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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

Holiday stamps: keeping Christ ON Christmas

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s that time of year again, and as you get ready to send out your Christmas cards, CNS has helpfully written a nifty history of the Christmas stamp: The series actually got its start in 1966, four years after the […]

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A Trappist monastery plans its future

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of my favorite places to visit and pray has been the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, in Conyers, Georgia — the Trappist house that was once home to Thomas Merton’s censor, and Flannery O’Connor’s peacocks. Alert readers will note […]

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He’s on the money. This explains why.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone curious about how God wound up on our currency should check out this intriguing nugget in today’s Wall Street Journal, which explains everything. It began with a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase by a Rev. Watkinson: […]

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Huckabee the Catholic?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I confess a certain affection for Mike Huckabee — from his name to his unassuming Gomer Pyle-ish demeanor to his clear-headed values and Mark Twain-ish wit. So I was especially intrigued by this item in the Washington Post’s On Faith […]

Why Andrew?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As I start to dig through the pope’s encyclical, I’ve been wondering: why Andrew? Why did the pope decide to issue this particular letter on this particular feast? John Allen speculates that it may be St. Andrew’s connection to the […]

The thing with feathers

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The ink is still damp, but here’s Pope Benedict’s new encyclical, Saved By Hope. John Allen’s report is right here. Snip: We need the greater and lesser hopes that keep us going day by day,” Benedict writes in Spe Salvi, […]

Want to see the pope in person? Start praying.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Anyone eager to get a peek at the pope when he visits the U.S. next spring will probably need divine intervention, according to CNS: Pretty much the only chances the general public will have will be at Masses at the […]

Abortion’s other victims: the fathers

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A couple months ago, I posted an item on helping fathers who had been through abortions. Now, the first national conference on this issue is underway in California: The Reclaiming Fatherhood Conference, co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the […]

In Baghdad: “Things are the most difficult they’ve ever been for Christians”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A leading Christian in Iraq is speaking out about conditions there — and, not surprisingly, the picture he paints is grim: An Anglican clergyman in Baghdad, who has seen his flock murdered and forced into exile by Muslim extremists, says […]

Fulton Sheen’s new book

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the Church’s most admired and beloved preachers has a new book coming out, nearly 30 years after his death: Basilica Press has announced the first new book by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in over 25 years. The book, […]

Appreciating “the beginner’s mind”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While everyone picks apart last night’s GOP debate, and ponders what lies ahead in Iowa, the Wall Street Journal takes a wider view. This is one to clip and hang on your refrigerator. Or, maybe, in your cubicle. Key snippet: […]

Parish hopes to “bless” homosexual partners

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I can’t imagine this initiative will fly, but you never know: St. Francis Cabrini church, of the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese, has announced on their website that they are ready to “bless” homosexual partners. The parish has published a […]

Singing a new song of Bernadette: a saint for today

posted by deacon greg kandra

With the 150th anniversary of the Lourdes apparitions approaching next year, there is more attention than usual being focused on this remarkable place — and now the bishop who oversees that corner of France has paid a visit to the […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

A now-legendary photograph of Philadelphia’s John Cardinal Krol, ca. 1975, taken by now-Cardinal (then priest and editor) John Foley. Read all about it right here. Photo: Catholic News Service

And now, from our Nuuk bureau…

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s a tiny corner of Catholicism we don’t hear much about, way up near the Arctic Circle. But the website Total Catholic has just corrected that injustice, with a look at Catholic life among the handful of the faithful in […]

Can you hear me now? Praise Jesus.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this oddity, from St. Louis, but it’s certainly, um, different: Residents along Milton Road could be saved from the view of a hulking cell phone tower if one company has its way. […]

The deacon with a badge

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve always been impressed at the surprisingly large number of cops and former cops who find themselves attracted to the diaconate. There are a number of them in the Diocese of Brooklyn — each enthusiastically continuing the vocation to serve […]

Winning isn’t everything

posted by deacon greg kandra

Football season is winding down — which makes this profile of a Milwaukee coach all the more timely, and important. For Coach Bob Hyland, coming off a 3-7 season, winning isn’t the point: Hyland was pleased with the effort, determination […]

Aboriginal artist will provide designs for World Youth Day

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some news from the other side of the world: Australia has chosen a native son to provide some of the important artwork that will be on display for World Youth Day 2008: The work of Richard Campbell, an Australian from […]

When your daughter is a sister: a mother’s story

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something you don’t read every day: a mother’s letter about her daughter, a cloistered nun. It’s a beautiful testament of faith and love and joy. You’ll want to read it all, but here’s part: Sarah had countless interests. She […]

Greeley: “I wonder if it’s proper to impose our view on a society that doesn’t agree with us”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Andrew Greeley has weighed in on the bishops’ document on “Faithful Citizenship” and, as always, he has some provocative points: If we are to believe the media, the Catholic bishops warned American Catholics that if they voted for a candidate […]

And, of course, they like his chutzpah, too

posted by deacon greg kandra

What do New Yorkers think of the pope? Take a gander at these poll results: Nearly one-quarter of New York City voters have an unfavorable opinion of Pope Benedict XVI and a similar proportion do not approve of the way […]

Actually, I’m from Maryland, but not Bal’mer, hon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What American accent do you have? Your Result: The Midland   “You have a Midland accent” is just another way of saying “you don’t have an accent.” You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, […]

Is Iran’s secret weapon the pope?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

We all know the pope has his hands full these days, what with Advent about to begin and the new encyclical about to be signed. But now something else has dropped into his “in” box: Iran. This comes to us […]

Where were you last Friday at 1 a.m.?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It looks like most of humanity was right here. At a shopping mall in Texas. The ensuing spectacle can be summed up in three little words: Oh. My. God.

Encountering Divine Mercy — and a young man with a mission

posted by deacon greg kandra

The roving religion writer for the Washington Post, Christy McKerney, popped by Our Lady of Divine Mercy in Massachusetts the other day, and had a memorable encounter with a young seminarian: Only Brother Andrew Davy, a 26-year-old American University graduate […]

Rudy’s priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

This story has been floating around for a while, but Deal Hudson over at Inside Catholic has decided to shine a spotlight on it: Rudy Giuliani’s close friendship with an accused pedophile who just happens to be a Catholic priest, […]

One family’s story of the power of prayer

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is the time of year we count our blessings, and number the miracles of our lives. The Sherman Family certainly has a lot of both to keep track of. This item from the Arlington Herald speaks volumes about how […]

Bloggers keeping the faith

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Lo and behold, USA TODAY has discovered religious blogging! And among those it features in this discovery are Rocco of Whispers in the Loggia and Fair Amy at Charlotte Was Both, two FOBs (Friends of This Blog). Take a look: […]

Christmas with a capital “C”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A deacon friend sent this my way: a song from the Christian rock group Go Fish that, I think, a lot of us should be singing this time of year. Enjoy. And spread the word. You know: the “C” word…

The doctor who’s a deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Many of us know what it’s like to have God get under our skin. But here’s a story of a deacon in California who perhaps understands that better than most: he’s Dr. David Sire, a dermatologist with a powerful backstory […]

When a church closes: “I went all my life, and then they threw me out”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s becoming a familiar story: a parish closes, and the flock can do little more than grieve. It happened again this weekend in Buffalo, and the local paper picks up the story: The Kilgen pipe organ thundered for the last […]

Remembering the Vietnamese martyrs

posted by deacon greg kandra

In a tradition that seems to be spreading, thousands of Vietnamese gathered this weekend in California to celebrate and commemorate the martyrs who were canonized nearly 20 years ago. The Los Angeles Times takes note: Several thousand Vietnamese American Roman […]

Thanks, Reege!

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of America’s most enduring TV personalities has coughed up a nice donation for his alma mater. Catholic News Service reports: Television personality Regis Philbin recently demonstrated that the education he received at a Catholic high school in the Bronx […]

Foley’s red hat: “A long-overdue triumph for the nice guys”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Of all the write-ups about the consistory this past weekend, this one by NCR’s John Allen may be the sweetest and most sincere, as he sums up the new cardinal, John Foley. One snip: Each year the North American College […]

“The goal of a Christian life isn’t to be a priest, but to be a saint.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It seems barely a week goes by without another story or two about women being “ordained” as Catholic priests. Now a woman, and a nun at that, has published a book on women and ordination. And Sister Sara Butler isn’t […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s three days after Thanksgiving. Anyone want (another) turkey sandwich?

Make room for one more

posted by deacon greg kandra

One more Episcopal bishop, that is. Last week, another announced he would strap on his water wings and swim the Tiber: On Wednesday, November 21, Bishop John B. Lipscomb announced his intention to seek release from his Episcopal vows and […]

Noonan: “Faith is important, but it’s also personal”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Being more or less out of the loop for a few days — indulging in pheasant (okay: turkey) and all that goes with it — I didn’t catch up with Peggy Noonan’s column on the candidates and faith until Sunday. […]

Mary, did you know?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For the last Sunday of the liturgical year — and the Feast of Christ the King — I found this beautiful rendering of one of my favorite spirituals, “Mary, Did You Know?”, sung by a full choir and interpreted with […]

“He feeds everybody. He’s an angel.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Every now and then in the Sunday New York Times, in between the ads for the thousand dollar Gucci ear rings and the million dollar Westchester bungalows, you find something truly priceless. This story is that something. It’s a beautifully […]

Homily for November 25, 2007: Feast of Christ the King

posted by deacon greg kandra

Among the many things I had to be thankful for this past Thursday, one of them was Google. Thanks to Google, I was able very quickly and easily to find out a little history about this feast we celebrate today. […]

First chants: learning the Gregorian way

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you can’t tell Gregorian chant from the Goo Goo Dolls, help is on the way. You can take classes. Some seminarians are doing just that in Connecticut: On Thursday nights they gather here, in this basement classroom with whitewashed […]

A Catholic evangelist?

posted by deacon greg kandra

That is what convert and businessman Richard Lane calls himself, and some of his wise words on the faith were published recently in the St. Louis Review: Lane is known as a Catholic evangelist, a term he said people have […]

Giving thanks

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When you sit down with family and friends tomorrow and bow your heads to pray…what should you say? The Fresno Bee asked that question and got some wonderful answers. Check them out. Meantime, I like this one: “O God, we […]

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those who think the pope issued his motu proprio because he just loves Latin are mistaken, according to a top Vatican official: A lack of respect for the norms for celebrating the Mass after the Second Vatican Council contributed to […]

“Good times never seemed so good…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I was in high school, one of my teachers — a nun — loved this song. We thought she was incredibly hip. Now, according to press reports, it has even more meaning than any of us pimply teenagers imagined […]

“Bella”: a pro-living movie

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few people have wondered what I thought about the movie “Bella” (especially after I linked to Barbara Nicolosi’s less-than-enthusiastic post a couple weeks back). Well, frankly, my weekends have been nuts lately, and it’s been hard to find the […]

Breaking news: a stem cell breakthrough that spares embryos

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This bit of news from the world of science is potentially huge — and could have important significance both medically and morally: Scientists have made ordinary human skin cells take on the chameleon-like powers of embryonic stem cells, a startling […]

“I’m thankful to be alive”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Thanksgiving and the holidays can be a difficult time for many of us. This year, the Associated Press profiles several families coping with tragedy — but counting their blessings: When American families gather together this week to give thanks for […]

“This is not a priest recruiting group”

posted by deacon greg kandra

How do you know if you have a vocation to the priesthood? That question has haunted more than a few men over the years. And in Los Angeles, a group (led by a man with another vocation, to marriage) is […]

The mind boggles

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You read news like this and don’t know where to begin to understand it, or even explain it: Three boys ages 8 and 9 were being held Monday in a detention center on charges of kidnapping and raping an 11-year-old […]

Further evidence of our corrupt electoral system

posted by deacon greg kandra

But I would like to thank all those who voted for me — which, at last tally, numbered one: my wife. Better luck next year. Meantime, you can read about those who rigged the election for Matt Damon, and others […]

Roadside crosses in the crosshairs

posted by deacon greg kandra

An interesting controversy has erupted in Utah over a classic Christian symbol. The Salt Lake Tribune reports: A federal judge today heard arguments on whether the placement of 13 crosses on government land along Utah highways to memorialize fallen Highway […]

Jesuits to pay out record settlement in sex abuse cases

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

News broke over the weekend that the Jesuits will be coughing up some $50 million to more than 100 Alaskans who say they were sexually abused by members of the order. The payout is huge — not just financially, but […]

“God loves all simple things. For God is the simplest of all.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

November 19 marks my six-month anniversary as a deacon. I still can’t believe it. Anyway: I had asked a friend if she would sing Bernstein’s “A Simple Song” at my Mass of Thanksgiving the day after my ordination. She was […]

A Catholic soldier: “Sometimes killing is necessary. That doesn’t make it right.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Tenety has posted a terrific interview this weekend with a Catholic veteran of Iraq who is now a student at Georgetown. As Tenety describes him: “William James Quinn was 24 and a veteran of the Iraq […]

Democrats react to Cardinal O’Malley with silence

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Boston Globe went searching for some reaction, anything, to Cardinal O’Malley’s slap the other day at pro-abortion Democrats. They didn’t find much. The silence, perhaps, was telling: In 1935, Governor James Michael Curley was pushing hard for a bill […]

The bullet in the breviary

posted by deacon greg kandra

You can never tell where a vocation will come from, and in Florida Catholic this week there’s a stirring story of a young boy whose life was shaped by one memory of an uncle who was a military chaplain during […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Relatives of cyclone victims wail in Barishal, 75 miles south of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, Friday, Nov. 16, 2007. Photo by: Pavel Rahman, AP

Homily for November 18, 2007: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

If it seems like the holiday season is starting earlier this year, there’s a good reason. It is. The earliest you can have Thanksgiving is November 21st, and this year, it’s on the 22nd. And, as a result, everybody got […]

Payback?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A high-profile member of the USCCB was running for a committee office this week — and lost. And now some are wondering if there was a message in that, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: This week, St. Louis Archbishop […]

God’s bloggers: seminarians make the PC their pulpit

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

More and more, your keyboard is becoming a critical evangelization tool. Don’t believe it? Check out this pretty compelling bit of evidence from The Leaven, the diocesan newspaper of Kansas City, Kansas: When Jesus told his disciples to go out […]

What’s it like to work with Katie Couric?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I get asked that question a lot. Below is the best answer I can provide. This has been making its way around the world on the web, and has caused quite a sensation here in Gotham, where New York magazine […]

Underbooked

posted by deacon greg kandra

Gideon Bibles have been a staple of American hotel rooms for decades. Every night table had one in its drawer, with a rubber stamp imprint, reminding you it was provided by The Gideons. But, like so many things, those iconic […]

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a remembrance of Norman Rockwell

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Washington Post has a new roving On Faith columnist, Christy McKerney, who roved her way up to Stockbridge, Massachusetts and visited the Norman Rockwell Museum. There, she pondered some of the amazing pictures, and chatted with a woman who […]

What nuns do when we aren’t looking

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You’ll be shocked, simply shocked. H/T to the 3Massketeers.

Worried about the future? Read this. You’ll feel better.

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Louisville comes this story of a 22-year-old who would put most of us twice his age to shame. It’s a little-reported nugget of news from the USCCB meeting in Baltimore — and it’s well worth your time: David Golemboski’s […]

Sisters of Bethany find a new home with Episcopal nuns

posted by deacon greg kandra

Readers may remember the story of the Sisters of Bethany, who were forced to pack up and move after the record sex abuse settlement in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The sisters have now been offered a new place to […]

The world needs heroes

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Kevin Knight at New Advent has posted this link to the new vocations website for the Archdiocese of New York. It is, in a word, sensational. It was put together by Grassroots Films, which produced the equally sensational (and widely […]

A world without writers? I don’t think so.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In tribute to my brothers and sisters on the picket line. I’ve been a member of the Writers Guild of America, East for 21 years, and walked the line for seven long weeks back in 1987.

Honk if you love Divine Mercy!

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Cleveland Catholic has been promoting an unusual kind of ministry for the last several years — and it’s caught the attention of a lot of motorists. Now, it’s also caught the attention of the Catholic Moment newspaper: Joe Cannon, […]

O’Malley says Democrats “border on scandal”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Boston’s Cardinal Archbishop isn’t mincing words. The other day, he drew a sharp line in the sand on the issue of Democratic candidates for public office, and abortion: Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, saying the Democratic Party has been […]

Priest convicted of sex abuse fights expulsion from Jesuits

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Jesuit priest who was convicted of sex abuse is back in the news. Seems he’s not going without a fight: The Rev. Donald J. McGuire, convicted of molesting two boys, said Wednesday that he’s fighting an effort by Chicago’s […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

A buoy and several docks are left high and dry in Lake Allatoona in Acworth, Georgia, as the south suffers through the most severe drought in recent memory. Georgia’s governor took part in a prayer service to pray for rain […]

Baltimore Archbishop: priest who resigned can return to ministry after counseling

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Archbishop of Baltimore has spoken out about the controversy surrounding a pastor who was relieved of his duties over liberties he took with the liturgy. The Baltimore Sun chatted with Archbishop O’Brien during the USCCB confab in Charm City: […]

McCarrick to priests: “The best thing you can do is smile a lot”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Washington’s retired Archbishop, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, dropped by my neck of the woods recently (okay, Long Island) and spoke some sage words to the local priests. This, from Long Island Catholic: Showing the people good and happy priests is the […]

Automatic confession?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With his writers on strike, MCPF Stephen Colbert has had to resort to re-runs. Which means the merry bloggers at Catholic Colbert are desperate for funny Catholic material. They found this, and sent it my way. Enjoy.

Meet the vice president

posted by deacon greg kandra

While most of the press attention has been focused on the election of Cardinal George to head the USCCB, the new vice president has gone largely overlooked. A Chicago newspaper corrects that oversight. It turns out he has a history […]

Life is a soccer game

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a hoot. For all the philosophy geeks out there — you know who you are — here’s a treat, courtesy David Kuo at Beliefnet:

“Rejoice, full of grace”?

posted by deacon greg kandra

With all the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing over the new translation of the missal, headed to America’s shores in the next year or two, this news might be of interest: Italians listening to the Scriptures at Mass will no longer hear […]

What’s a consecrated virgin?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I thought you’d never ask. And, frankly, I’m not so sure myself. But the good people at The Catholic Spirit newspaper in Minnesota do have the answer — along with a few others. They spoke with a youth minister who […]

Keep hope alive!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Despite his recent electoral nosedive in the presidential race, MCPF Stephen Colbert is still very much in the game. It ain’t over yet: Stephen Colbert may have abandoned his brief bid for the White House, but he ended up in […]

And the winner is…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

To the delight of about half the human race, Paul Potts won that TV competition in Britain over the weekend. He now gets to sing for the Queen. Who, undoubtedly, has already watched his original performance again and again on […]

George: “This is not about the safety of children; it’s about money”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The man who is pegged to soon head the USCCB is coming under increasing fire for his handling of sex abuse cases in Chicago — and a just-published piece of correspondence is adding ammunition: Cardinal Francis George and one of […]

Where they don’t make a mess of the mass

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is the Latin mass the only solution to our mucked-up modern liturgy? A lot of people seem to think so, and Elizabeth Scalia over at Inside Catholic has weighed in, with her own vivid memories of growing up between the […]

Veterans Day: a chaplain remembers

posted by deacon greg kandra

This Veterans Day brings us this meditation from a veteran, and a Jesuit, William Blazek, SJ, MD, courtesy the Washington Post’s On Faith section: One thing that has always struck this veteran about those who serve our nation in the […]

The bishops on Iraq: “unacceptable and unsustainable”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The bishops meeting in Baltimore wasted no time getting down to work. Catholic News Service reports on one significant document already in the mix: a draft statement on the war in Iraq: Citing an alarming political and partisan stalemate in […]

Here comes the pontiff

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From Baltimore, there’s first official word of the pope’s trip to the States next spring — just in time for the Washington cherry blossoms, it turns out: Pope Benedict XVI will visit the U.S. in April, according to Archbishop Pietro […]

And wouldn’t you know it, I live in Queens

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You Belong in Brooklyn Down to earth and hard working, you’re a true New Yorker.And although you may be turning into a yuppie, you never forget your roots. Where Should Your Inner New Yorker Live?

That ordination in St. Louis: “God loves us, just ask Her” – UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

To paraphrase Britney Spears: oops, they did it again. Two women took part in what was billed as an ordination rite in St. Louis. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: To the Roman Catholic Church, the ceremony was not an ordination. […]

Oh, Rob: Dick Van Dyke honored by Catholic media group

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yes, that’s Rob Petrie there in the picture, standing between a priest and a friar. He was honored recently for lifetime achievement by the Catholics in Media Associates. The Los Angeles paper, The Tidings, has the scoop: Comedy icon Dick […]

Argentina is blessed — and so is Ceferino

posted by deacon greg kandra

Very big news from south of the border this weekend,as Latin America celebrated the beatification, for the first time, of one of its own. From AFP: Tens of thousands of faithful turned out Sunday to witness a ceremony honoring Ceferino […]

Neighbors express “outrage” over Baltimore priest’s resignation

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last week’s item about the Baltimore pastor removed for liturgical abuse has prompted some strong reaction here on the blog — and in the streets of Charm City, as well. The Baltimore Sun has just published a followup: Much has […]

Kids and vocations: “You’re not even on their radar”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Arguably the toughest job in the Church these days is being a diocesan vocations director. The Los Angeles Daily News chats with the man doing that these days — and ticks off the usual grim statistics, along with a few […]

Preparing for President George

posted by deacon greg kandra

Chicago’s Cardinal Archbishop is poised to be elected head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — and the hometown paper is taking a look at what that means: When the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops gather this week in […]

“And what would you like to drink? Pepsi? Sprite? Christmas Ham soda?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something to whet your appetite — or kill it. From a newspaper in Seattle: It’s rare to find kosher ham. Rarer still to find it carbonated and bottled. Jones Soda Co., the Seattle-based purveyor of offbeat fizzy water, said […]

Alex Jones: the evangelical who became a Catholic deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the more celebrated Catholic converts — and a recently ordained deacon, by the way — is former evangelical Alex Jones. He now spends much of his time traveling the country, talking about his journey back to the Church. […]

Homily for November 11, 2007: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

A little over a week ago, I was in Atlanta, and was surprised to notice that a lot of the trees had already lost their leaves – even while many of the trees up here, further north, were still intact. […]

Eight weeks after the motu proprio, no groundswell for Latin

posted by deacon greg kandra

The New York Times, of all places, takes a look this weekend at how the Tridentine mass is faring, almost two months after the motu proprio. Interestingly, the reporter cast a wide net, and talked with people in several cities […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Barack Obama campaigning in Iowa, nine weeks before the caucus. Photo by Eric Thayer, New York Times

Pastor removed for another kind of abuse

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was bound to happen sooner or later. A priest has been sacked for abuse. No, not that kind. Liturgical abuse. From CWN, via the Baltimore Sun: Baltimore’s Archbishop Edwin O’Brien has removed a pastor who invited a female Episcopalian […]

“God said: look at Father Seán. He’s too happy. Let’s make him a Bishop.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is too good to pass up: remarks by Cardinal Sean O’Malley last month in Venice, to an international gathering of Capuchins. A good long snippet has already been posted by Rocco, but go and read the rest. The man’s […]

Back from Iraq: a mother’s story

posted by deacon greg kandra

I know a few journalists who have been to Iraq, and they always come home with astounding tales to tell. But nothing can quite compare to the stories of the soldiers on the ground, who spend months at a time […]

Just in time for Christmas

posted by deacon greg kandra

The rumblings about Tony Blair’s conversion to Catholicism are getting louder. Now, the British press is pounding the drums, and sounding awfully certain: Tony Blair will convert to Roman Catholicism within weeks when he is received into the church by […]

From their cloister to your computer

posted by deacon greg kandra

And now for something completely different: cloistered nuns who have made Eucharistic adoration their personal ministry — on the internet. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: When she entered religious life four decades ago, Sister Mary Catherine supposed her life as a […]

Permanent in Portland: deacons ordained in Oregon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Deacon doings out in Portland, Oregon: news that they’ve just ordained a half dozen more men to the diaconate: Six men were ordained permanent deacons Saturday for service in Catholic parishes of western Oregon. “Today’s celebration is all about service, […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Wooden crosses, each decorated with a poppy and bearing the name of a fallen soldier, stand in the Field of Remembrance set up at Westminster Abbey in London, Thursday, November 8, 2007. Photo: by Kirsty Wigglesworth, AP

Bishop: let’s legalize prostitution

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yes, you read that right. A bishop in Great Britain has offered a modest proposal for controlling prostitution: Legalize it: A Roman Catholic bishop in the city of Portsmouth is backing a campaign to legalise brothels without in any way […]

Give this man an extra ration of rum

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I was delighted to notice this exceptional and insightful and brilliant piece of Colbertiana in First Things. The author, Nathaniel Peters, clearly grasps the profound social and cultural significance of My Close Personal Friend, Stephen Colbert, and places him in […]

What is your model of the church?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I was in formation, one of our texts was Avery Dulles’ Models of the Church, which posits that there are different intereptations for what we all know as “church.” The varying models include Church as Mystical Communion, Church as […]

Being pro-life: “The Church does not view abortion in isolation”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer has a few words on what it truly means to be pro-life, from the always-compelling Boston theologian Lisa Sowle Cahill. Not everyone will agree with what she has to say, but it’s worth pondering. Key snip: […]

Merry Chrismakkuh

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The holiday season is creeping up on us — and for some, that can mean a lot of stress, particularly on the subject of religion. What happens when more than one faith is involved? At Ohio University, the school paper […]

Priest charged with stalking Conan O’Brien

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of television’s most famous Irish Catholics has been getting some unwanted attention from a member of the clergy, according to the AP: A priest has been arrested on charges of stalking late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien by writing […]

Lay Catholics release statement on “divisively partisan” politics

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With the political season heating up, and the U.S. bishops planning to meet next week, some American Catholics are clearing their throats and asking for “civility”: A bipartisan group of American Catholics has issued a call for “civility in political […]

No way. Yes, way. Really?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I just cannot buy in to this, not at all. I got this from BFF The Anchoress, and she slipped this to me in home room, and of course Sister Steve caught us and we are so busted, and now […]

“Let Me Sow Love”: a Catholic mother’s outreach to gays

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From Illinois comes this surprising story of a mother who is struggling to live the gospel by reaching society’s outcasts — in this case, young men and women who are gay: Jackie Frett of Notre Dame Parish has taken a […]

Greatest invention. Ever.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A boy genius has invented wedgie-proof underwear. Unfortunately, for me, it’s about 40 years too late…but it’s nice to know someone has been working on this problem. Click and see.

EWTN priest steps down over relationship with widow

posted by deacon greg kandra

This news escaped my attention earlier this week, but it’s quite a surprise, coming from one of EWTN’s most visible personalties. According to the letter read on the air the other day: Dear Family: Regretfully, I have a message that […]

“Take my life, it’s all for thee…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader a few weeks back recommended a video at this site and, when I started exploring, the one below captured my attention. It’s got some beautiful images, stirring music, and a moving message about vocations. Enjoy.

On a mission from God to…Seattle?

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to be a missionary in the modern age? A couple hundred people called to that vocation are gathering to discuss that question this week in Pittsburgh. And, as the local paper describes it, the job is the […]

Vote early and often!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

There are still a couple days left to vote! If you click on the logo above, you can add your vote to the Weblog Awards — and maybe give the ol’ Deacon’s Bench a boost. Operators are standing by to […]

Does Georgetown need an exorcist?

posted by deacon greg kandra

You can’t blame some folks for wondering. The fabled setting for the book and movie “The Exorcist” has sometimes seemed possessed by spirits that aren’t altogether Catholic. And there’s been even more controversy at the home of the Hoyas lately, […]

“You have made him a little lower than God”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Psalm 8 says that. And these amazing juggling videos prove it. Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan, who discovered this gem. Watch and grin.

“I frankly do not understand this rebellion towards the Pope”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A key Vatican official had some harsh words for those priests and bishops who aren’t exactly jumping for joy over the Motu Proprio. The Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige spoke to Bruno Volpe for […]

Glendon picked for Vatican post

posted by deacon greg kandra

To the surprise of virtually no one, President Bush has selected a Harvard professor as his new ambassador to the Vatican: President Bush plans to nominate Harvard University law professor Mary Ann Glendon to be his new U.S. ambassador to […]

One seminary, two brothers

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s unusual that brothers find themselves in the seminary studying for the priesthood at the same time — but that’s happened to two men in New Orleans. The Clarion Herald profiled them recently: At a time when the U.S. church […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Outside Rockefeller Center, New York City. November 5, 2007. Photo: by Stan Honda/Getty Images

She sees dead people

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s rare to find a funeral director who’s a woman. And even rarer to find a funeral director who’s a woman…and a nun. But here’s a story about one in Kansas: For Benedictine Sister Christine Kean, becoming a funeral director […]

“It is time for this nation to heal”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A political tragedy seems to be unfolding, even as I type: MCPF Stephen Colbert has reached into the ring and taken back his hat. The race is over. Or so claims the traditionally-hostile-to-Catholics-and-other-nice-people liberal media: Stephen Colbert has dropped his […]

Priest admits: yep, he’s gay

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A priest in Philadelphia couldn’t contain himself this weekend and, according to the blog Creative Minority Report, he felt he had something he had to share: A priest at a Jesuit University in Philadelphia announced he was gay during Mass […]

Banning bibles in Beijing

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone planning to attend the Beijing Olympics next year will have to leave any dangerous and potentially lethal weapons at home. Things like, you know, your bible: Organizers of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing have published a list of “prohibited […]

“One hour at a time”: evangelicals discover monasticism

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was visiting the monastery in Georgia, I heard about evangelicals making retreats there. I thought that was unusual — but this article seems to indicate it’s part of a growing trend: About eight years ago, I found myself […]

Celebrating El Senor de Los Milagros, “Christ of the Miracles”

posted by deacon greg kandra

In Baltimore this weekend, the faithful turned out by the hundreds to celebrate nothing less than something miraculous: Hundreds of Peruvian-American Catholics reinforced ties to their religious heritage yesterday as teams slowly carried an image of Jesus that is revered […]

The Colbert Retort? “Be kind.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is irresistible, courtesy Diane over at The Word: Catholic Colbert. It’s a little tidbit from a taping of The Colbert Report, from a blogger who was there and described this story that My Close Personal Friend Stephen Colbert told […]

Prominent Jesuit arrested and charged with sex abuse

posted by deacon greg kandra

Five years after it began, the grim news continues: A prominent Jesuit priest accused of sexually victimizing teenage boys who were his valets as he traveled the world leading Roman Catholic spiritual retreats was taken into federal custody yesterday in […]

A parish sit-in that’s lasted three years

posted by deacon greg kandra

In 2004, a group of angry parishioners in Massachusetts began a sit-in at their parish to protest its closing. They’re still there. From The Boston Globe: It has been three years since the Archdiocese of Boston, as part of its […]

There goes the neighborhood: the vanishing ethnic parishes

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’re seeing it here in Brooklyn, and it’s happening everywhere: ethnic parishes, built by the blood, sweat and tears of Slavs, Italians, Poles and Germans, are rapidly disappearing. Immigrants are moving to the suburbs, and their children are scattering. Here’s […]

Among the monks

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m back. Regular readers – and I know there are one or two out there – may have noticed my absence last week. Tuesday morning, I finished throwing a few things into my Travelpro and dragged it out to a […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

A resident, holding up a baby, struggles to cross a flooded street due to heavy rains caused by tropical storm Noel, in la Plaine, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007. Photo: from AP/Logan Abassi, MINUSTAH

Going Dutch: inventing their own mass in Holland?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In some places, it seems, the era of liturgical innovation is far from over. And one of those places is Holland. Sandro Magister from Rome has done a little digging into what is happening to Catholicism in the land of […]

“More than ever, the world needs souls who will climb up on that mountain”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a remarkable vocation story: a Franciscan who is also a musician — and who is about to enter a cloister in Italy. It comes from The Catholic Moment newspaper in Indiana: Music often tells a story, and a concert […]

Kerry: “I can’t take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it”

posted by deacon greg kandra

John Kerry — remember him? — popped up the other day and spoke to a group of reporters about religion, faith, and some of the controversy over abortion that dogged him in the 2004 presidential campaign. This, from Catholic News […]

I’m full of fudge — and chutzpah

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Lo and behold, I return from a four-day retreat with Trappist monks — four days spent blissfully chanting the psalms at four in the morning, conversing with geese, napping at mid-day, and devouring brandy-laced fudge at dinner — when what […]

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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