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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

October 2007 Archives

Homily for November 1, 2007: All Saints

posted by deacon greg kandra

Originally published in CONNECT! by Liturgical Publications, Inc..Shortly after he converted to Catholicism in the late 1930s, Thomas Merton was walking the streets of New York with his friend, Robert Lax. Lax was Jewish, and he asked Merton what he […]

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Praying for the geeks: a nun who blogs

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to have a 15th century job in the 21st century? This plugged-in nun knows — and San Francisco’s David Ian Miller decided to toss a few questions her way. His interview: Her cell phone has a custom […]

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Not everyone loved “Bella”

posted by deacon greg kandra

While so much of the Catholic press has been cooing over the new movie “Bella” — produced by a devout Catholic (and co-producer of Mel Gibson’s “Passion”) and carrying an explicit pro-life message — not everyone has been enraptured. Some […]

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Benedict on Beethoven

posted by deacon greg kandra

Our music-loving spiritual maestro, Pope Benedict, offered this weekend a few thoughts on that other maestro, Beethoven, particularly his venerable Ninth Symphony: After listening to a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony,” Pope Benedict XVI called the work a […]

Boston’s original red socks

posted by deacon greg kandra

Boston’s Blogging Eminence, who weekly sheds light on what it’s like being the Cardinal Archbishop of Beantown, posted the photo below to his blog, to indicate which team he was rooting for in the World Series (as if we didn’t […]

Has her career got a prayer?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Late-breaking news on the Britney Spears religion beat. Hours after I’d posted this important news about a Kentucky church that has taken up Britney as A Cause (and cause celebre?) this item crackled across the wire: Britney Spears is now […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon celebrates after the Red Sox won Game 4 4-3 to win the 2007 World Series in a four-game sweep of the Rockies. Photo: by Getty Images/Jamie Squire

Biggest beatification. Ever.

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was an event that mingled pomp and politics in a way that is rare for a ceremony that was billed as strictly spiritual. But it resulted in a beatification for the record books: The Vatican held the biggest mass […]

Deacons taking root and flourishing in Virginia

posted by deacon greg kandra

If anyone doesn’t know what deacons are — and, from experience, I can tell you that many don’t — here’s some help. A leading newspaper in southern Virginia, the Virginian-Pilot, has a surprisingly in-depth (and, for once, surprisingly accurate) article […]

But what about Lindsay Lohan?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Along with praying for peace, justice and loving your neighbor, a church in Kentucky now has another urgent cause to promote. I’m speaking, of course, of Britney Spears. From the AP: The congregation of Southland Christian Church is being asked […]

The bishops and the ’08 election

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another election year is coming, and you know what that means. Yes, that’s right: another document from America’s bishops. After the communion controversy of 2004, will we have another “wafer watch” in 2008? The New York Times’ Peter Steinfels ponders […]

“What can I do for you?”: reflections on the diaconate

posted by deacon greg kandra

I stumbled across this excellent reflection on deacons and it’s too good not to share. It’s by Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland, Oregon: “What can I do for you?” With those words Archbishop John Foley began his homily in St. […]

What God has joined: Catholic in faith, Anglican in marriage

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some curious news from north of the border, where Catholics are remaining Catholic, but choosing to be married in churches of another faith: Although they are still officially Roman Catholics, Alain Boisvert and Denise Hubert have decided to marry – […]

Homily for October 28, 2007: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s an old joke: New York will be a great city — if they ever finish it. The city is constantly being dug up and paved over. Buildings are being torn down and rebuilt– and the older ones are always […]

It’s almost like Christmas

posted by deacon greg kandra

Because, after far too long of a wait, this has arrived. It’s gotten some nice write-ups, and a jolly mini-rave from the New York Times. I’m picking up mine tonight. I can’t wait. Yes. I know. I’m pathetic.

How cardinals are hatched

posted by deacon greg kandra

Gallons and gallons of ink have been spilled over how and why the new batch of cardinals was selected. But CNS has one of the most sensible evaluations yet: The tributes to Cardinal-designate Daniel N. DiNardo have been effusive since […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Halloween costume available for young girls this year, available at this website.

Fr. Damien, priest to lepers, may soon be St. Damien

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the Church’s most celebrated missionaries may be closer to being officially declared a saint. A newspaper in Hawaii breaks the news: Father Damien DeVeuster, the Belgian priest who served Hansen’s disease patients at Kalaupapa, Molokai, and later died […]

Vocations video “Fishers of Men” honored for excellence

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some weeks back, I blogged about the stunning vocations video “Fishers of Men”. Now, it’s been honored with a Gabriel Award for communications excellence. You can watch the video below. Just click the ‘play’ button. The USCCB press release follows: […]

Ask the deacon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The following item appeared in my parish bulletin last weekend. It got a lot of reaction, so I thought I’d post it here. Enjoy. This weekend marks my five-month anniversary as an ordained member of the Catholic clergy. Time flies […]

A preacher’s preacher

posted by deacon greg kandra

Heard any good preaching lately? Priests in Florida evidently did — and the Florida Catholic has a profile of the man responsible: Talk about pressure. Imagine standing for an hour in front of more than 100 priests and talking about […]

Can we be Catholic? Please?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

More Anglicans may be headed our way. Following up on the report a few days back, a group from Ireland now wants to join the homecoming: Parishioners from three Church of Ireland parishes have joined traditional Anglicans from 12 other […]

Was Padre Pio a fraud?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few weeks ago, some people were running in circles with their hair on fire, saying Mother Teresa was an atheist and a fraud. Now, it seems, they’re doing the same thing about Padre Pio and his stigmata: John XXIII […]

From selling Tabasco to saving souls: the ad executive who became a priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Via Dolorosa is a long way from Madison Avenue. But this story from Georgia tells of an advertising executive who has just been ordained a priest, and is following the way of Christ, at the age most executives are […]

“It’s devastating to see”: mission church destroyed in California fire

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The news seems to be improving for Southern California — but for many families, and many communities, the damage is done. That includes an Indian reservation where a mission church was destroyed. From CNS: A Catholic church on an Indian […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Malibu, California. By Phil McCarten, Reuters.

Anti-abortion AND pro-choice?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A pal sent this my way, and I’m tossing it out for general perusal and discussion — particularly as it applies to a certain Catholic (or two) running for President. Can you be anti-abortion, but also pro-choice? See what Michael […]

Monks who play together, pray together

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some weeks back, I blogged about the new Benedictine monastery cropping up in Oklahoma. Now, Rod Dreher has gotten in on the act. He’s linked to this account of the monastery construction, which has some splendid pictures (including the one […]

Does he look like a priest to you?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The picture on the left is a self-portrait by a seminarian — who clearly has a talent for things besides praying. The unusual story of his artwork and his vocation comes to us courtesy of The Michigan Catholic: Craig Giera’s […]

California burning

posted by deacon greg kandra

The firestorm in California has displaced hundreds of thousands of people — and swept away homes, memories and lives. As it so often does, Catholic Charities is stepping in to help: While reports of the fires raging through Southern California […]

Catholic-Muslim dialogue: “Our common belief in one God of mercy”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A remarkable event took place in Michigan recently: an experiment at dialogue between Muslims and Catholics, which resulted in a promising — inspiring, even — document. The Detroit News has this report: Prayerful dialogue rarely attracts the attention conferred on […]

Faith of our (founding) fathers: America’s Christian roots

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is America a Christian nation? It is, if you agree with Dinesh D’Souza. He’s just published a book on the subject and has a column in USA TODAY addressing America’s religious roots: We seem to be witnessing an aggressive attempt […]

“If God chose me to be a bishop…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at Renew America, Matt Abbott has posted a provocative essay from a parish priest in Texas by the name of Fr. James Farfaglia. I’ll just re-post the first half, and you can jump to the link for the rest. […]

Winning the Catholic vote

posted by deacon greg kandra

With election season now in full swing — and just over a year until Decision Day 2008 — the “Catholic vote” has suddenly become a compelling issue. And the New York Sun has spoken to a few people who know […]

When Randy met Oprah

posted by deacon greg kandra

Randy Pausch, of the now-legendary “last lecture,” appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show Monday, and there are portions available online, at this link. For those just joining us for this remarkable story, you can catch up right here, where there’s world […]

“All of my life, I’ve been in hiding…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If anyone had told me a few years ago that someone would put out a music video from “The Passion of the Christ,” I would have said that was sick — and impossible. Having seen the video below, I have […]

The Holocaust’s other victims

posted by deacon greg kandra

A newspaper in Florida has a report on a group of Holocaust survivors seeking historical recognition — and many are not whom you’d expect. They are Polish Catholics, who were also sent to the camps: Michael Preisler’s arm still bears […]

Now hear this: tuning in to Catholic radio

posted by deacon greg kandra

Iowa is about to become home to a new Catholic radio station. This is exciting news to me, since I more or less began my broadcasting career toiling in the “theater of the mind” known as radio. It remains one […]

Meet Maria de la Soledad Teresa O’Brien

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve always liked CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien. And this piece from a paper in Sioux City reminds me why: A CNN anchor spoke of the role of service in the field of journalism and faith that surfaced repeatedly in stories […]

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.

Last rights

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican’s recent pronouncement about end-of-life issues has raised new questions, and posed new challenges, for a lot of Catholics. And Robert McClory has decided to take a hard look at them in the Chicago Tribune: For severely ill patients, […]

When the head of a parish is a woman

posted by deacon greg kandra

How’s the priest shortage affecting the Deep South? A paper in Mississippi takes a look at one parish in one diocese, where lay ministers are taking charge and pointing to a new way of church management: Dressed in a knee-length […]

Promises to keep

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s not often that you stumble on a journalist of deep faith, writing about that faith honestly and forthrightly in the secular media. But this comes to us from Tracy Grant, the Weekend editor of the Washington Post — a […]

Pass the basket, and pass the plastic

posted by deacon greg kandra

Cash or charge? More and more parishes are doing this, and now there’s an item in a Palm Springs, California paper about it: giving parishioners the option of contributing via credit card: You swipe a credit card to buy furniture, […]

Don’t worry, be happy

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And you will be, after you see and hear this amazing rendition of “Ave Maria,” by Bobby Ferrin. Hat tip to New Advent for linking to it, and to Alive and Young for first posting it. It’s just wonderful. Enjoy.

Jindal wins

posted by deacon greg kandra

Following up on my post the other day about Bobby Jindal, here’s the AP write-up on his election triumph: U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal became the nation’s youngest governor and the first nonwhite to hold post in Louisiana since Reconstruction when […]

“Behold your angel”: one deacon’s journey

posted by deacon greg kandra

I love a good vocation story — especially when it involves a deacon. And this one, from California, is a real inspiration. Get a box of Kleenex and read on: Tom Ciccarelli’s path to becoming a deacon for the Catholic […]

Homily for October 21, 2007: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

That great Talmudic scholar, Woody Allen, once said that “90% of success is just showing up.” He probably didn’t realize it, but he could have been describing the message at the heart of this morning’s gospel. Because in the parable […]

The remarkable rise of Bobby Jindal

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s hard not to like the story of this (as the New York Times puts it) “improbable” candidate for governor in Louisiana — a Catholic convert who could could give a completely new face to politics in the American south: […]

Rudy’s Kerry problem

posted by deacon greg kandra

Jacques Berlinerblau, from the Washington Post’s On Faith section, has been taking a hard look at the Giuliani candidacy this week — and draws interesting parallels and contrasts with another pro-choice Catholic who ran afoul of some bishops, John Kerry: […]

He’s got a little list

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That bit of patter from “The Mikado” could describe Italy’s most notorious cleric. Seems that priest who got into a little trouble last weekend may be ready to cause a little trouble of his own: A high profile Vatican cleric […]

From Rome to home: seminarians stay connected on the web

posted by deacon greg kandra

The new generation of seminarians is jumping into the Internet with both feet — and CNS reports on how these young men are using the world wide web to share their experiences: An ocean away from family and friends, some […]

Here come the Anglicans

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While Tony Blair mulls crossing the Tiber, some of his fellow Anglicans aren’t mulling. They’re ready to dive right in: The College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) recently petitioned for “full, corporate, sacramental union” with the Roman […]

Waldorf salad: Blair, Egan, Bloomberg at the Al Smith Dinner

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last night was the legendary Al Smith dinner here in New York, where a certain former British Prime Minister (who, rumors insist, is considering becoming a Catholic, and a deacon at that) was the keynote speaker. How’d it go? Let’s […]

Making “Bella”: “It was an incredible leap of faith”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The new movie Bella, scheduled for release next week, has generated a lot of favorable buzz in the Catholic press — and now The Tidings newspaper in Los Angeles tells the story behind the story, and reveals how it came […]

In Atlanta, growing vocations like peaches

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has a thriving effort to encourage all kinds of vocations — and an example of that was on display recently: A fireman. A doctor. A teacher. A rock star. These are common responses to the perpetual […]

St. Luke: physician, artist…blogger?

posted by deacon greg kandra

He was pretty prolific, after all, and gave us two pivotal works of the New Testament, which managed to recount the life of Christ and the early days of the Church. Not too shabby. He also stands as the only […]

Holy Hoosiers: the faithful flock to an Indiana shrine

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s amazing what a little sainthood can do. A shrine in Indiana is turning into a major tourist destination, and place of pilgrimage, a year after the woman who founded it was declared a saint. From the Indianapolis Star: Peace […]

The Colbert effect?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m not sure that this news didn’t have something to do with it…but there’s word this morning that pro-life Catholic candidate Sam Brownback may drop out of the race for the White House: Republican Sam Brownback will drop out of […]

“You don’t deny the sacrament to someone who requests it”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The controversy over what happened nearly two weeks ago in a San Francisco church is continuing, with others now adding their two cents. The San Francisco Chronicle has the story, with some background: The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, founded in […]

Adam and Eve and Africa

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is it possible the capital of Eden was…Capetown? Some scientists seem to think so, according to The Independent: Primitive humans who inhabited the coast of South Africa 165,000 years ago and lived on a diet rich in shellfish could be […]

Another Catholic jumps into the presidential race!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And I couldn’t be happier, since this gives me my best shot yet at being able to spend a night in the Lincoln Bedroom. A tip of the hat (before it was tossed into the ring) to Diane at The […]

Crossroads: ISO a spiritual director

posted by deacon greg kandra

Looking for a little spiritual direction? Someone who can unfold the mystical map and point the way? (Or, at least, make sure you don’t get lost in the woods…?) Elizabeth Tenety has been ISO (in search of) a spiritual director, […]

Is the S-CHIP bill pro-life?

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s been a lot of discussion and debate lately about the controversial S-CHIP plan to provide health care for low-income families. Now, a group of Catholics has weighed in on the subject, and Ryan Anderson at the Weekly Standard has […]

The pope makes a statement. 23 statements, actually.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The perspicacious John Allen at the National Catholic Reporter has perhaps the best analysis of the pope’s picks for the new cardinals: Whenever a pope names new members to the church’s most exclusive club, he inevitably makes a statement – […]

You can shop for anything on the web — including a church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Looking for a place to pray? USA Today says: look no further than your computer screen: Across the country, fall is high season for “church shopping,” as people in search of a new faith community to call home set about […]

Cough it up

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The latest, from San Diego, via the AP: The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego is asking parishioners to donate $25 million to help pay for its $198.1 million settlement with childhood sex abuse victims. The diocesan headquarters and a […]

Scalia: “There is no such thing as a ‘Catholic judge'”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Recently, Clarence Thomas has been making headlines with his new autobiography. Now, another Supreme Court Justice has stepped into the limelight — and he’s talking about faith: Devout U.S. Catholics like himself may stand apart from much of the nation […]

“My Sweet Lord”: the second coming

posted by deacon greg kandra

Earlier this year, at Easter time, a giant chocolate Jesus sculpture debuted in New York. Now it’s back, to scare up some more attention near Halloween: “My Sweet Lord,” an anatomically correct milk chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ that infuriated […]

And on bass, it’s Mr. Ed…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Maybe it was the post about Ricky Nelson that got me into a musical mood, but the little exercise in composition and singing at this link just made me smile. Try it, and enjoy. I dare you not to grin.

The Ricky Nelson hit that’s paid off for the Dominicans

posted by deacon greg kandra

This story from CNS is such a jaw-dropper, I’ll let it speak for itself: So what’s a nice, mild-mannered, 72-year-old Dominican priest doing collecting thousands of dollars in royalty checks for a rock ‘n’ roll classic that he co-wrote in […]

A retreat report

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few people have asked me how my retreat went last weekend. Very well, thank you. It was probably the most restful 48 hours I’ve had since ordination — and the first time I’ve had two consecutive days off since […]

A ministry that’s like two “praying hands”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With more lay people taking on vital roles in American parishes, a church in Illinois has given two vital roles to one lay woman: “I’m in heaven every day. I love what I do. I wonder why it’s taken so […]

The thing with feathers

posted by deacon greg kandra

That is how Emily Dickinson famously described hope. I doubt Pope Benedict will take that tack when he releases his next encyclical which, according to news from the Vatican, is on that very subject: Pope Benedict XVI has completed his […]

Making Jesus in our image

posted by deacon greg kandra

The good people over at Busted Halo have just posted a fascinating chat with Stephen Prothero, author of American Jesus and a new book called Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs To Know And Doesn’t, which more or less bemoans […]

Catholics for Hillary?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The always thought-provoking Deal Hudson is provoking thought this week on the subject of Hillary Clinton and Catholics. He wonders who is to blame if Hillary collects the Catholic vote next year: “If Giuliani and Clinton are the nominees, then […]

Bored? No problem

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Burn off a few minutes before the whistle blows by creating your own Mr. Picassohead. You can thank me later.

Ecstasy

posted by deacon greg kandra

Since this is the feast of St. Teresa of Avila — “Big Teresa,” as she is sometimes known — I thought it worth posting what may be the most stunning image of her: the breathtaking sculpture by Bernini that manages […]

A new deacon Down Under

posted by deacon greg kandra

On the other side of the world from where I live, another journalist has just become a deacon — but will soon enough be ordained a priest. A paper from Down Under (New Zealand, actually) has this Top Story: New […]

Motu Proprio II: The Empire Strikes Back

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Rumblings from Rome indicate a follow-up document is coming — a sequel, if you will — that may clarify the motu proprio and perhaps clear up a few misunderstandings: The Ecclesia Dei commission is preparing a new document on the […]

The Bishop’s Wife

posted by deacon greg kandra

This has only the faintest echoes of the classic movie starring David Niven, Cary Grant and Loretta Young. But it does involve a curious spiritual triangle, as an Irish Anglican bishop finds himself in somewhat awkward circumstances: The wife of […]

Catholics coping with infertility

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s stellar religion reporter, Ann Rogers, this morning tackles a topic rarely discussed in the Catholic Church: infertility. But it’s a subject of increasing interest, and concern, among many couples who are waiting longer to get married or […]

A 40-year-old seminarian asks “Why not?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Surfing around the internet, I stumbled upon a terrific new design for the website for Florida Catholic, which serves several dioceses in the Sunshine State. It’s bright, user-friendly, beautifully designed, and eminently readable. And among the choice nuggets this week […]

The perfect place for a little gathering of 9,000

posted by deacon greg kandra

A new church has just opened in Portugal, to help comemmorate the 90th anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Fatima. The new facility is not exactly intimate, according to this report from the BBC: Thousands of pilgrims […]

Would you give communion to them?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, it’s gotten a fair amount of attention in the blogosphere, and even on TV, where no less a luminary than Bill O’Reilly took note of it. I’m referring, of course, to San Francisco’s archbishop giving communion to the two […]

Taking God behind bars

posted by deacon greg kandra

More and more deacons are spending time behind bars. Ministering, that is. Which is one reason why this item caught my eye. A story this weekend reports on the amazing growth in prisons built on faith: Killer-turned-artist Manny Hernandez on […]

Oh. Well, then, nevermind.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Boy, you take a couple of days off, and the world goes just a little bit nuts. I returned from my diaconate retreat Sunday afternoon to find that the Catholic world had its knickers in a knot over an Italian […]

Gone prayin’

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m headed for a weekend retreat with my brother deacons at this place. I’ll see you all again next week. Meantime, rest assured: you will all be with me in my prayers. Blessings to you all,+ Deacon Greg

One in five

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s how many pregnancies worldwide end in abortion, according to a new study. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: Women are just as likely to get an abortion in countries where it is outlawed as they are in […]

Thousands prepare for public rosary rallies

posted by deacon greg kandra

October is dedicated to the rosary — and the month includes the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Now, a local paper just north of New York City is writing about the rosary and, specifically, the anniversary of a […]

O Death, where is thy sting?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those venerable words from St. Paul could well capture the sentiment of this author, writing about how funeral liturgies, and especially their homilies, have lost their force. The author is David Lewis Stokes Jr., an associate professor of theology at […]

McCarrick on Burke: “I respect his position. It’s not mine.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

After Raymond v. Rudy, pitting Archbishop Raymond Burke against Rudy Giuliani in a battle over who should or should not be given communion, you can now add a third party to the mix: Ted. As in Washington’s retired Cardinal Theodore […]

Terrorist mastermind now a Christian?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Stranger things have happened, I suppose … but this little scoop is definitely one to induce a lot of head-scratching: Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, claims he converted from Islam to […]

Orlando’s first deacons: “God called me and I wandered in”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The very first deacon class of the Diocese of Orlando celebrated it’s 25th anniversary last month, and the Florida Catholic newspaper took note: They were the class of ’82. Thirteen men, sent forth by their pastors at the behest of […]

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love…

posted by deacon greg kandra

I confess: I’m not an Ann Coulter fan. I once described her as the Madonna of the far right — ready and willing to say anything to get a reaction (usually that reaction is bewilderment and shock.) But now she […]

Nancy Pelosi, prayer warrior

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Beliefnet, David Kuo has posted this snippet from the Sunday talk shows. It’s House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the subject of prayer: WALLACE: You said the other day that you were praying for President Bush to change his […]

Picture prompts “Sacred Heart” attack

posted by deacon greg kandra

It seems you can never be too careful about the kinds of pictures you choose to hang on your wall — especially when the art is provocative and offensive. What kind of art might that be? Why, a picture of […]

In the beginning was the World Wide Web…

posted by deacon greg kandra

The fact that you’re reading this may indicate something the wider culture is just now starting to grasp: God is alive and well online. And now that fact has even captured the attention of Forbes magazine: YouTube has produced its […]

“A heroic sense of calling” draws men to seminary

posted by deacon greg kandra

With so many seminaries all but empty, and so many dioceses struggling to find priests for their parishes, what is happening in Minnesota could well be considered a miracle: St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul has increased its housing, […]

Mother Teresa: “She was the worst patient I ever had”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a side of Mother Teresa we haven’t heard much about: the saint-as-patient. Her cardiologist spoke at a gathering in Pennsylvania recently, and the Pittsburgh paper has the scoop: In the last seven years of her life, Mother Teresa was […]

The pro-life movement: “This is absolutely the next step”

posted by deacon greg kandra

For most of the last four decades, the pro-life movement has been known for its prayers, its rallies, its marches. Now, a priest in Virginia is insuring that it will be known for something else: brick and mortar. From The […]

Motown’s newest hits: deacons!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An alert reader pointed out that Detroit has just ordained a batch of deacons — 15, in fact. The Michigan Catholic newspaper has a terrific write-up, complete with biographies of the men, pictures and short essays about their vocational journeys. […]

Expelled from the garden

posted by deacon greg kandra

They’re fixtures in a lot of neighborhoods: small (sometimes kitschy) statues of the saints, or Mary, benevolently watching over the daisies and dandelions in the front yard. But one community in Long Island has, in effect, evicted them, according to […]

Collared

posted by deacon greg kandra

Can wearing a clerical collar be hazardous to your health? A report out of England suggests it can make you a target: Catholic and Anglican vicars should remove their clerical collars while off-duty to avoid being singled out for attack, […]

There we grow again…

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Church is continuing to expand — and not necessarily in Europe or the United States. Some highlights of a new report: The world’s Catholic population is growing fastest in Africa and Asia, according to an annual compilation of statistics […]

Ahoy! Cape Cod ordains deacons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Word is filtering down from from Massachusetts that they’ve just welcomed a new crop of deacons. From the local paper: Six Cape and Islands men were among the 13 ordained as permanent deacons yesterday at Corpus Christi Church, said a […]

“You may be infallible, but your Amazon.com ranking isn’t”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

My Close Personal Friend Stephen Colbert had some choice words for the pope last night — and that new book, written by his cat, Chico. Enjoy. And a tip o’ the mitre to Diane and the hard-working blogging professionals at […]

“Never underestimate the power of ‘Yes'”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s the heartfelt and hopeful message buried deep inside today’s latest (last??!!) posting at Whispers in the Loggia. I, for one, find it hard to believe Rocco might be signing off from the spot that has become required reading across […]

The Diocese of Orange County settles, and the victims step forward

posted by deacon greg kandra

Days after the Diocese of Orange County, California announced a multi-million dollar settlement to four female sex abuse victims, three of the four came forward to reveal their identities. Here’s the latest from the Orange County Register: Three women who […]

“Thanking Father Ted”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Notre Dame’s celebrated president, Theodore Hesburgh, is still alive and kicking –and collecting accolades on the occasion of his 90th birthday. The Chicago Tribune has this nice tribute, from some female admirers: Rev. Ted Hesburgh, University of Notre Dame’s legendary […]

NY Times review of Colbert’s book: further proof of media bias?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The New York Times’ Janet Maslin — one-time movie critic who now fancies herself a book critic — has taken a look at the new masterpiece, “I Am America, And So Can You,” by My Close Personal Friend Stephen Colbert. […]

What? No prize for blogs?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Nobel Prizes are being announced this week. Which means it’s time for the “Ig Nobel Prizes” — awarded every year to the ludicrous and the laughable, but otherwise extremely valuable scientific and artistic contributions to humanity. What would Alfred […]

For the love of Kyle: raising awareness about suicide

posted by deacon greg kandra

Catholics are known for being unabashedly pro-life. But a committed group of Catholics in Indiana is adding another dimension to that idea, by shedding light on one of the darkest corners of human life, and one many don’t like to […]

The good news about Catholics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Looking for a little good news? A U.S. sociologist who has been studying Catholics offered an encouraging word or two at a dinner recently in Washington: In an Oct. 3 talk at Georgetown University in Washington before receiving an award […]

One woman’s story after an abortion: “It was time to accept His mercy”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Today is “Respect Life” Sunday around the United States, when many priests and deacons will preach on the sanctity of life and the need to pray for an end to abortion. But no homily, I think, could be more meaningful […]

Vinny Rottino: a faith that’s out of the ballpark

posted by deacon greg kandra

Milwaukee is known for much more than beer: these days, it’s also brewing a star Catholic baseball player named Vinny Rottino. He’s living his faith and proclaiming it — most recently, in the pages of the Milwaukee Catholic newspaper: Kathie […]

San Diego asks priests, parishioners to fund sex settlements

posted by deacon greg kandra

In an unusual move, the bishop of San Diego is asking for help in paying a huge settlement to sex abuse victims in his diocese — and he’s asking his priests to chip in. From the San Diego Union: Priests […]

Elevating the body: the unique ministry of funeral directors

posted by deacon greg kandra

Funeral directors have a knack for helping people work their way through sudden, often tragic loss — and for Catholics in the profession, this truly is a “ministry of consolation.” Our Sunday Visitor explores this special vocation: In his poem, […]

“My life is a gift given to me by God, and He has a plan for it”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Thinking about dedicating your life to God as a priest or nun? The Columbus Dispatch, in Ohio, decided to profile a few people who are weighing that question, as part of a series. And the first installment was published Friday: […]

Raymond vs. Rudy, Round Two

posted by deacon greg kandra

After Archbishop Raymond Burke threw down the gauntlet a few days back, more or less daring Rudy Giuliani to approach the communion rail, the GOP candidate has responded: Republican Rudy Giuliani on Thursday brushed aside criticism from Roman Catholic Archbishop […]

Just in time for Halloween…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Julie at Happy Catholic has posted the long-awaited movie trailer for the even longer-awaited movie version of Sondheim’s Grand Guignol masterpiece, Sweeney Todd. (There is a tiny Catholic connection, since this near-opera contains the giddy and macabre Act I finale […]

What do young Americans think of Christianity? Not much.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Are we losing a generation of Christians? That may be one conclusion you can draw from this troubling survey from the Barna Group. It indicates that a surprising number of young people do not have a favorable view of Christianity: […]

A new blog, from a deacon candidate

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I noticed a new website on my sitemeter, checked it out and, lo and behold, it seems to be all about one man’s journey toward ordination as a Catholic deacon. There’s a lot of interesting material here about the author’s […]

Oops: that’s not the kind of ‘Dialogue’ they meant

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Florida seminary is reeling from a lot of bad buzz over ads in its quarterly magazine — and now, it seems, it was all a terrible mixup: Whether it was a ghastly prank or a nightmarish mistake is not […]

Bless the beasts. And the teddy bears.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Blessing the animals for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi is a nice tradition. But a Dutch priest is taking things to extremes: A canary, a goldfish, a guinea pig, a handful of cats and more than two dozen […]

How’s your portfolio doing?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A potent new ad: Visit this link for more. Hat tip to J-Walking’s David Kuo at Beliefnet.

Altar men? Altar women?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a trend I hadn’t heard about before: altar servers who are long past the age of puberty. By decades, in fact. They look nothing like the picture on the left. This, from a paper in New Jersey: As a […]

Baker speaks of angels and blogs

posted by deacon greg kandra

Coverage of the installation of the new bishop of Birmingham has been mysteriously scarce — in the general media and in the blogosphere (as one of my readers noted). But Whispers in the Loggia has corrected that injustice with a […]

The robe

posted by deacon greg kandra

To appreciate one of the most beloved of Catholic saints, it helps to look at his robe. In the basement of a basilica in the Italian village of Assisi, you will find it: a patchwork of brown cloth and thread, […]

Maybe God needs a good jingle writer

posted by deacon greg kandra

As a kind of publicity stunt, the promoters of a new movie on the 10 Commandments hired a company to conduct a poll — and the results could give you gas: Quick. Name each of the Ten Commandments. OK. Now […]

Maryland, my Maryland

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those words, the title of Maryland’s state song, were echoing in my ears as I read over the installation homily of the new Archbishop of Baltimore, Edwin O’Brien. God bless Rocco, who has posted the text in full. Among other […]

Chico and The Man

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is what happens when you have a pope who loves cats. One of them goes and writes a tell-all: Chico the cat describes the life of his “best friend”, Pope Benedict, in an authorised biography for children released this […]

Local boy makes good; hometown plans celebration

posted by deacon greg kandra

That local boy would be St. Paul, and his hometown of Tarsus evidently plans to get into the act for the recently-announced Year of St. Paul: Pope Benedict has declared 2008 the year of Saint Paul and so preparations gained […]

Raymond vs. Rudy

posted by deacon greg kandra

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke is wading into the ’08 presidential campaign, and he’s already stirring the waters: As the 2008 presidential campaign revs up, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke is reprising his role from 2004. And the blogs are […]

Man sues priest over homily

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here’s something they never covered in homiletics class: what happens if a parishioner sues you for something you allegedly said during a homily? From the Chicago Tribune: An Algonquin man is suing a Crystal Lake priest for defamation of […]

Rudy: turning off Catholics?

posted by deacon greg kandra

This piece in the current National Catholic Register has some interesting voices on the subject of Rudy Giuliani and Catholicism. I’m not persuaded that a majority of Catholics are “turned off” by a candidate who is pro-abortion, even one who […]

The Amish, one year later: forgiving the unforgivable

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was a year ago today, October 2, 2006, that tragedy was visited upon the Amish people of rural Pennsylvania. USA Today has an insightful interview with someone who understands their culture very well, and who tries to explain one […]

One man’s simple creed: no one dies alone

posted by deacon greg kandra

Up in Alaska, there’s a report from the local diocesan paper about a man who has launched a remarkable and inspiring ministry to those who are facing their final hours: Ed Iwata thoughtfully sipped a latte while talking about his […]

Catholic Charities will have to pay for contraception

posted by deacon greg kandra

Our Catholic-dominated Supreme Court surprised some observers yesterday, deciding not to rule in a case involving Catholics and artificial birth control: The court issued a list of cases it would not hear this year. No explanation was given for the […]

Study of nuns and priests: doing the right thing helps your brain

posted by deacon greg kandra

Turns out a lot of priests, nuns and religious are doing something right — and it’s going to their heads. Or, at least, their brains. Here’s how U.S. News and World Report describes it: People who are conscientious and prone […]

Catholic clergy ordered to not get involved in Myanmar

posted by deacon greg kandra

As the world watches what’s unfolding in Myanmar, and the pope offers his prayers for the people there, the Catholic clergy are being told not to get involved. This, from the Associated Press: While thousands of Buddhist monks have marched […]

“An instrument of grace”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Rod Dreher has a terrific column in yesterday’s Dallas Morning News, describing a fraud and con artist, in the guise of a monk peddling a fake icon, who managed, nonetheless, to touch Rod’s life with grace. It was through that […]

Mother’s other miracle?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The timing could be coincidence — or it could be miraculous. But an Indian priest is crediting Blessed Mother Teresa with a cure that, if verified, could tip her over the top to official sainthood: The sainthood cause of Blessed […]

Zesty Zubik: the homily

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A kind and attentive reader has sent along this link, which has the video of Bishop Zubik’s homily at his installation Friday. (Hat tip to Whispers at the Loggia, btw, which is always ahead of the curve!)

Seeing red

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s the First Monday in October, which means that yesterday was the occasion for celebrating the traditional Red Mass in various cathedrals around the country — including St. Matthew’s, in Washington. The Supremes were there — or some of them, […]

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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