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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

The businessman and the nun

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is one of my favorite stories from the writings of Thomas Merton. In The Waters of Siloe, he tells the true story of a businessman checking into a hotel in Paris in the days following World War II and, […]

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The “long, painful journey” of Rosa DeLauro

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s rare to find serious discussion of religion and public life in the mainstream media — particularly when the religion involved is Catholic. So it was all the more surprising to stumble across this lengthy profile of a Catholic congresswoman […]

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Here’s one saint you probably won’t find on a car dashboard

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Catholic Church doesn’t lack for saints — both those named and unnamed. We wear medals, collect holy cards, light candles, pray chaplets and adorn our mantles with statues and icons, pictures and prayers. But it seems there’s one Latino […]

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Homily for September 30, 2007: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

One afternoon a few years ago, my wife went to confession down at St. Francis of Assisi, on 32nd St., in Manhattan. It’s one of the few places in the city that has confession all day, every day – in […]

From Russia, with blog

posted by deacon greg kandra

Cardinal Sean O’Malley is continuing his little travel-blog of his pilgrimage to Rome, Turkey and Russia. He’s seeing everything, and the pictures — as you can tell below — really capture the wonder of his journey. Visit the good cardinal’s […]

Zubik: “I dare you to be excited about our faith”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pittsburgh got her new bishop yesterday, and the local paper has the scoop: In an address infused with humor, gratitude and Scripture, Pittsburgh’s new Roman Catholic bishop spurred members of his flock to “get excited” about living and sharing their […]

Randy Pausch update: more interviews

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The interview with Randy Pausch that I mentioned on Thursday appeared on the CBS Evenng News with Katie Couric Friday night. It features a visit to his childhood home and a chat with his mom, too. You can watch it […]

“Stop killing monks”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The words on this sign, from a protest in Bangkok in support of the people of Myanmar, say it all. The prayer below, composed by an American with great affection and respect for Buddhist monks, was written while he was […]

Rudy on religion

posted by deacon greg kandra

Rudy Giuliani opened up Friday about religion, the Bible, adultery and casting the first stone. According to one wire report: Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani compared the scrutiny of his personal life marked by three marriages to the biblical story […]

Headline of the week

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Blessed Trinity Extends Winning Streak”

“God’s house band”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s what someone over at Beliefnet called this rare gem of a U2 video. I won’t disagree. A shout-out to David Kuo, who posted it there the other day. Whatever you call it, it’s a spectacular piece of video art. […]

“To let all speak, and to fear no one”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The nimble pen of Peggy Noonan today addresses one of the more incendiary stories of the last few days: free speech and, in particular, the especially repugnant speech of the President of Iran. Here, in part, is what she had […]

“Indiscriminate love is how God loves us”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of one of the most popular and enthusiastically embraced papal encyclicals in the modern era, an American bishop is continuing to spread the news that – in effect – all you need is love. This time, […]

To Plan B or not Plan B, that is the question

posted by deacon greg kandra

And now Connecticut’s bishops have an answer — and one that will undoubtedly have jaws dropping all over the place. They’ve given approval for Catholic hospitals to dispense a drug that prevents pregnancy in cases of rape. From the AP: […]

The world responds to the “lecture of a lifetime”

posted by deacon greg kandra

You may remember Randy Pausch’s incredible “last lecture” that I posted last week. His story was subsequently picked up by Good Morning America and other news outlets. I preached about his message last Sunday in my homily, and later mentioned […]

In my father’s house are many dwelling places…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…but one of them won’t be this little place on the left. The soon-to-be bishop of Pittsburgh is continuing an episcopal trend begun in Boston and, as announced in this press report, is forgoing the lavish lodgings of his predecessors: […]

Verizon rejects pro-abortion text messages

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, who’d have thought? One of America’s leading communications companies has turned its back on a powerful abortion rights group over what it describes as “controversial or unsavory” content. From the New York Times: Saying it had the right to […]

God and Hillary

posted by deacon greg kandra

Former Bush speechwriter, and now Washington Post columnist, Michael Gerson has some thoughts this week on the person who has been called “the most religious Democrat since Jimmy Carter.” That would be Hillary Clinton. Consider this: During a question-and-answer session […]

“The demands of holiness apply to every one of us. No exceptions.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Words for the day: We hear people all the time saying they’re upset with “the Church.” Or that “the Church” has let them down. Or that “the Church” has distorted Christ’s message and needs to be reformed. I agree with […]

In case anybody missed it …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…the good people at Commonweal have linked to the Parade profile of My Close Personal Friend Stephen Colbert. Take and read.

The “feminine genius” running things in Rome

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some might be surprised to learn that one of the highest ranking men in the curia…is a woman. They might be even more surprised to learn that Pope Benedict has affirmed that, and seems intent on doing more of the […]

See you at Spago, Deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something that’s so unusual and rare, well, it’s just, just…incredibly cool: a deacon who’s a novelist, and who just had his book made into a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt. Ron Hansen has been published a lot in […]

Episcopal Church will “exercise restraint” on gay bishops

posted by deacon greg kandra

After months of increased tension, and weeks of internal debate, the Episcopal Church has cleared its throat and made a statement regarding gay ordinations and marriages: Episcopal leaders, who are struggling to hold together their increasingly divided church and maintain […]

“I felt the call and just knew I had to do this”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of Newsweek’s controversial interview with Jessica Rowley, the San Jose Mercury News has another curious article, about a woman celebrating her wedding anniversary by celebrating a special mass: Like many devout Catholics, Juanita and Don Cordero […]

Bad homilies=”Christianity Lite”

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s wrong with homilies today? Elizabeth Tenety, who contributes to the Washington Post’s provocative and always-interesting On Faith section, sums it up for her generation with this entry, which blames it all on “Christianity Lite.” Take a look: Advocates of […]

A monastery in Oklahoma? OK!

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s not everyday that you read about a new monastery being built, from scratch, in the United States. But that’s exactly what’s happening with a hardy and devout group of Benedictines in Oklahoma: Benedictine monks will transform 75 large oak […]

“This is a mighty, mighty awesome group of priests”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pittsburgh’s new bishop-designate is getting to know his priests — and they are all aware that, like so many dioceses around the country, they have a lot of challenges ahead of them. Most urgently, the shortage of priests. The local […]

Catholic and cohabitating

posted by deacon greg kandra

How should the Catholic Church deal with couples who are living together and want to get married in the Church? Tough question. As recently as a generation ago, those cases were the exception. Now, they’re the rule. And a conference […]

And remember to leave room for dessert

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can’t believe it took an academic study to figure it out, but here it is: eating together as a family makes for healthier, happier kids. Read on: Social scientists at New York’s Columbia University have discovered certain phrases that […]

Reclaiming fatherhood: men and abortion

posted by deacon greg kandra

With all the attention that the Church focuses on abortion and its aftermath, here is one group often overlooked: the fathers. A California conference later this fall will seek to change that, according to this item from the Catholic News […]

Cardinal Egan to media: “Grow up”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Cardinal Archbishop of New York was not in a mood to banter with reporters yesterday morning: Edward Cardinal Egan bypassed protesters yesterday and curtly dismissed questions about a shuttered East Harlem church – telling reporters to “grow up.” “You […]

A pause for poetry

posted by deacon greg kandra

A friend just e-mailed me a short note about autumn, and I realized that yesterday, the 23rd, was the first day of fall. A little Emily Dickinson seems in order: The morns are meeker than they were,The nuts are getting […]

A Marian apparition debunked

posted by deacon greg kandra

A woman who says she’s been having visions of the Blessed Mother has been told, in effect, “Uh, no, you’re not”: The Vatican has dismissed the claims of a woman in England who says Mary has visited her outside her […]

A flood of vocations from one parish in Michigan

posted by deacon greg kandra

This story has been floating around for a bit — the National Catholic Register published it back in July — but it’s getting a second life in the blogosphere, earning a mention here and here. It’s truly astounding: Occasionally, one […]

America, September 2007

posted by deacon greg kandra

A hat tip to Rod Dreher at Beliefnet for bringing the picture below to my attention: The shot comes from this flickr album, belonging to cjdavis, whoever that may be. It was taken at the Detroit airport four days ago.

“If your family is in trouble, you step up to the plate”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest friend of mine likes to say “There are really two Catholic Churches. The Church of the hierarchy. And the Church of the people.” It’s the former, I think, that causes the most problems for the latter. Now, in […]

A Father to twins: one pastor, two parishes, lots of driving

posted by deacon greg kandra

At one time it would have been unthinkable. But now it’s a reality for more and more priests: they are serving as pastors for two parishes. In Los Angeles, it’s known as “twinning,” and the local paper, The Tidings, takes […]

Another Episcopal bishop decides to convert

posted by deacon greg kandra

For the third time this year, an Episcopal bishop is leaving his flock to join the Catholic Church. The following comes from The Living Church Foundation, which serves the Episcopalian church: The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, Bishop of the […]

Homily for September 23, 2007: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

At Carnegie Mellon University, near Pittsburgh, they have a tradition of inviting professors to give what’s sometimes called “The Last Lecture.” Teachers are asked to think about what matters to them, and sum up their philosophy, as if it’s the […]

When in Rome…

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Blogging Eminence, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, is on the road again, with Catholic and Orthodox pilgrims, visiting Rome and Constantinople. His lovely little blog has the first installment of the trip, and it’s something to see. Week after week, […]

Will God have to swear on a Bible?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Now this case is getting interesting. Earlier in the week, a man filed a suit against God. Now God has lawyered up: Eric Perkins, an attorney in Corpus Christi, Texas, said Friday he filed a response to the lawsuit from […]

“The American Church lost sight of its men”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Has the Catholic Church gone soft? That seems to be the argument in this column from The Pilot, the Catholic paper for the Archdiocese of Boston. The piece was written by Kevin and Marilyn Ryan, editors of “Why I Am […]

In the fields of the Lord

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s getting to be harvest time, and some priests and deacons are rolling up their sleeves and bestowing a blessing or two on God’s land: The arches above the altar were not marble or painted wood, but rather the branches […]

What happens in Vegas…

posted by deacon greg kandra

A bizarre story of priestly criminality crossed the wires this afternoon from, of all places, Las Vegas: A Roman Catholic priest who smashed a wine bottle over the head of a woman in church pleaded guilty to felony battery with […]

Seminarians: “Just regular guys God called to serve”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Good news out of Nebraska: an especially big batch of seminarians is starting formation this fall — one of the largest classes, in fact, in the United States: The 23 newcomers attending St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward this […]

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

posted by deacon greg kandra

Been to confession lately? Seems more and more people can answer “Yes” to that question. And the sacrament of reconciliation is enjoying so much of a resurgence, even the Wall Street Journal is taking note: Sin never goes out of […]

Wanna be a deacon? Pull up a chair.

posted by deacon greg kandra

More dioceses are helping men to discern a vocation to the diaconate, often with “nights of information” or Q&A sessions where those who feel called can hear speakers, listen and learn. It’s also a great opportunity for wives and families […]

Welcome to a bouncing new blog by a deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

I received an e-mail earlier today from my brother deacon Eric Stoltz, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, alerting me to a new project he’s launched, with photographer Francesco Cura, called “Cathedrals of California.” As he described it: We’re setting […]

Taking it to the streets

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s an old Shakespearean axiom that revenge begets revenge. That’s as true today as it was 500 years ago. And the parishioners at one Chicago parish have decided to do something about it: Violence can happen anywhere. But when Israel […]

The lecture of a lifetime

posted by deacon greg kandra

An e-mailer passed along this beautiful and inspiring story with just one word: Wow. I can’t put it any better than that. Read on: Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, was about to give a lecture Tuesday afternoon, […]

Making a joyful noise? Or something else?

posted by deacon greg kandra

For as long as I can remember, the Church has told us that the one who sings “prays twice.” But is it any good? That’s what the National Association of Pastoral Musicians would like to know: The National Association of […]

Tarnished silver

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can remember when my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary — I was a pimply and obnoxious 15-year-old at the time — and I’m a little awed to realize I’ll be celebrating my own silver anniversary in just another […]

Stephen Colbert: “If you’re laughing, I defy you to be afraid”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The hard-working team of blogging professionals over at The Word, Catholic Colbert, have directed my attention to this terrific piece on My Close Personal Friend Stephen Colbert, from Parade. Among the highlights: Colbert was the youngest of 11 children growing […]

Can a pro-choice president end abortion?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The provocative answer to that question, from Elizabeth Scalia at InsideCatholic (the online offshoot of Crisis) is: yes. Her take: President George W. Bush is perhaps the most pro-life president we have ever seen, and even when his party held […]

“When the moon hits your eye…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Like a big pizza pie, that’s amore… And if Dean Martin singing, while you munch a cannoli on the streets of Little Italy, is your idea of the San Gennaro Festival, Deacon Tony is setting the record straight about where […]

Let there be “Light”

posted by deacon greg kandra

How time flies. It was five years ago next month that Pope John Paul added the Luminous Mysteries, or Mysteries of Light, to one of the Church’s most enduring devotions, the rosary. And Our Sunday Visitor has taken note of […]

D’oh!

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from a deacon candidate, directing me to a website he’s set up all about the diaconate. I promised him that I’d post on it. But then, life being what it is, I […]

Tony, Tony, look around…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Tony Blair continues to stand on the shore, gazing at the water and casually testing the water with his toe. But is he finally ready to dive in and swim the Tiber? Rocco over at Whispers points us to this […]

A New York City Catholic school with just two students

posted by deacon greg kandra

This news comes right from my own backyard, New York City, where the Archdiocese is running one Catholic school in Greenwich Village with a surprising number of students. Two. From WCBS-TV: When school is dismissed at the end of the […]

Jailed nun: “Being imprisoned was a special gift from God”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Pennsylvania nun who spent time in a federal prison learned a lot from the experience — including, she says, what it is like to live in a “state of uncertainty.” This, from the Catholic Exponent, in nearby Youngstown, Ohio: […]

Is “Do Unto Others” part of our DNA?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s an interesting take on morality from, of all places, the New York Times. It’s weekly Science Times section today looks at whether or not we are hard-wired to be good. Is doing unto others part of our evolution? Read […]

Netherlands Dominicans in dutch with their superiors

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, I’m sure some people in the Netherlands thought it sounded like a good idea at the time. But, not surprisingly, the Dominicans who run their order disagreed and decided — as the Church teaches — that only validly ordained […]

My favorite Pope John Paul moment. Ever.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Rocco over at Whispers in the Loggia has taken the trouble to remind us that this marks the 20-year anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s monumental and memorable trip to the United States, an 11-day visit that left an indelible […]

A land dispute to sink your teeth into

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s not exactly the Hatfields and McCoys, but a similar long-standing feud is heating up between Catholics and Orthodox in, of all places, Transylvania: When Dumitru Butuza’s wife died earlier this year, the Transylvanian farmer went to his village priest […]

Pope’s last words were ” an act of very high prayer”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A doctor who treated the ailing Pope John Paul in his final days has put to rest a recurring rumor about the pontiff’s treatment: Doctors assisting Pope John Paul II in his final days never suspended medical treatment and the […]

Oh, the places you’ll go: a Catholic volunteer who blogs from Latin America

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to drop everything and leave the world you know to live as a volunteer in Latin America for two years? Patrick Furlong is eager to let you know, and his blog, Oh The Places You’ll Go, is […]

Singer Danielle Rose becomes a “Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s always heartening to hear of someone entering religious life. But this news is especially interesting, concerning as it does a young woman who had achieved considerable success in the field of Catholic music. The following is the release put […]

Divorced and Catholic: a ministry to help the healing

posted by deacon greg kandra

Divorced Catholics face unique challenges — and often stigmas — coping with their new status. And the Catholic Review in Baltimore just published news about a remarkable ministry that has been there to help them over the hurdles: When Claire […]

Now available: John Paul II relics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Looking for a unique Christmas gift? Or perhaps just a meaningful memento for yourself or someone you love? Zenit reports the following: People who want to receive a relic “ex indumentis” — from the clothing — or a holy card […]

Keyes jumps in

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pro-life voters now have another choice for president — and a Catholic, at that. But, given his track record, on a hunch, I’d say his chances are slim-to-none. It’s Alan Keyes: Alan Keyes, a Marylander who ran unsuccessfully for the […]

Cardinal Sean, hanging with deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of my favorite bloggers (and favorite prelates) is Cardinal Sean O’Malley up in Boston. Every Friday, he updates his self-titled blog, detailing all his comings and goings around Beantown. This week’s post was notable for the prominent mention of […]

Not everyone is singing aves for Ave Maria

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, the shiny new Catholic town of Ave Maria in Florida is up and running, and the university bearing its name is also open for business. But according to local reports, not everybody is thrilled with any of this: The […]

Homily for September 15-16, 2007: Our Lady Queen of Martyrs

posted by deacon greg kandra

This weekend, my parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, is celebrating its feast day, as it does every year, on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the parish, and the 80th year […]

Hang on a sec, God is on the other line…

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s nothing quite like a good vocation story. Sometimes, when you least expect it, your spiritual cell phone rings and you’re astonished to find that God is on the line. He can call when you least expect it. Case in […]

Wanted: Hispanic priests

posted by deacon greg kandra

In another sign of the Church’s growing Hispanic population in the United States, more and more dioceses are looking for vocations south of the border. The AP reports: They’re in a new country, working a new job and living a […]

Good art and bad theology? Or vice versa?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The picture below was posted at David Kuo’s Beliefnet blog, J-Walking. Overlooking its artistic merits (or lack thereof), I was curious to see what others thought. I can appreciate the point it makes, but I have misgivings about the theology […]

Googling God

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few weeks ago, I attended a Theology on Tap by Mike Hayes, of the Paulist online magazine Busted Halo, where he offered a preview of his upcoming book, Googling God, all about Generation X and faith. I’d been raving […]

Why I love having a blog

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s because I get to post stuff like this. I was delighted to learn that My Close Personal Friend Stephen Colbert had a chat last night on his show with another friend of mine, Fr. James Martin. The interview, about […]

When that other person running the parish isn’t a priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something relatively new that I suspect we’ll be hearing about more and more: men and women who are not priests who are assigned to work as pastoral associates at a parish. The Tidings in Los Angeles more: “God is […]

Jane Wyman: buried in a habit

posted by deacon greg kandra

News reports of Jane Wyman’s funeral have mentioned her devout Cathoicism — and a detail that may surprise some people: she was buried in a habit. This, from a local TV station: Adopted son Michael Reagan attended the service with […]

Kathy Mattea: “When I am the most vulnerable, I am the most teachable”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This piece ran nearly a month ago on a little blog run by Tony Rossi, The Intersection, but it’s too good to pass up. It’s a compelling and actually inspiring interview with singer-songwriter Kathy Mattea, who talks about her Catholic […]

“You are my light”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The always-reliable and alert Amy Welborn, over at Charlotte Was Both, has reminded us that today is the feast of St. John Chrysostom — his last name meaning “golden mouth,” celebrated for his gift for preaching. She quotes from today’s […]

Woman looks forward to being “first pregnant Catholic priest”

posted by deacon greg kandra

In what it bills as a “Web Exclusive,” Newsweek has just posted an interview with a 25-year-old woman named Jessica Rowley, who last week was “ordained” a priest in Missouri. At one point, she emphasizes that she did all the […]

From Bush to Bono

posted by deacon greg kandra

The other day, I posted the item from the Washington Post about the implicit (or even explicit) Catholicism of rock and roll. Now, as kind of a sideways addendum, there’s this interesting piece of news about one of the people […]

A married Episcopalian priest converts — and so does his flock

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something exciting: an Episcopalian priest converts to Catholicism — and brings a big part of his flock with him. Oh, and he’s married with kids, too: For the Rev. Eric L. Bergman, the duties of a Roman Catholic priest […]

Headline of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Offers Of Help Overwhelm Santa Barbara Nuns

Jane Wyman, Catholic

posted by deacon greg kandra

A lot of us who remember her most vividly from the Reagan-era soap opera Falcon Crest didn’t know that the first Mrs. Reagan, Jane Wyman, was Catholic. Now we do, thanks to some recent obituaries: Oscar-winning actress Jane Wyman, once […]

Who knew? Homily hints from the rabbis

posted by deacon greg kandra

Priests and deacons who feel the pressure of preaching weekly (or sometimes more often) may be interested in seeing what our Jewish counterparts have to go through during the high holy days. In a word: oy. The Philadelphia Inquirer today […]

The old L.A. cathedral gets a new lease on life — and a new top

posted by deacon greg kandra

You may have been wondering (as I have) whatever became of the old Los Angeles Cathedral, St. Vibiana’s? I had heard mutterings that it was being restored, but didn’t know much more, so I googled and, behold, up popped this […]

One high school, eight deaths: how faith helps kids cope

posted by deacon greg kandra

It is difficult enough for teenagers to cope with death. But the teens at one high school in New York have faced death eight times in the past few months — and found solace and support in religion: In the […]

Cardinal: no more Fatima secrets. Really.

posted by deacon greg kandra

There are people who who are convinced Elvis is alive, George Bush planned 9/11 and the moon landing was filmed on a Hollywood soundstage. And then there are those who believe the Church is hiding some dark secret about the […]

“Into the Fire” by Bruce Springsteen

posted by deacon greg kandra

The sky was falling and streaked with bloodI heard you calling me then you disappeared into the dustUp the stairs, into the fireUp the stairs, into the fireI need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higherSomewhere up […]

“You can’t survive hate. You have to survive by doing something good.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader sent me this story, from the Morris County Daily Record in New Jersey, about how families are transforming the heartbreak of 9/11 into a force for healing: Matt Sellitto was driving home from Florida when he heard a […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the Pope’s General Audience on September 12, 2001

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Brothers and Sisters, in great dismay, before the horror of destructive violence, but strong in the faith that has always guided our fathers, we turn to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, salvation of his people, and with the […]

Sisters of Bethany: readers react

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I got a couple of e-mails earlier from readers who took issue with the story I posted from the Los Angeles Times, about the Sisters of Bethany being evicted to help the Archdiocese of Los Angeles pay its massive sex […]

And don’t forget to dig out any spare change from the sofa cushions

posted by deacon greg kandra

Every now and then I stumble across a story that just leaves me speechless. This is one of them, from the Los Angeles Times: For 43 years, Sister Angela Escalera has lived and often worked out of her order’s small […]

“And we call this liturgical color, ‘Kiwi'”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another creative choice in liturgical fashion, from Austria.

Out of Africa: “Our seminary is full”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s no secret the Church in Africa is cranking out vocations like crazy. The item below, from the Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), just underscores the point. The rector of Uganda’s seminary also offers some interesting […]

On this rock: from the Beatles to Benedict and beyond

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can think of a few people who might disagree, but writer Mark Judge, in the Washington Post, makes a compelling argument that rock and roll is a distinctly Catholic form of art: You don’t need to work at MTV […]

“Ooooh! What color! That looks like something I would wear!”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That was what my wife said when I showed her the picture below. Our snazzy pontiff continues to turn heads.

St. Gwen? An Ohio man works for his late wife’s canonization

posted by deacon greg kandra

A common complaint I hear from some lay Catholics is that most of the saints are priests, nuns or religious. What about ordinary people raising families and having jobs? Can’t they be saints, too? Well, look no further than this […]

Heading to class before walking down the aisle

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Church is always looking for ways to strengthen marriages — and, according to the Catholic News Service, one diocese is taking it very seriously, even before marriage begins: Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond has approved a new diocesanwide […]

To be or not to be: a married Episcopalian discerns

posted by deacon greg kandra

From time to time, you hear about married former Protestant ministers becoming Catholic priests. A couple months ago, I mentioned here some Lutherans who had made that leap. But this may be the first time I’ve read an article about […]

Homily for September 9, 2007: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was growing up, my parents had a big wooden console stereo in the living room. My father had a pretty extensive record collection – everything from the Firestone Christmas Records to the 101 Strings and the original cast […]

Music, and controversy, swirl around Pavarotti funeral

posted by deacon greg kandra

They gave the maestro a final sendoff today in his hometown of Modena, at a full Catholic funeral presided over by the bishop and celebrated in the city’s 1,000-year old cathedral. The AP has the details, including praise from the […]

Homily for September 8, 2007: Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is there anything better than September? This is wondrous time of year. The weather is perfect. The grass is lush. If you go to a Farmer’s Market, the fruits and vegetables are at their peak. This is the last gasp […]

The ultimate, perhaps definitive Mother Teresa post

posted by deacon greg kandra

And I’m not saying that just because she mentions me. No, The Anchoress, with her usual laser-beam insight, has summed up beautifully what it means to believe, and to doubt: For those who have given it all, have allowed themselves […]

San Diego settles

posted by deacon greg kandra

News broke earlier this afternoon that the Diocese of San Diego has reached a settlement in the claims of sexual abuse — and, not surprisingly, it’s huge: The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said Friday it has agreed to […]

Katie Couric and the language of Jesus

posted by deacon greg kandra

I suspect some viewers (including this one) never expected to hear Katie Couric reciting the Our Father on the CBS Evening News. But last night, that’s what happened, when the program (originating this week from Iraq and Syria) broadcast something […]

“We’re all in this together”: saving the world through YouTube

posted by deacon greg kandra

That ingratiating anthem of “High School Musical” serves as the backdrop for the video below, which was just written up in the Denver Catholic Register. The story was picked up by Catholic Online: Timothy Reidy is an average all-American college […]

Discover this: a priest blogs about science

posted by deacon greg kandra

A new blog has popped up in the ‘sphere — and it’s safe to say there’s nothing quite like it out there right now. It’s a blog about science, written by a Catholic priest, Fr. Michael K. Holleran. And he […]

Which presidential candidates aren’t very religious?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, here’s a hint: one is Catholic. According to a new survey, the American public views the nominal front-runners right now as the least religious candidates in the race: People view Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudy Giuliani as the least […]

“I know, there’s only one like you…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Ladies and gentlemen, the obligatory Pavarotti YouTube post. Here, a duet with Mr. Barry White! Yay!

A cathedral funeral planned for Pavarotti

posted by deacon greg kandra

While news of Luciano Pavarotti’s death has swept around the world, we’ve started getting a few details about his last hours — and the funeral plans: Hailed by many as the greatest tenor of his generation, Pavarotti passed away during […]

Meanwhile, back at the Island of Dr. Moreau…

posted by deacon greg kandra

The news out of London the other day was pretty shocking, and I’m surprised it didn’t get more play: Plans to allow British scientists to create human-animal embryos are expected to be approved tomorrow by the government’s fertility regulator. The […]

Is this really St. Francis’s robe?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some now aren’t so sure. Carbon dating is casting doubts on just how old this famous robe might be: Friars from two churches of the Franciscan order founded by the saint asked a laboratory specializing in dating artwork to examine […]

Nine years after a miracle, woman is angry at Mother Teresa’s nuns

posted by deacon greg kandra

The timing of this, I’m sure, isn’t coincidental, but news has trickled out from AFP about the woman who received the first miracle attributed to the intercession of Mother Teresa — and the news isn’t good: A woman whose claimed […]

Here come more deacons: 25 ordained in Joliet

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just when you thought ordination season was over…another crop of deacons has popped up. Welcome! This fresh batch of permanent deacons comes to us from the Diocese of Joliet, in Illinois. The Catholic Explorer has the write up: Twenty-five men […]

Well, I’m surprised it isn’t worse

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

71%How Addicted to Blogging Are You? Mingle2 – Dating Site Click the image above to take the quiz for yourself. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Defying the odds: one parish, five vocations

posted by deacon greg kandra

After crinkling my nose and rolling my eyes over the McGreevey story, I was heartened to come across this sunny bit of news from the Sunshine State — one parish that has produced five, yes five, vocations: Beth Burwell wrestled […]

Jim McGreevey, Episcopal seminarian

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the “Too Weird To Ignore File,” the latest on “Gay American” and former New Jersey governor (and one time Catholic altar boy) Jim McGreevey: Former Gov. James E. McGreevey has started the process to become a priest in his […]

Catholic works of Hart

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several days ago, a reader dropped me an e-mail about an upcoming art exhibit in Louisville, Kentucky. This looks like something truly special: an exhibit of the work of Frederick Hart, whose contributions to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the […]

“The appalling strangeness of the mercy of God”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Michael Gerson is a former Bush speechwriter responsible for some of the most elegant and eloquent words spoken after 9/11, including the still-potent speech the president delivered at the National Cathedral on 9/14. Gerson is now a columnist for the […]

“Grace finds beauty in everything”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This beautiful video sums up Mother Teresa better than anything else I’ve seen, and does it with just one word: grace. Music by U2.

The world remembers the saint of the gutters

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can still remember the shock from 10 years ago: just days after the death of another world icon, Princess Diana, the world lost a living saint. Mother Teresa, of course, is back in the news again, with the publication […]

Bless this house, oh Lord, we pray

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Hey,” I said to the couple sitting across from me in the rectory office, “you guys live in the building next to mine.” They had arrived a few minutes earlier to schedule their newborn’s baptism, and I was going over […]

Will she switch to decaf?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I love coffee. I consider it to be my one vice (or, at least, the one I’ll admit to.) So it was with fascination and a little awe that I read this item about a coffee shop owner who is […]

“What the … ?!”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Can’t you guys get anything right?” I hear that a lot from people who are unhappy with the way we in the mainstream media cover the Church. And it’s not just Catholicism the press gets wrong. It’s almost all religions […]

Mary, is that you?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lately, it seems the Mother of God is making more public appearances, in more unexpected places, than Angelina Jolie. So perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised at this item in a paper from Reading, Pennsylvania: They came — to an […]

A motivational poster for today

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to be a deacon’s wife?

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to be married to a member of the Catholic clergy? My wife, seen with Your Humble Blogger on the left (in the recessional at my Mass of Thanksgiving, after being a deacon’s wife for less than 24 […]

Catholic teacher who lost job over annullment speaks out

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last month, I posted the story of a Catholic school teacher who lost his job because he remarried without an annullment. That wasn’t the end of the story. According to the Des Moines Register, he’s fighting back: Tom and Molly […]

The business of being Catholic: a new website takes off

posted by deacon greg kandra

From California — where trends like to begin — comes word of a new website devoted to Catholic business professionals: the Catholic Business Journal. According to the California Daily Catholic: CBJ’s inaugural press release announced its ambitious August public launch, […]

Coming to America: foreign-born priests settle in

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’ve heard of student exchange programs, for high school and college students. Now comes word of a priest exchange program, being tried in Kentucky, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader: Record hot temperatures in recent weeks haven’t phased the Rev. Shijo […]

Homily for September 2, 2007: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Today’s scripture readings are about something we don’t hear mentioned very much. Humility. If you go to “Google” and type in the word “humility,” you’ll get about 8 million entries. But if you then go and type “fame,” you’ll get […]

Clicking on God

posted by deacon greg kandra

Increasingly, churches and universities are using 21st century technology to spread the first century gospel. The latest trend: online bible study. The Dallas Morning News reports: When Catherine Kuehler of Dallas moved to Australia this summer, she didn’t want to […]

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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