course, into the military, where they just don’t have enough chaplains. So it’s even more unusual, and inspiring, to hear of a chaplain winning the Purple Heart: U.S. […]

“Hurt is the essential ingredient of Christ-likeness”

posted by deacon greg kandra

God knows, the sex scandals of the last five years have been costly, not only in dollars, but in believers. I know a few people who have had their faith shaken, or even shattered, by the feelings of betrayal that […]

A Mary and Martha flashback

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Trolling the web, I stumbled on this great little prayer, via Amy Cunningham over at Beliefnet: “Warm all the kitchen with Thy love, and light it with Thy peace.Forgive me all my worrying and make my grumbling cease.Thou who didst […]

Another prep seminary closes

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s been coming for a while, and it finally happened: one of America’s largest archdioceses has closed its high school prep seminary: For more than a century, Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary has prepared teenage boys for the priesthood, largely unchanged […]

Solid faith

posted by deacon greg kandra

Catholic art has a long and venerable history stretching back all the way to the catacombs. Lately, great church art has been rare, but some truly unusual and compelling work is on display at a parish in Arlington, Texas: Aspects […]

A deacon “takes care of those who fall between the cracks”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A cornerstone of the deacon’s work is the ministry of charity. This column from a Northern New Jersey paper, the Bergen Record, drove that point home, describing efforts to build a homeless shelter, and a memorial service for homeless men […]

Because it’s the middle of the week and we’re all starting to feel that way

posted by deacon greg kandra

Happy Hump Day.

Wasn’t “Biretta” that TV show with Robert Blake?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Vestment makers and missal publishers must feel like it’s Christmas in July. The motu proprio means the hunt is on for old vestments and ritual books: A Web site, helpline, DVDs and a training course at Oxford are among resources […]

Benedict: hanging with the homeboys

posted by deacon greg kandra

The pope spent part of his vacation today schmoozing with local priests: Faith and reason, mercy and the defense of the truth, dialogue and evangelization were just some of the topics Pope Benedict XVI touched on when he responded to […]

Mass appeal

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last night at dinner, a priest asked me if I’d seen this piece in Time magazine, about the Latin mass. I confessed: no. So I sought it out online this morning. It’s a mixed bag. While the author’s appreciation of […]

Blessed are they who mourn

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Deacon Tony’s Place, the good deacon has posted a beautiful reflection on love and loss: Ann ministered more to me than I ever expected. She led a long life and was married to her husband Jerry for over […]

When the missionary isn’t a priest or nun

posted by deacon greg kandra

The folks over at America magazine have just put out their annual Ministry Issue, and the cover story is about how lay missionaries are stepping up to fill the void left by vanishing clergy: As the number of priests and […]

What we have come to

posted by deacon greg kandra

This story is the sort that just makes you shake your head in dismay and disbelief: In what is being called a ”wrongful birth” case, a jury awarded more than $21 million Monday to a couple who claimed a doctor […]

The church in your living room

posted by deacon greg kandra

In the age of the booming mega-church, some people are bucking the trend and deciding that, if size matters, smaller is better: Jason Kilp had a short commute to church one recent Sunday. He walked about 15 feet from the […]

Photo of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

A cheerful hat tip to Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish, which posted the link to this site, with weirdly misplaced ads. The one below is my favorite.

A bishop with the common touch

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s always encouraging to hear about a bishop who has a way with people. The newly named Bishop of Pittsburgh, David Zubik seems to be that kind of guy. This interesting piece from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (by one of the […]

“Good evening, Godless sodomites”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s a rainy Monday morning here in New York and I think we could all use a laugh. So here it is. I kneel before the god who is Julie at The Word: Catholic Colbert, for bringing this bit of […]

Polish pilgrims killed in bus crash near La Salette

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is one of those tragedies that is just impossible to fathom: A bus transporting Polish pilgrims from a holy site in the French Alps plunged off a steep mountain road, crashed into a river bank and burst into flames […]

A Latino voice for the City of Angels?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Since the mammoth abuse settlement last week in Los Angeles, there’s been a lot of finger-pointing and fist-shaking (usually directed toward the Cardinal Archbishop who heads the archdiocese.) Now, a political scientist on the op-ed pages of the city’s leading […]

Catholic marriage advice: “A minefield bishops will have to walk”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A now, something a little different for a Sunday morning: marriage tips from the Catholic Church. No. Really. I’m not making this up. Last month, I noted that the USCCB had launched a new initiative to support and enrich marriage. […]

Archbishop bars deacon/politician from preaching

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s some unusual news, from our friends in the Caribbean: Ronnie Thwaites has been suspended from preaching by the Roman Catholic Church until he decides to leave active politics. The deacon, social activist, attorney-at-law and politician yesterday admitted to The […]

Hello? Anybody there? Hellooo…?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Mass attendance (and money in the collection basket) tends to drop off during the summer months, as people head off for vacation. And a Catholic paper out in Oregon decided to report on this phenomenon, and how parishes cope: Vacation […]

What’s Benedict up to, anyway?

posted by deacon greg kandra

With an institution as colorful and as ancient as the Catholic Church, you never lack for papal prognosticators who spend a lot of their time huddled in corners, dissecting plots and hidden motives. A surprising number of these tea-leaf readers […]

“The diaconate becomes part of your marriage”

posted by deacon greg kandra

In Cincinnati, Ohio, a group of deacons just celebrated a silver jubilee, with a 25th anniversary mass and some thoughts on both the ministry — as well as the unique role of the deacon’s wife: Barry Mersmann, current director of […]

Camillus: a saint for the sick

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was growing up, I knew some kids who belonged to St. Camillus parish — but I’d never actually met anyone named Camillus, and never even knew much about this saint. Now, thanks to this post over at Sed […]

Frank Keating: “I see why Christ chose Judas”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at “Couric & Co.,” we’ve just put up an interview with former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, who had a stormy tenure as head of National Review Board in 2002-2003. He has some interesting things to say about what just […]

Homily for July 22, 2007: “Martha and Mary,” the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last Saturday, after the 5 o’clock mass, my wife and I went to dinner down on Austin Street. And after dinner, we took a walk and decided to stop in at Barnes & Noble. Upstairs, in the religion section – […]

“It’s not Christ in crisis, it’s the institution”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Out in Los Angeles, they’re still trying to make sense of what has happened this week to make the archdiocese $660 million poorer. The faith seems to be holding strong, though doubts about the institution surrounding it persist: As she […]

Sometimes at the Vatican, the best man for the job is a woman

posted by deacon greg kandra

We hear grumblings all the time that the Church is sexist, or misogynist, or somehow trampling on the rights of women by denying them Holy Orders. But then you have women who are administering parishes — acting, in effect, as […]

A post-Tap report

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m pleased to report that Your Humble Blogger survived Theology on Tap tonight. It was my first attempt at something like this — and my first attempt at delivering any kind of presentation longer than, say, 15 minutes. The good […]

Mahony’s big fire sale

posted by deacon greg kandra

The record $660 million payout in Los Angeles is taking shape, and it looks like a lot will be on the block: The Los Angeles Archdiocese plans to pay its share of a record clergy sexual abuse settlement by liquidating […]

Our town?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve got decidedly mixed feelings about Tom Monaghan’s new Catholic town, Ave Maria, in Florida. Now it’s getting more attention, as it nears completion — or at least, nears the point where people will begin living there: Ave Maria has […]

Potter’s yield: life lessons for kids?

posted by deacon greg kandra

What can Harry Potter teach us about faith? According to Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, the president of Chicago Theological Seminary, a lot: Children know, from a very young age, that the world is not perfect and that goodness is not always […]

Jesus loves me, this I know, cause my avatar tells me so

posted by deacon greg kandra

Don’t have time to go to church or bible class? No problem. A little religion is only a click away, thanks to a software program called Second Life that allows you to take part in virtual bible meetings. You pick […]

Beware the Ides of March

posted by deacon greg kandra

St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, and now the Church has driven St. Patrick out of Holy Week. In Ireland, they’re moving the date of St. Paddy’s Day for 2008: The Roman Catholic Church will celebrate St. Patrick’s […]

A priest forever…or, 71 years so far

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something to the lift the spirits of priests everywhere (just days before the feast of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests). Pope Benedict, on vacation, met with Italy’s longest-serving priest: Father Armando Durighetto has seen a lot of […]

G.I. Jesus?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A confession: when I was a kid, I had a G.I. Joe. I played with it and I liked it. There. I said it. But I’m not sure how I would have reacted if my parents had given me an […]

Skin deep

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Andrew Sullivan posted this today. I’d never seen it before, though others tell me it’s been making the rounds for a while. I guess I don’t watch enough TV. (Is that a bad thing?). But this Dove commercial should be […]

And now, today’s Deep Thought…

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the insanely irreverent people over at Despair.com. Happy Hump Day! And a jolly hat tip (and a friendly smooch where it will do some good…) to the always happy Happy Catholic, Julie.

A bishop for Pittsburgh

posted by deacon greg kandra

Continuing his penchant for picking men who have a solid background in education and priestly formation, Benedict has just tapped Green Bay bishop David Zubik to succeed Donald Wuerl (now Archbishop of Washington) as bishop of Pittsburgh: The new bishop […]

Deacon on tap

posted by deacon greg kandra

For those who might be in the neighborhood later this week, Your Humble Blogger (that would be me) will be giving a Theology on Tap at a pub in Woodside, Queens. When: Thursday, July 19th, 7:30 PMWhere: Saints & Sinners […]

I feel the earth move under my feet

posted by deacon greg kandra

Recent developments out of Rome may have a seismic impact on the Catholic Church — and the world. Or so suggests the Christian Science Monitor in a surprisingly thorough – and critical – piece due to be published Wednesday, but […]

Think of the things you could do with that money…

posted by deacon greg kandra

That line from “Jesus Christ Superstar” stuck in my head this morning, when I read that the folks at IHOP (or International House of Pancakes, to some of us) are buying the restaurant chain Applebee’s: IHOP Corp. said Monday that […]

“Stop apologizing for being Catholic”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A hearty “Deacon’s Bench” welcome to another deacon blogger: Deacon Tom Stonecipher (do you love that name, or what?) who dropped me a line the other day, along with a link to his website and his blog. Deacon Tom, ordained […]

“Roger the Dodger”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez has never been a big fan of Cardinal Roger Mahony, and this morning he isn’t sending him any valentines: Roger the Dodger has already admitted — albeit without much detail — that he left […]

“I do.” “I do.” “And I do, too.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, here’s a new one. According to the New York Times, (in an op-ed piece by Elizabeth Marquardt, a vice president of the Institute for American Values, and only available via TimeSelect) we need to brace ourselves for the coming […]

Our middle-aged sisters

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s happening in the priesthood — and, evidently, in the sisterhood, too: more and more of those entering religious life, feeling the pull of a vocation, are older. A growing number of the vocations are coming, not from kids in […]

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days, and now I’m finally getting around to it: a nugget from Deacon Tony on a little “help wanted” notice that the Church is posting to anyone, anywhere. They’re looking for […]

What God has joined…

posted by deacon greg kandra

This morning’s Los Angeles Times has an opinion piece by Sheila Rauch Kennedy. The subject, unsurprisingly: annulments. A decade ago, the Catholic Church tried to annul my marriage. My former husband, Joseph Kennedy II, wanted to remarry and stay in […]

The first vocation question: “Do I want to do this?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A thoughtful reader sent this my way this morning: a great overview on the diaconate, from the diocesan newspaper in Richmond. It offers some sound advice and excellent insight for anyone who might be discerning a vocation: Men who are […]

Some of my best friends are Catholics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Busted Halo, they’ve posted this compelling and interesting piece by an Anglican priest (with the compelling and interesting name of Astrid Joy Storm). She writes about the Vatican’s recent document on Catholicism as the “one true Church”: Much […]

No women priests, but here’s a woman pastor. Sort of.

posted by deacon greg kandra

This article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette may have caused people to raise their eyebrows and scratch their heads: a woman as “parish life collaborator”? Whatzat? The article is a bit vague: Sister Dorothy Pawlus, (pictured on the left), greets friends […]

“Parish life will have to look very different”

posted by deacon greg kandra

While the Left Coast is reeling from the record-breaking settlement in the sex abuse scandal, the faithful on the East, particularly up in Beantown, are feeling a different disorientation and anguish: some drastic proposals for dealing with the worsening priest […]

“Pan s vami”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That Czech phrase means “The Lord be with you,” and when I spoke it today at mass, it marked my first attempt to serve as a deacon in a language other than my own. I was invited by the Czech […]

The abortion that wasn’t: “Okay. Let’s keep it.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something you don’t see everyday in the New York Times: an essay by a married woman describing how she unexpectedly got pregnant, wanted an abortion, and then changed her mind: “I don’t want to leave Mexico,” David said. “I […]

A record-shattering sex abuse settlement for Los Angeles?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A lot of people were expecting the sex abuse settlement in Los Angeles to be huge. Word today indicates it will be even bigger — and worse — than expected: Lawyers for more than 500 victims of sexual abuse by […]

“I always knew I had a call to the priesthood…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s hard not to love a good vocation story, and the blog Clerical Whispers is offering up this one: Just a few years out of college, Chris Canlas was helping run a Seattle investment firm that managed $100 million in […]

“Lord, when you came to the seashore…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

My wife and I have spent some vacation time in Ocean City, Maryland, and when not worshipping the sun, we’d worship at St. Luke’s — mentioned here as one of the places that finds its pews packed during the summer […]

Headline of the week

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Pope Signs Contract With The Yankees. Wonder if he’s as good as John Paul. See below.

“Journalists always know everything”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Unlike his predecessor, Pope Benedict is not what you would describe as a social butterfly. And on vacation, he’s mostly kept to himself, though he has made a couple brief trips from his compound: After the July 11 visit to […]

Conversion of another kind

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over the years, countless people have taken oaths on the Fourth of July to become American citizens — and it turns out more than a few of them have been Catholic priests: Growing up in Ireland, Father Frank McNamee always […]

The Vatican: green is more than just a liturgical color

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something to warm the heart of Al Gore (and hopefully, not warm the rest of the planet.) The Vatican is taking steps to become the first entirely carbon neutral sovreign state in the world: In a brief July 5 […]

Lady Bird’s priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yesterday, I noted a Catholic connection to Lady Bird Johnson: her daughter’s grand wedding at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. But it seems there was more to it than that. A family friend was at Lady Bird’s bedside when […]

The rite stuff

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I was struck by this thoughtful piece from the Los Angeles Times (by one of their senior editorial writers, no less) which asked whether it was possible to bring mystery to liturgy without resorting to Latin. The author says yes, […]

Homily for July 15, 2007: “The Good Samaritan,” the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Who is my neighbor?” We look around this morning, and see those around us, in the pews, and know them. We see them on the street. We pass them in the grocery store. We wait with them in line in […]

I’m listening to your homily, really I am, it’s…so…interesting…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Ever have one of those Sundays? Click below and you’ll see what I mean.

Lady Bird Johnson and the Catholic connection

posted by deacon greg kandra

While the world mourns the loss of a true steel magnolia, Lady Bird Johnson, it might be fitting to take a look back at a singular Catholic element of her life: the wedding of her daughter Luci in 1966 at […]

Charm City gets a new charm for her bracelet: a New Yorker

posted by deacon greg kandra

As a Maryland boy, now living in New York, I found special significance in this news: This morning, Pope Benedict accepted the age-induced resignation of Cardinal William Keeler as archbishop of Baltimore, naming Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of the Military Services […]

It depends on what you mean when you say “church”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Cardinal Walter Kasper is already out in the fields, with a hammer and nails, mending some fences. He’s trying to patch things up with our Protestant neighbors: “What unites us is bigger than what divides us,” said Cardinal Walter Kasper, […]

Ouch

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, some Protestants are not taking the document on Catholic primacy very well. Consider this snippet: The Rev. Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, published an open letter July 10 addressed to Cardinal Walter Kasper, […]

Whispers from the Piazza

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s not often that a baseball star opens up and talks candidly, even movingly, about his Catholic faith. But that’s what Oakland A’s star Mike Piazza has done with this interview at Beliefnet. The All Star says, among other things: […]

A little bite of Colbert with your morning coffee

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some things are just too good not to share. Like this clip from the vault of the Colbert Report, posted over at The Word: Catholic Colbert. A big tip of the zuchetto to Diane, who keeps the plates spinning at […]

“Listen…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With that one simple word, St. Benedict began his famous Rule, and what followed transformed Western monasticism and, in fact, the Western world. It’s no secret that monks the faith alive during some of the darkest times in history. But […]

CAR: “Catholics Against Rudy”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was only a matter of time until something like this came along: a grassroots Catholic movement against Rudy Giuliani. The place is still under construction — if you visit, wear your hard hat and watch your step — but […]

American Catholics: more American, less Catholic

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something to make Pope Benedict lose sleep at night: a new survey that reports that American Catholics are fitting into the mainstream more, but practicing their faith less: According to the survey released Monday, 68 percent of Catholics said […]

A shout-out to the monks!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Open Book, Amy has a quick post on visiting the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, just outside Atlanta. (Or, as they like to say this time of year, “Hot-lanta.”) I love that monastery, and the […]

“How awesome is Your name through all the earth”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You stumble across a story like this one, announcing that scientists have discovered “the most distant galaxies ever,” and you can’t help but think of David, who put pen to paper and wrote: When I see your heavens, the work […]

The other shoe drops

posted by deacon greg kandra

We knew this was coming, and here it is: A Vatican document has reaffirmed the supremacy of the Catholic Church over alternative Christian churches by labelling them “defective.”The 16-page pamphlet, published on Tuesday by the Congregation for the Doctrine of […]

What does the pope do for fun?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pope Benedict — having dashed off a long letter to the Chinese and then a shorter letter to everyone else about the Latin mass — has scurried off for his vacation. But he’s not planning to kick back and read […]

“Wives, be submissive to your husbands…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yeah, right. This new study seems to prove otherwise: Researchers found that wives, on average, displayed more power than their husbands during problem-solving discussions, regardless of who brought up the topic of discussion. And it’s not simply a case of […]

The motu proprio: U.S. bishops react

posted by deacon greg kandra

The U.S. bishops have started to comment on the motu proprio. Here’s a summary of some: Cardinal Adam J. Maida of Detroit said the apostolic letter “Summorum Pontificum” showed the pope’s “pastoral care for those members of the faithful who […]

Not so fast, Cormac

posted by deacon greg kandra

The pope has asked one of the most famous prelates in the West to stay on past retirement age: The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, offered his resignation ahead of his 75 birthday in accordance with canon law. Pope […]

“As nimble as the pen of a scribe”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That phrase from the psalms leaped to mind when I read about a particularly nimble group of scribes in India. I’m not sure why anybody attempted this, but some Christians there have set a record for writing the Bible. The […]

A little advice for priests and deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

I stumbled across this little list, and I have to say, it offers nuggets of wisdom not only for priests, but deacons, too: Maxims for the Priesthood – Good for Most of the Time Avoid handling money Wear black socks, […]

Benedict’s olive branch

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The pope’s motu proprio for expanding access to the 1962 mass has been greeted with enthusiasm in some traditional circles. But those who may have the most to gain from it, the schismatic members of the Society of St. Piux […]

A Muslim who’s a Christian — and a priest?

posted by deacon greg kandra

While we’re pondering the significance of the motu proprio, some of our Episcopalian brothers and sisters are scratching their heads over this: The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, a local Episcopal priest who announced she is both Muslim and Christian, will […]

Gettin’ jiggy with the gospel

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was bound to happen sooner or later: someone has found a way to make hip hop Catholic. There are no subliminal messages or underlying themes. It is the familiar in-your-face style of rap music placed at the service of […]

Raising a little Hell

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Melbourne, Australia comes this word of a Catholic schoolboy with an unfortunate surname: The Hell family says it may tell a Catholic school in Australia where to go after it objected to enrolling their son because of his name. […]

Every deacon loves St. Stephen. How about Pope Stephen?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I have no idea just what “Fark.com” is, but they’re running a little contest, asking people to depict Stephen Colbert as a religious figure. God bless her, Diane at The Word, has picked this priceless piece on the left as […]

The Tridentine stampede that isn’t

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the priests at my parish — skeptical that there is much demand in our neighborhood for the 1962 mass — has taken it upon himself to keep a tally of how many people are requesting it. As I […]

The motu proprio at a glance

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s the Cliff Notes version, courtesy the Catholic News Service: — The current Roman Missal, published after the Second Vatican Council, continues to be the “ordinary” form for celebrations of Mass in the Latin-rite church. The 1962 missal is now […]

Mulling the mass at Deacon Tony’s

posted by deacon greg kandra

On the other side of my diocese, they’re hoisting chianti and offering some sage thoughts on the motu proprio over at Deacon Tony’s Place. I think Tony gets it right: Here Benedict is trying to make an appeal to regain […]

Start spreading the news

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got an email this morning from a Catholic veterans group asking if I could give them “some publicity…we’re for God, Country and Home.” They’re the New York branch of the Catholic War Veterans of the USA, and they’ve got […]

Your Paul Potts fix of the week

posted by deacon greg kandra

You saw his amazing and soul-stirring performance all over the internet (including, I hope, right here). But if you still haven’t gotten enough of the now-legendary Paul Potts, relax. His CD is coming. A loyal Deacon’s Bench reader dropped me […]

“The Ratzinger Effect”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pope John Paul was a phenomenon — charismatic, bold, tireless, beloved. Not for nothing have people around the world begun to refer to him as “The Great.” But is history repeating itself with Benedict? Some are beginning to suggest as […]

Grace, doubled

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a diocese ordaining identical twins to the priesthood: Fathers Joel and Ben Sember, 27, were ordained June 30 by Bishop David A. Zubik at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay. Father Andrew […]

Deacon Tony’s Place

posted by deacon greg kandra

A hearty Deacon’s Bench welcome to my pal and classmate Deacon Tony Stucchio, who is wading into the blogosphere with his very own blog, Deacon Tony’s Place. I think you’ll like what you find over there: great insights and stories […]

I’m a Simpsons character

posted by deacon greg kandra

A colleague at work has taken the time and trouble to create this custom-designed avatar of Your Humble Blogger. You can make one for yourself right here. Now you know what all us hard-working journalists do all day when we […]

“Semper ubi sub-ubi!” — “Always where under-where!”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can’t remember the last time the editorial pages of a major American newspaper weighed in on the liturgy of the Catholic Church. It’s almost unheard of. But now comes the Chicago Tribune, with a surprisingly heartfelt editorial on, of […]

Homily for July 8, 2007: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you’re still feeling drowsy this Sunday morning, here’s something to wake you up. Last year, the world got a lot richer. According to the World Wealth Report, compiled by Merrill Lynch, the combined wealth of the world’s richest people […]

Okay. It’s here.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Or, more precisely, it’s here. Rocco, at Whispers in the Loggia, has the scoop of the month. Or maybe the year. The text of the motu proprio, expanding the use of the Tridentine mass, a document which Rocco describes as […]

CBS News on covering the pope

posted by deacon greg kandra

You never know where you’ll find a great story. Today I found one right in my own backyard, where I work at CBS News. Specifically, it’s in the media watchdog blog Public Eye. Every Thursday, the good people over there […]

What the hell…?

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you’re living with a greater-than-normal fear of damnation, a priest suggests maybe you should relax: Generally, people who live in terror about going to Hell are the last people who should worry about doing so. Even so, the Catholic […]

He shoots, he scores, he delivers a homily

posted by deacon greg kandra

Every now and then someone does something so remarkable, and so inspiring, you have to sit up and take notice. That’s what happened with Derek Fisher. The guard for the Utah Jazz basketball team asked to be released from his […]

“Celibates are not consecrated refrigerators”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Priest, deacons and seminarians who attended a conference last month at Steubenville, Ohio got an earful on living a holy life — especially when it comes to celibacy: The main address Monday night was given by Sister Briege McKenna, OSC, […]

A controversial public figure joins the Church — and it’s not Tony Blair

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just when you thought you’d heard it all, along comes a surprising conversion story that illustrates, once again, the wonders God can work. The subject: one-time Marxist President of Nicaragua (now President once again), Daniel Ortega: Ortega took office again […]

What we pray for today

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The folks over at New Advent found this wonderful prayer, from Archbishop John Carroll, courtesy Fr. Z. It bears reading, and re-reading. You can find the whole thing at Fr. Z’s website, but here’s an excerpt: We pray Thee O […]

Homily for July 4, 2007: Independence Day

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sunday, when I mentioned to Fr. Anthony that I’d be off today, and would attend this mass, he asked me if I’d like to preach, because he thought it more appropriate that an American preach on the Fourth of July. […]

Lest we forget

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, it’s easy to forget that the Land of the Free wasn’t always so free for Catholics. In this morning’s New York Times, however, historian Kenneth C. Davis sets the record straight: […]

Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Remember this? Who could forget? Forest Gump’s mother has never been more beguiling.

After that coffee break, pause to pray

posted by deacon greg kandra

A lot of us struggle to blend the secular and sacred in our daily lives, especially on the job. But here’s a woman near Indianapolis who’s taking it a step further: Jeanne Atkins takes pride in her employees who make […]

Make room for Daddy, the married priest

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Ordination season is drawing to a close, but that hasn’t stopped them in Europe. And celibacy doesn’t seem to be an issue for these new priests, either: Two former Lutheran ministers have been ordained to the priesthood for the Catholic […]

Okay, so it’s the day before a holiday

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And it’s not just another day at the office. You know what that’s like. Everybody: sing along.

Now, let’s dump on men

posted by deacon greg kandra

Writer Dr. Christine Whelan has unearthed a word — and perhaps struck a nerve. The word is misandry, and the nerve is, well, close to wear a man lives: Misandry is not a word you’ve probably heard before. Literally, it […]

Pope Benedict, Boy Scout

posted by deacon greg kandra

Amid everything else he has to do, the pope took a little time to write a letter in praise of scouting: Playing together, working on activities and sharing adventures, Scouts learn about nature, teamwork and service to others, Pope Benedict […]

Your Holiness, I think we have a problem

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Judging from some of the headlines now popping up around the internet, it might be a good time to call in some PR consultants. Fasten your seatbelts. “Pope seeks restoration of anti-Jewish mass; move may alienate Catholics” — Israel Insider. […]

“I felt God was still calling me”

posted by deacon greg kandra

More and more of the secular press is hopping on the deacon bandwagon, and writing about this vocation. The latest comes from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, specifically New Castle, Pennsylvania: Years ago, a local banker began studies to become a […]

Baptism update: what is it about Irish girls?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, I married one — a lovely lass named Siobhain, whose great grandmother arrived at Ellis Island with little more than a handbag and a determined attitude. And yesterday, for my first baptism, I baptized one — another determined little […]

America’s only pontifical seminary opens a school for deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

Intriguing news clattered over the wire a short time ago: the prestigious Pontifical College Josephinum, the only Pontifical Seminary in North America, has announced the establishment of the Institute for the Formation and Ministry of the Permanent Diaconate at its […]

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

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