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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Confession isn’t quite what it used to be. These days, it’s more apt to be known as “reconciliation,” and the long lines of penitents on a Saturday evening have dwindled to only the most devout (or, some priests will tell […]

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God takes center stage

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is the Holy Spirit up to something? Just days after I posted this little item on Fr. James Martin’s new book, “A Jesuit Off-Broadway,” comes word that a new theater company in St. Louis is planning to stage dramas about […]

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Windy City monastery may get a second wind

posted by deacon greg kandra

A group of seminarians from a variety of faiths has banded together to try and buy a former Carmelite monastery in Chicago’s New Hyde Park section. If that’s not ambitious enough, their plans including using the building as an interfaith […]

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God in a box: the people who bring mass to your living room

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some of us of a certain age know it as the “mass for shut-ins.” But tens of thousands see it pop up early Sunday morning on TV: a 30-minutes mass taped in a small studio that can give the viewer […]

Haunted…and healed: a story of Fr. Sudac

posted by deacon greg kandra

Shortly after I posted the news item about the priest pedophile Msgr. Othmar Schroeder, I wandered over to Rod Dreher’s blog and noticed he’d linked to the same story. But then, Rod added his own footnote, remembering a friend he […]

Haunted by the dead

posted by deacon greg kandra

The ongoing sex abuse scandals of the Church are even reaching beyond the grave. The New York Times reports the unusual story of a small town in Indiana coping with one beloved priest’s decidedly mixed legacy: Msgr. Othmar Schroeder was […]

Preaching to the converted: how sermons helped make America

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another new book to add to my sagging and overcrowded shelf: A City Upon A Hill: How Sermons Changed the Course of American History by Larry Witham. According to the description at Amazon.com: The Puritan founder John Winthrop preached about […]

A Texas-sized problem in Galveston-Houston: 1 priest per 2,000 Catholics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Almost every diocese is feeling the pinch from the priest shortage — but parts of Texas, with an enormous influx of Latino immigrants, may be feeling it more sharply. A local TV affiliate decided to take a look: An alarming […]

“It is another gift, perhaps, from Mother Teresa…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at “Couric & Co.,” I’ve just posted another perspective on the Mother Teresa story, from our (Jewish) legal analyst, Andrew Cohen: Forget law, politics, diplomacy and war. Forget about creepy astronaut lovers and vicious athletes. Is there a more […]

Sacred security threat?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Most of us have gotten used to the gauntlet of security checks at airports: the metal detectors, the wands, the shoes-in-plastic-crates. But now terrorism experts have pinpointed another hazard: holy water from Lourdes. Yes, that’s right. Reuters has the story: […]

“The Boy Scouts of America is not a safe place for your boy”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Since the sex abuse scandal surfaced in the Church in 2002, some observers have taken pains to point out that the Catholic Church isn’t the only offender when it comes to pedophilia. Now, another revered institution which entrusts boys into […]

On eagle’s wings (or, at least, a 737’s)

posted by deacon greg kandra

Around the Vatican, angels aren’t the only ones with wings these days. The Holy See has just inaugurated its very own airline, to fly pilgrims to favorite destinations (Lourdes et al.) The New York Times has a write up on […]

Catholic teacher fired for in vitro fertilization settles case

posted by deacon greg kandra

A curious case in Wisconsin seems to have drawn to a close: it involves a complaint filed by a former teacher at a Catholic school, who claims she was fired illegally because she had in vitro fertilization. Evidently, there’s been […]

Do you see what I see?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Lone Star state may have a new star in its galaxy: Jesus. According to reports from Laredo: The Rev. Jose Maria Weyne had an unusual question for his congregation to open Wednesday’s morning Mass. “Who saw something out of […]

“All are called to struggle…with the slums of our hearts”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A lot of ink has already been spilled about Mother Teresa, and another flood will pour forth when her book of letters is officially published next week. The commentary has ranged from the Catholic reverential to the atheistic scornful. But […]

Church of England reconsiders the role of the deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s another sign that the role of the deacon is becoming increasingly important, not just in the Catholic Church, but in our close cousin, the Church of England, too. This article suggests that the Church of England is beginning to […]

All’s fair: going to mass near the midway

posted by deacon greg kandra

No one can accuse the Catholic Church of being stodgy. Not when it’s happy to have mass celebrated just down the road from the champion heifers, and a stone’s throw from the ferris wheel and the Tilt-A-Whirl. According to a […]

All the Good News that’s fit to print

posted by deacon greg kandra

The secular media catches a lot of flak for the way it covers the Church — but perhaps the answer isn’t flak, but flacks. In other words, hiring someone to do a little PR for the Catholic Church. Zenit has […]

Sing a new song unto the Lord — in Latin

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the Church Music Associaton comes word that they will be offering a seminar for priests in how to sing the “extraordinary rite,” that is, the Latin mass. According to their press release: The sung Mass remains the normative form […]

Gird your loins: headline of the week

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Church Deacon, OU Fan Tears Scrotum Of UT Fan In Bar Fight”

Biden: “My idea of self comes straight from my religion”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This election cycle, Rudy Giuliani is the Catholic who’s been getting the most attention — and the most heat. But there are other Catholics running for president. The Christian Science Monitor in its Monday edition has a fascinating profile of […]

One church, six generations of brides

posted by deacon greg kandra

Now, here’s something you don’t hear about every day: six generations of brides being married walking down the same aisle, in the same Catholic church, over nearly 150 years. This has all the makings of a made-for-TV movie on Lifetime. […]

Zubik: “I want people to be excited about God”

posted by deacon greg kandra

After too-long a time, the Diocese of Pittsburgh is getting ready to welcome a new bishop. Hometown boy David Zubik is to be installed at the end of September, and he’s already making the rounds of the local media. Here’s […]

Reaching America’s second-largest denomination

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s one of the most vexing problems facing the Church: how to woo back sheep who have strayed, Catholics who are no longer practicing. An Arizona newspaper has a profile of some people who are trying to reach this particular […]

“Circling My Mother,” and circling faith

posted by deacon greg kandra

Novelist Mary Gordon has just published a new book, with memories of her mother and her Catholic upbringing in the middle of the last century. For anyone who wonders what it was like to come of age during that particular […]

Priest “assaulted” deacon?

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the blog Clerical Whispers, we get this piece of news about a priest in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia who has been suspended because of an argument he got into with his parish deacon: The Rev. Joseph J. Clark, […]

Resurrection

posted by deacon greg kandra

What happens to a church after it’s closed? Here in New York City, I know of a couple places that have become condos (with awesomely high ceilings and stunning stained glass windows in the master bedroom.) But a reporter at […]

“I will follow Him”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Continuing the “Sister Act” theme I began on the feast of the Queenship of Mary, here’s one for a Friday afternoon. I imagine — even in the bleakest moments of her doubt — that Blessed Mother Teresa could have understood […]

Now playing: Jesus, Judas, and a Jesuit

posted by deacon greg kandra

Jesuit Father James Martin wears many hats — editor, essayist, raconteur, priest — and is probably most familiar to American Catholics as the author of the instant classic “My Life With The Saints” (coming in paperback in October.) Now he’s […]

Here comes Father. And his family.

posted by deacon greg kandra

A parish in Arkansas is facing something it never expected: a new pastor. And his wife and kids: Students returning to St. Joseph School will have something different this fall: They’ll be joined by the son of the parish’s new […]

Evangelicals seeking tradition beat a path to the Orthodox Church

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s an unhappy evangelical Christian to do? In growing numbers, members of various Protestant denominations have decided they’ve had enough, and are converting. And more often than not, they’re joining the Orthodox Church. According to The New Republic: While it’s […]

St. Teresa of Calcutta?

posted by deacon greg kandra

With the 10th anniversary of her death approaching, Blessed Mother Teresa is very much in the news. A collection of her letters, in which she details her spiritual struggles and doubts, is about to be published. Instead of throwing cold […]

Sister Fact: more young women joining the convent

posted by deacon greg kandra

Every now and then, we get a happy reminder that the Holy Spirit is running the Church, gently correcting all the screw-ups we humans can manage. Here is one good bit of news: increasing reports of more young women deciding […]

Trampling through the vintage…but blessing it first

posted by deacon greg kandra

In October, on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, it’s not uncommon to find churches blessing animals. At the start of fox hunting season, people routinely celebrate the blessing of the hounds. So it shouldn’t seem all that unusual […]

A shrine is born

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sometimes, faith creates shrines in surprising places. That seems to be what has happened in Delaware, where a statue of the Blessed Mother has become a destination for hundreds: When Joseph Tighe stopped to visit the Our Lady Queen of […]

Another Nazareth, in Egypt

posted by deacon greg kandra

Charles de Foucauld wrote lovingly of Jesus’ hometown, and thought that, as he put it, “Nazareth…the place of the hidden life, of family life, of ordinary life (is) where most people lead their lives.” So this item caught my eye: […]

Fr. Groeschel on “a mindless stupid reptile called the media”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Father Benedict Groeschel will never be called a shy wallflower of a man, afraid to speak his mind. That much was clear from a talk he gave in Arlington, Virginia recently on the media: In a modern society where “truth […]

Ad against Catholic candidate: “A scurrilous smear”?

posted by deacon greg kandra

You would think that making an issue of a candidate’s Catholicism is just so 20th century. Didn’t we get over that in 1960? But no. In the governor’s race in Louisiana, the spectre of anti-Catholicism has now reared its ugly […]

The Denver Broncos get some spirited new cheerleaders

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Denver Broncos know a good thing when they see it. And a devoted group of nuns who happen to be football fans is a very good thing: “Quiet please. Let’s go again.” In the chapel at Exempla St. Joseph […]

Widower, father, colonel. And now, priest.

posted by deacon greg kandra

While some wring their hands over prep seminaries closing, and the fact that younger men are choosing not to enter religious life, there is this silver lining: more older men are deciding they look better in black, and becoming priests. […]

Triumph, all ye cherubim! Sing with us, ye seraphim!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

To celebrate Wednesday’s feast, the Queenship of Mary, a singular rendition of a hymn we all know, from “Sister Act.” Crank up the speakers and sing with us, ye seraphim!

A stunt that bombed?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A billboard for storage space in Manhattan has been generating a lot of buzz — most of it negative. After the Catholic League criticized the display, others starting arguing about it and taking a closer look. The consensus now? If […]

A Catholic school with a money-back guarantee

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last week, I posted about the grade school offering discounts if families actually go to church. Now, here’s another novel idea — and one that should attract a lot of curiosity: Our Lady of La Salette Catholic School in the […]

Yeah, but who has the best football team?

posted by deacon greg kandra

With the new Ave Maria University up and running down in Florida, the inevitable comparisons to another Catholic university to the north — specifically, the one in South Bend, Indiana — have started to crop up. This report from South […]

McCarrick helps launch a seminary for Serbs

posted by deacon greg kandra

Washington’s retired Archbishop, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, hasn’t been idle. This month found him in, of all places, Serbia, where he managed to make a little history: The foundation stone has been laid for the first Catholic seminary for Serbia. Cardinal […]

Taking a different road to God…on two wheels

posted by deacon greg kandra

An old joke asks: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Answer: “Practice.” This story asks: “How do you get to a monastery?” Answer: “Peddle.” There are many ways to discern a religious vocation, and the woman in this item […]

Dealing with Fathers who are fathers

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you think priests in this country have problems, consider the situation in the Philippines where, according to this wire report, they’re dealing with a number of Fathers who are fathers: The head of the Philippine church’s marriage-appeals court disapproves […]

Taught by an angel?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The more we read about troubles facing various world monarchs, the more grateful I am that we don’t have any here. The latest tidbit comes from Norway, via AFP: A school newly created by Norway’s Princess Maertha Louise for students […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Jesus is the king, not me.” — Elvis Presley, to fans at a concert, according to this report.

Moses supposes: another “Ten Commandments” is coming

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’ve had a few too many versions of “The Ten Commandments” for my taste — including the Dreamworks animated version, “Prince of Egypt,” and a low-rent TV adaptation a couple years ago — but that hasn’t stopped another Hollywood studio […]

Playing on God’s team

posted by deacon greg kandra

Countless Catholics are familiar with CYO, the Catholic Youth Organization sports program that has flourished for decades around the country. Now there is an effort to underline the “C” part of “CYO,” and emphasize the spirituality of sports, as the […]

“A Catholic education on steroids”

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you don’t recognize what’s happening in the picture on the left, you aren’t alone. Catholic education isn’t what it used to be. But with so many Catholic schools struggling — and fighting to stay open — an experiment in […]

The Rice Stuff: For Hillary, Against Abortion?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at her self-named website, popular novelist Anne Rice (“Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt,” amnong others) has posted her own political manifesto. Rice has undergone quite a conversion (as she described in her last book, and in many interviews […]

Is his name Quasimodo?

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the Netherlands comes this story of a priest who likes to give his villagers an early wake-up call: A Dutch priest has been fined 5,000 euros ($6,800) for ringing his church bells too loudly in the morning. The Catholic […]

Homily for August 19, 2007: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Friday night, The Disney Channel debuted the sequel to “High School Musical,” aptly called “High School Musical 2.” If you live with, or near, anyone between the ages of 8 and 13, you know that this is one of the […]

The paper chase leads to the priesthood

posted by deacon greg kandra

You never know where a vocation will come from. And this item from an Indianapolis newspaper tells of one vocation that took root and grew at an Ivy League school: Christopher Roberts was seemingly on track. Taking classes at Harvard […]

A chants encounter: spiritual retreats for business executives

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’ve known for a long time that monastic retreats are good for the soul — and the head. Now Protestants are getting in on the act, and a new industry is beginning to boom in, of all places, Germany — […]

Milwaukee becomes the Emerald City

posted by deacon greg kandra

Surely some Irish eyes were smiling in Wisconsin today, when the Prime of Ireland popped by a local Irish Fest to offer some encouraging words on how the faith is doing back on the Emerald Isle: Archbishop Sean Brady of […]

Jesus saves … on your tuition bill

posted by deacon greg kandra

A parish in Wisconsin has come up with a novel — and somewhat unnevering — method of getting people to go to church…tuition discounts: Parents whose children attend St. Jerome Parish School here can save $1,400 off the annual tuition […]

“Attention must be paid”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those are among the last words of Arthur Miller’s greatest work, “Death of a Salesman”, but they could also serve as a sorrowful footnote to his life, a life that was evidently more complicated than we realized. Word is now […]

A deacon walks with others on the road to Emmaus

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Christianity Today comes this inspiring story of a deacon giving hope to the hopeless: men who have turned to prostitution to stay alive. The deacon, John Green (seen on the left with his wife and children), founded Emmaus Ministries […]

The obligatory Elvis post

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, where were you 30 years ago today? I don’t remember myself. I was preparing to begin my freshman year at the University of Maryland, and I had a lot on my mind. But countless Elvis fans, I’m sure, do […]

“You’re there to listen”

posted by deacon greg kandra

What does a deacon do when he’s not at church? More than you may think. Check out this piece, from a paper in greater St. Louis, describing the life of police chaplains — including one who is a Catholic deacon: […]

How’d they do that?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Where are vocations coming from? Among other places, the hills of California, where a small college is producing seminarians the way Fresno produces raisins: Five alumni of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula were ordained to the priesthood this year, […]

Merv Griffin’s Hollywood funeral

posted by deacon greg kandra

The man who gave the world, among other things, “Jeopardy” (and its insistent theme song) and Vanna White will be buried tomorrow from one of the most celebrated Catholic churches in Tinsletown: Merv Griffin’s funeral will be held tomorrow at […]

“You have to start with the youth”

posted by deacon greg kandra

There is money to be made from faith and belief, and nowhere was that more evident, it seems, than at a recent religious marketing expo in Cleveland: “As far as T-shirts go, you can’t beat Pope John Paul,” said Dominic […]

Stephen on Stephen

posted by deacon greg kandra

Today marks a special holiday for My Close Personal Friend Stephen Colbert. Although he was, of course, named for the patron saint of deacons, he feels some misguided attachment to that other St. Stephen, whose feast is today, August 16. […]

A shepherd steps away from his flock

posted by deacon greg kandra

While all the attention in Louisville the last couple days has been on the shiny new archbishop, the folks at the local paper decided to give the departing shepherd his due. Retiring Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly talked with the paper […]

Three brothers concelebrate mass

posted by deacon greg kandra

Remember “My Three Sons,” with Fred MacMurray? Well, consider this an episode of “My Three Priest Sons.” This remarkable event occured near Pittsburgh a few days ago: three brothers, all ordained as priests, concelebrated mass: When the Geinzer boys were […]

Taste and see

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Eucharist began with a supper, so it makes perfect sense for a priest to put out a spiritual cookbook. Doesn’t it? Anyway, that’s what one priest has done — and the way things are going, he could be TV’s […]

Faith on the front lines

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Air Force has just released a stirring story of a Catholic chaplain working in one of America’s war zones — in many ways, the “forgotten war zone,” Afghanistan: “I’ve been deployed to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey, amongst others,” […]

Grace is in the air — and on it

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just in time for the Solemnity of the Assumption, news crackled over the wire of a radio program devoted to — who else? — Mary. According to the press release: Mary’s Touch, a program of stories from people who have […]

Okay. But shouldn’t they have to call Allah “God”?

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the Dutch, who gave us chocolate and tulips, comes another interesting diversion, courtesy one of their bishops: Bishop Martinus Muskens (seen on the left) of Breda, Netherlands, suggested in an interview with Radio Netherlands that Christians should refer to […]

Forever plaid

posted by deacon greg kandra

‘Tis the season: time to go uniform-shopping. Those of us who went through Catholic school remember it well — and remember the dreaded, terrible same-ness of what everyone wore. Which, of course, is part of the point of having school […]

A little bit of Merton on Mary

posted by deacon greg kandra

This morning, I Goggled and found this gorgeous poem by Thomas Merton: a reflection on the Visitation — which, of course, is the subject of today’s gospel. Enjoy. The Evening of the Visitation – Written in 1947 Go, roads, to […]

A glorious mystery

posted by deacon greg kandra

Department of Shameless Self-Promotion: the folks at Busted Halo have just posted a reflection by Your Humble Blogger, with a thought or two on a familiar form of Catholic prayer: The other day, while I was unfolding my New York […]

Homily for August 15, 2007: Solemnity of the Assumption

posted by deacon greg kandra

The gospel today begins with a journey. “Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste…” This time of year, I think, a lot of us can appreciate the idea of taking a trip. Millions of us are […]

Coffee? Tea? Absolution?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Imagine running a parish with 50,000 members and 20 masses a week. That about sums up life for the chaplains working at some of America’s busiest airports. They worry less about security than about salvation: Can you find holiness at […]

Well, a certain grilled cheese sandwich that I know will not be impressed

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That grilled cheese would be this gal, who pointed me to this little nugget. Now I’m hungry. You Are a Ham Sandwich You are quiet, understated, and a great comfort to all of your friends. Over time, you have proven […]

“…But only God can make a tree.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Vatican is making big plans for Benedict’s visit to Vienna next month, and those plans are already drawing fire from environmentalists: Four stately lime trees ceremoniously planted near a popular Roman Catholic shrine in 1983 for a visit to […]

Does this Baker have a recipe for success in Birmingham?

posted by deacon greg kandra

As Whispers in the Loggia hinted, and as I speculated yesterday, the soon-to-be-bishop of Birmingham is a fella named Baker: Robert Baker of Charleston. Rocco once again has the scoop: As bishop of Charleston, Baker has presided over rapid growth; […]

Commuting with God

posted by deacon greg kandra

Careful observers know that you don’t find God only in church on Sunday morning. And now, thanks to the Washington Post’s excellent On Faith section (available online), we have more insight on God’s omnipresence, from a Jesuit who encounters Him […]

Watch this. Now.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This five-minute-long film has popped up in several places on the internet, and I found it first at this blog. If you wonder what it is like to be Catholic in China, this shows you. Watch this. Now. And then, […]

Dred Scott’s author: “He was regarded as a very good Catholic”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A little piece of Catholic history from my home state of Maryland may soon be removed from a place of honor — and I can’t say I’m unhappy about it. It’s a bust of the first Catholic Chief Justice of […]

“Dear Deacons…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, just days after I took him to task for not having information about deacons on his website, the fellow behind this blog has posted something lovely on this particular vocation. Here’s part of what he posted: a letter from […]

The pope picks up his pen. Again.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Our prolific pontiff is at it again. With one bestseller under his cincture, and another on the way, and with a widely praised encyclical still stirring the hearts of the faithful around the world, he’s now set to work on […]

And for his encore, how about a duet of “Heart and Soul” with the pope?

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s vacation time at the pope’s summer residence, and that means it’s time to tickle the ivories: Pope Benedict XVI was so impressed with the piano skills of Brazil’s Vatican representative that he invited the apostolic nuncio to give him […]

Cardinal-watching

posted by deacon greg kandra

Rumblings out of Rome indicate a consistory is coming — and, with it, the usual flurry of new red hats: The Vatican has not officially announced plans for a consistory, but rumors about the appointment of new cardinals have circulated […]

Bruce Almighty: Springsteen’s spirituality

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you’re looking for some potent spiritual writing, look no further than the lyrics of…Bruce Springsteen. Really. Some months back, during Lent, I prepared a Good Friday reflection on the Seven Last Words of Christ that quoted from Springsteen’s “The […]

Sing of Mary, in Missouri

posted by deacon greg kandra

On Wednesday of this week, Mary will be the focus, as the Church celebrates one of the great mysteries of our faith, The Feast of the Assumption. But celebrations of the Blessed Mother are already underway in the midwest, with […]

Church says it can’t fire teacher in “civil partnership”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several days ago, I posted an item here about a Catholic school teacher in Iowa who lost his job because he wasn’t living according to Church teachings. Now, from across the pond, we have a story about another Catholic school […]

Birmingham’s next bishop?

posted by deacon greg kandra

No, it’s not Mother Angelica — though, to many, she is the unofficial religious leader for the region (if not the world.) But we have a few hints today, courtesy the fellow behind this stellar blog. Rocco Palmo has been […]

Fractured communion: “It’s like two different religions”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Out in California, where Mel Gibson and Roger Mahony manage somehow to breathe the same air, a paper has done a profile of a “breakaway” Catholic parish that has tripled in size over the last 20 years. The members are […]

Vaya con Dios

posted by deacon greg kandra

This morning’s Dallas Morning News has an informative Q&A about Hispanics and religion, with Dr. David Maldonado Jr., director of the Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. He echoes a lot […]

Homily for August 12, 2007: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

You can collect almost anything these days. The Franklin Mint is making a mint selling everything from replicas of antique cars to porcelain scenes from “Gone With the Wind.” When I was growing up, the mother of my best friend […]

A saint for television

posted by deacon greg kandra

For reasons both miraculous and mysterious, St. Clare is the official patroness of television. (It’s said that she could sometimes see mass being celebrated, in a vision, as if projected on her wall. The first wide-screen HDTV??) But she may […]

Crossing the Tiber

posted by deacon greg kandra

This morning, I stumbled across this good piece from a Tyler, Texas newspaper, about the conversion phenomenon commonly known as “Crossing the Tiber” — when Protestants become Catholic. With some prominent Americans — including a presidential candidate — among those […]

“The way he accessorizes is infallible”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

My favorite Catholic comedian and close personal friend Stephen Colbert offered up this tip of the hat to our Holy Father last night, for making Esquire’s best-dressed list. It’s Friday. Kick back and enjoy.

Seminarians take the midnight train to Georgia

posted by deacon greg kandra

Below the Mason-Dixon Line, they like to say that the South will rise again — and, sure enough, it’s happening. At least, when it comes to vocations. Atlanta — land of the free and home of the Braves, not to […]

Headline of the week

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“I Know What I Did Was Wrong,” Says Priest Who Jogged Naked

“I was born Jewish…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

They buried France’s beloved Cardinal Lustiger today, and Rocco has the scoop on the funeral. France’s president was there, and the former First Lady Bernadette Chirac, and Lech Walesa, among others. His piece concludes with this haunting quote, from the […]

What we believe: Hoge’s “American Catholics Today”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A new study is out on the American Catholic Church — or, more specifically, Catholics who are American — and Andrew Greeley has donned his sociologist cap to ruminate on it in the current issue of America. The study is […]

But will it bring me the blessing of better mileage?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some of us can remember the controversy that ensued when the Church removed St. Christopher from the calendar many years ago — more or less saying “We’re not sure if he existed, so we’re not calling him a saint anymore.” […]

Picturing St. Lawrence, Deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

My brother deacon and classmate, Deacon Tony, has a great post up about one of the patrons of deacons, St. Lawrence. Check it out and then ponder the portrait below, one of my favorite images of this remarkable saint: The […]

All are welcome: bringing back inactive Catholics

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you want a glimpse at what the New Evangelization might mean, take a gander at this intriguing piece from a Catholic newspaper in Texas. The advice it contains seems both practical and prayerful — and sounds like plain old […]

Kaddish and psalms for Cardinal Lustiger

posted by deacon greg kandra

The funeral for Cardinal Lustiger tomorrow will reportedly be rife with symbolism and rich with meaning — as befits a man who survived the Holocaust and went on to become a leading figure in the Catholic Church: Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, […]

Tony Snow: “We can let love change everything”

posted by deacon greg kandra

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was profiled the other night on — ahem — some TV network. He spoke movingly about his battle with cancer. But it turns out he also wrote about it a few weeks ago, in […]

Signs of the times

posted by deacon greg kandra

Catholics don’t “do” church signs very much — it’s pretty much a Protestant phenomenon. But now someone has collected a few of the more memorable (and photogenic) ones in a book, The Great American Book of Church Signs. The good […]

Nunsense

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Deacon Tony’s, the good deacon has some interesting thoughts on nuns. He writes about the recent gathering of religious sisters in Kansas City, where one member noted: “We have tired of the condescension and we have opted for […]

Bulletin announcements I’d like to see

posted by deacon greg kandra

How is the etiquette at your church? Over at Happy Catholic, Julie has posted a wry list of do’s and don’ts from her parish. That list reminds me of a column I once did for my parish bulletin. I reprint […]

Words to a new deacon: “God gives us special graces with Holy Orders”

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the joys of running a little blog like this is hearing from other people around the country, or even around the world. The other day I got this wise and supportive e-mail from a man who’s been a […]

Faith in the media

posted by deacon greg kandra

Rod Dreher at Beliefnet is offering a little sage wisdom from Robert Novak, along with some ideas of his own about religion and journalism: It is hard to convey how unfriendly, even at times hostile, American newsrooms are to conservatives, […]

Rudy’s faith: “I prefer to leave that to the priests”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Rudy Giuliani was in Iowa this week, pressing the flesh and kissing babies, and at one point was asked about his faith: Addressing a town-hall meeting in Iowa, the former New York mayor was asked whether he considered himself a […]

Pope becomes Catholic. Really.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, this is certainly different: an Episcopal bishop who left his faith, became Catholic, had second thoughts, went back to the Episcopalians…and is now announcing his return to the Catholic Church: Former Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth Bishop Clarence Pope […]

Catholic teacher loses job for failing to get an annullment

posted by deacon greg kandra

My father, rest his soul, used to say about being Catholic: “Greg, if you want to be in the club, you have to follow the rules.” That more or less sums up what has just transpired in the Archdiocese of […]

Picture of the week

posted by deacon greg kandra

Can you feel the love? I know I can.

Losing their religion

posted by deacon greg kandra

While Catholics bemoan the state of church attendance in our own faith, here’s some grim news about other Christian denominations: Protestant churches are losing young adults in “sobering” numbers, a survey finds. Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 […]

A truly inspired ad for vocations

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Roman Catholic Vocations and Brad Watkins:

The cardinal who prayed kaddish for his mother

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Israel comes this touching tribute to France’s Cardinal Lustiger, who converted from Judaism as a teenager: One day Rabbi Rene-Samuel Sirat was invited to attend a lecture on the Holocaust, held in the amphitheater of the Sorbonne University in […]

Can you feel the love?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Thanks to Diane at The Word: Catholic Colbert, for this little snip of Stephen Colbert chatting with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend the other night. They talk about faith, politics, the Our Father and, of course, love. (Speaking of love: Your Humble […]

A vocation website with something for everyone…almost

posted by deacon greg kandra

A pal sent this my way, and it’s too good not to share: a wonderful blog devoted to vocations, run by a fellow named Brad Watkins (seen on the left with an older priest who may be familiar to you…). […]

Lest we forget: 62 years ago today

posted by deacon greg kandra

Jim Wallis over at Beliefnet posted this haunting poem, from a Catholic poet named Mitsuyoshi Toge, who survived the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima: How could I ever forget that flash of light! In a moment, thirty […]

The “open book” will be closing

posted by deacon greg kandra

Amy “Open Book” Welborn has launched a brand spanking new blog called, simply, “Amy Welborn”. If you want to know why, here’s part of her explanation: Because it takes a lot of time and energy that you just can’t see. […]

Serving up vocations

posted by deacon greg kandra

For nine days, leading up to the feast of St. John Vianney, August 4, my parish prayed a novena for vocations to the priesthood. Then, on August 4, at the 5 p.m. vigil mass, we had a special mass to […]

A pope who transfigured the Church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pope Benedict used his Angelus address yesterday to remember one of his predecessors — a man who, arguably, redefined the Church for modern times, Pope Paul VI. He has been both revered (for Humanae Vitae) and reviled (for the Novus […]

“Preaching in high definition”

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you haven’t heard of Tom Allen, chances are you have heard of his work. He’s the mastermind and editor-in-chief of the Catholic Exchange, a leading Catholic web portal, and something of a mini-mogul in the world of Catholic media. […]

Solanus Casey, miracle worker?

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of my favorite people in the category of Not-Yet-Officially-A-Saint is Solanus Casey (others on my list would include Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero and Charles de Foucauld). Fr. Casey was a simple Capuchin friar from Detroit and New York City […]

A new tool for vocations: “Did you get your IM from God?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Can the very tools you’re using right now help create vocations? Some are betting on it. More and more Catholic orders are using the internet and computers as recruiting tools, hoping that a mouse and a keyboard can help launch […]

France’s Jewish-born Cardinal Lustiger dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some sad news out of France: the country’s leading cardinal, and a man once mentioned as a possible successor to Pope John Paul, has died: Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, the retired Roman Catholic archbishop of Paris, died in the French capital […]

A priest in Minneapolis: “Your first impression was something like disbelief”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Of the many stories that have come out of the rubble of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, this one is one of the more inspiring: Father Bryan Lynch, associate pastor at St. Ambrose of Woodbury, a St. Paul suburb, was driving […]

Homily for August 5, 2007: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Back in the 1947 – 60 years ago — newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst bought an estate in Beverly Hills for the then-astounding sum of 120-thousand dollars. Hearst only lived there four years before he died. A variety of other […]

Catholics and Lutherans: common ground?

posted by deacon greg kandra

At a time when some Protestants are not all that thrilled with the letter from Pope Benedict asserting Catholic primacy, some Catholics and Lutherans are trying to find some common ground: Milwaukee’s Catholic auxiliary bishop is about to find himself […]

On Christian kitsch

posted by deacon greg kandra

The always-interesting Rod Dreher has a good chin-scratcher of a post today, about the relative value of Christian kitsch. He describes, in excrutiating detail, a honeymoon pilgrimage he and his bride made to Fatima: A more gaudy, vulgar display of […]

St. Thomas More Society to womanpriest: “Nevermind”

posted by deacon greg kandra

After causing all sorts of hand-wringing and teeth-grinding over inviting an “womanpriest” to speak, the St. Thomas More Society of San Diego has had second thoughts: Just days before her scheduled appearance before the St. Thomas More Society of San […]

St. Oscar? The mystery of Romero

posted by deacon greg kandra

More than few people I know have wondered: “Why haven’t they made Oscar Romero a saint?” This article attempts to answer that question, and finds some interesting theories: Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, the outspoken church leader who was […]

The pride of Baltimore

posted by deacon greg kandra

Baltimore’s beautifully restored basilica seems to have a sparked another kind of restoration: Catholic curiosity. According to Whispers in the Loggia, visitors have been flooding the place — and not just Catholic visitors, either: Yesterday, the cardinal — the Premier […]

Can’t I just re-boot?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A Friday treat from that Happy Catholic, Julie: here’s a priceless clip that reveals the first ever IT support call.

There goes the throne

posted by deacon greg kandra

According to the British press, one of Queen Elizabeth’s grandsons has made the unfortunate mistake of falling in love with a Catholic: Peter Phillips, the Queen’s eldest grandson, may have to give up his place in the line of succession […]

Twin Cities tragedy: “Something like this shatters us”

posted by deacon greg kandra

As you can imagine, the faithful of Minneapolis and St. Paul have been devastated by yesterday’s tragic bridge collapse. And the Church is responding: Upon hearing of the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, […]

“You should leave the world with people around you”

posted by deacon greg kandra

At an age when a lot of young people are spending their free time dating, drinking or hanging out with friends, here’s a kid from Kentucky who’s hanging out with a much more quiet crowd. Very very quiet: Cory Kress, […]

Holy Land prayers, only a click away

posted by deacon greg kandra

Now for something completely different: with a new internet web site,someone will offer prayers for you, in the Holy Land, via computer. Dressed in his embroidered robes, the Rev. Andreas Elime steps from the altar of St. Gabriel’s Church and […]

A day in the life of a priest in Iraq: “Your sins are forgiven, go in peace!”

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you ever wondered what it was like to try and save souls in the hell that is Iraq, Catholic Exchange has just posted this diary by Father John Gayton: As we approached our next Operational Position (OP) we were […]

Extreme Makeover: Catholic Edition

posted by deacon greg kandra

Ty Pennington would be impressed. A parish in the Diocese of Gary, Indiana has decided to pick up where the foster father of Jesus left off, with an unusual new ministry called the St. Joseph Carpenter Ministry: While little is […]

A Catholic who became Pentecostal: “Here, I’ve changed”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s a phenomenon a lot of religious observers have noticed: more and more Latinos are converting from Catholicism to Evangelical Protestantism. And one Pennsylvania community is seeing an influx of Hispanics who are former Catholics: As Pentecostal churches offering Spanish […]

Triumph of the Cross, and a triumph of good taste

posted by deacon greg kandra

A new cathedral is about to built in Steubenville, Ohio, and it looks lovely. Small, as cathedrals go, but modest in scale and fairly traditional in design. The local paper has the scoop: The Catholic Diocese of Steubenville got the […]

Our pious pols

posted by deacon greg kandra

If anyone doubted that religion was going to play a big role in the 2008 presidential race, those doubts have been dispelled. More than ever, it seems, candidates from all sides of the political spectrum are talking about faith. And […]

It’s a wonderful life

posted by deacon greg kandra

My cyber-pal The Anchoress sent this astonishing obit my way and said “I’m convinced it’s the prayer and home grown food.” Whatever it is, it gave this 106-year-old monk a wonderful life: Father Angelo, always in the company of the […]

“Recovering Catholic”?

posted by deacon greg kandra

It seems some forms of prejudice die hard. Like anti-Catholicism: Republican presidential hopeful Sam Brownback said rival Mike Huckabee should apologize for a supporter’s “prejudiced whisper campaign” against him for being Catholic. Huckabee issued a statement Tuesday night that didn’t […]

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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