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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

“The whole universe is a Mass, feeding us every day”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got a letter today from my friend, the Trappist priest and writer James Stephen Behrens (known to his pals as “Jeff.”) He enclosed with it, as he does with many letters, a short reflection. In this one, he wrote […]

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BULLETIN: Maciel dead

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From the AP: VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Rev. Marcial Maciel, a Mexican priest who founded the Legionaries of Christ religious order and was disciplined by Pope Benedict XVI after sex abuse allegations, has died in the United States, his […]

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Where is everybody?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Wonder why more people don’t go to church? A new survey, reported in the National Catholic Reporter, from the Religion News Service, finds some answers: Almost three-quarters of Americans who haven’t darkened the door of a church in the last […]

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Pssst! Want tickets to see the pope?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’ve been told it’s a lost cause, but American Papist has a few ideas. Check ’em out. And good luck. I know the Diocese of Brooklyn has been given a grand total of three (3) tickets per parish. My parish […]

“Obama? Isn’t he the Muslim one?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some rumors just won’t die. One of the most persistent ones floating around the blogosphere, and even in the mainstream press, is that a leading candidate for president is a Muslim. Details here from Busted Halo: Deb Geissler of Tuscaloosa, […]

A Super Bowl room that is truly divine

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Looking for a room for the Super Bowl? No problem. Really. There is a little heavenly help available, according to this item in the New York Daily News: Nuns at a Phoenix monastery are renting out 10 of their rooms […]

Where the streets have no name: a stunning Super Bowl moment

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While doing a little search for more memorable Super Bowl moments, or at least some cool ads, I stumbled upon the one below. I didn’t see it when it first aired in 2002. But it is a stunner. Audacious, and […]

“My confessor, my friend”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader in South Carolina sent this column along with a note: “This guy sounds like a great priest.” He sure does: There are people who stand by you. People who inspire you. People you imagine will always be there […]

Whose faith is it, anyway: improv comedy for Catholics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s an idea whose time has come: improv comedy for Catholics! No joke. And just in time for Lent, too! From the Catholic Herald: Perhaps there is no parish fund-raiser Catholics appreciate more than the Friday fish fry. For something […]

Hiring Obama — and becoming Catholic

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a story that hasn’t been reported very much: Barack Obama’s mentor, who converted to Catholicism. Busted Halo has the scoop: In the early 1980s, when Jerry Kellman interviewed a young, idealistic Ivy League graduate for a $10,000 a year […]

Sanctuary

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That is exactly what the immigrant in this story is seeking — and for the time being, a Methodist church is willing to provide it: A Mexican woman says she is “picking up the torch” from another illegal resident who […]

Jesus, is that You?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The History Channel has tried to give the most realistic depiction yet of the face of Christ, creating a 3-D image based on the Shroud of Turin. ABC News took a look, below.

Is Huckabee the most Catholic candidate on the ballot?

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the provocative question at the heart of this essay by Robert Stackpole, STD, from Catholic Online: Catholic voters find themselves just as bewildered as other Americans this election year. Faced with a more colourful line-up of candidates touting a […]

Creating a culture for Catholic writers

posted by deacon greg kandra

Good writers are rare — good Catholic writers, even rarer. But now an author is giving us his insight into Catholic literature, from this interview with Zenit: Good Catholic writers need to be sustained and nourished by a rich culture, […]

You are loved

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Every now and then, we all need to be reminded. A classmate once told me about some advice he received from a priest on the subject of preaching: “Just remember,” the priest said, “to tell the people that God loves […]

Ave Verum

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Anchoress just posted a lovely rendition of Ave Verum. Ironically, the version by Mozart was ringing in my ears yesterday morning: our choir sang it during communion at the 11:30 mass. Here’s a gorgeous recording I found on YouTube.

Bishop on Tony Blair: “We have all offended God in so many ways”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The recent conversion of Tony Blair is continuing to stir controversy, and now a bishop in Great Britain has written a letter to the local press saying, “Enough already.” The author of the letter is pictured below. He is Rt. […]

Lift high the cross

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is an interesting wrinkle in this election year — and I’m sure Massachusetts isn’t the only place confronting this issue: A Catholic church serving as a polling location won’t have to cover up religious images on election day. Officials […]

Tag. I’m it.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

My favorite gal in a wimple has just notified me that I’ve been “meme’d”, which I think is a good thing. The meme is this: 1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).2. Open the book […]

An Orthodox Jewish Cowboy? Yup.

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is a little off the beaten path for me, but it’s just such a rich and fascinating interview, I thought it worth sharing. It comes to us from the Washington Post’s On Faith section (whose virtues I’ve extolled several […]

Cold enough for you?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A cheerful tip of the earmuffs to The Ironic Catholic.

Vocation stories just don’t get any better than this. Really.

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is another of those great late vocation stories — but with a lot of twists along the highway of life. A lot. It comes to us from the Detroit Free Press and columnist Susan Ager: Tony Cureton is 63 […]

“Liturgy”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader sent me a note today from — of all places — New Zealand. He runs a spirituality website that is now devoting some time and attention to that precious prayer of the church, the Liturgy of the Hours. […]

Why non-Catholics like Catholic schools

posted by deacon greg kandra

If anyone wonders why non-Catholics would want to send their kids to Catholic school, the Georgia Bulletin has a heartening explanation: Recommendations from other parents and a long-standing reputation as effective educators who also address a student’s moral development are […]

Warning: deacon at work

posted by deacon greg kandra

A parishioner sent these to me this week: snapshots of Your Humble Blogger, hard at work (or hardly working) at the sacrament of baptism earlier this month. We had three little girls, baptized on the feast of the Epiphany. As […]

A great Super Bowl commercial for 2008

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This one is slated to air during the 2008 Super Bowl, but it’s gaining a fast following on YouTube. Turn up the sound and enjoy.

Read any good books lately? Besides The Good Book?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A paper in Texas decided to ask several local preachers what books they use for references and anecdotes for their sermons. Curious? Take a look: Curtis Sellers, pastor, First Church of the Nazarene: There have been three books that have […]

Homily for January 27, 2008: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you have money in the stock market…or in a 401(k)…I suspect you’ve already spent a lot of time this past week, on your knees, praying. Me, too. It’s been, to put it mildly, a roller coaster. And the gyrations […]

Back from the brink: a Retrouvaille story

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Two of the great unsung heroes of the modern church are a couple programs designed to help marriages: Marriage Encounter and Retrouvaille. My wife and I made a Marriage Encounter weekend several years ago, and found it immensely enriching. But […]

Majerus plays defense, goes silent

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, as expected, the Burke-Majerus feud is escalating, and others around St. Louis are starting to weigh in: A Roman Catholic archbishop’s call this week for Saint Louis University to discipline its popular basketball coach for publicly supporting abortion rights […]

In other news…the news

posted by deacon greg kandra

The pope today released his message for World Communications Day, which doesn’t happen until May. Perhaps he had a more urgent point to make. The high points, from CNS: In a world where the media increasingly distort facts and manipulate […]

A priest’s rant

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The following was sent to me, anonymously, from someone who spotted it on Craigslist. I can think of quite a few priests who might have written it. Take it for what it is: a colorful and frank (and, I think, […]

St. Louis coach: “My value judgment happens to differ from the archbishop’s”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here’s the latest on the controversy swirling around the St. Louis University basketball coach who is pro-Hillary, pro-abortion, and pro-embryonic stem cell research, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Surprised by the reaction to his pro-choice, pro-embryonic stem cell research […]

“The silent heroines” of the American church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Amid all the hand -wringing and finger-pointing about Catholic education — or jaded memories thereof — a voice of sanity is finally being heard. Some warm words for the women who taught us, from Rocco: Far too often, all the […]

Go ahead. I dare you not to cry.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s another great commercial from Super Bowls past: Anheuser Busch, from 2005. Grab a hanky and watch.

Cardinal Law, five years later

posted by deacon greg kandra

Anyone wondering what the former cardinal archbishop of Boston is up to these days can find the answer in the pages of this week’s National Catholic Reporter, courtesy John Allen: Five years after the most tumultuous fall from grace in […]

ESPN host opens mouth, swallows foot, nearly chokes

posted by deacon greg kandra

This outrageous incident is starting to get more and more attention — and deservedly so: According to some news and sports websites, ESPN anchorwoman Dana Jacobson graphically attacked Jesus Christ at a recent roast of her colleagues; she was reportedly […]

Another sign of the coming apocalypse

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this: Faced with growing competition from cheaper rivals, Starbucks Corp. is testing offering small cups of drip coffee for $1 with free refills in its hometown. That’s about 50 cents less […]

Some of my best friends are heretics

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

MCPF Stephen Colbert had a friendly chat with the governor of his home state the other day, and revealed some of the key differences between Catholics and Protestants. (A jolly tip of the jester’s cap to Diane at The Word: […]

Showdown?

posted by deacon greg kandra

If it comes to a showdown between one of America’s most successful college basketball coaches and one of the country’s most outspoken Catholic bishops, who do you think will win? Whispers in the Loggia flagged this story yesterday. Here’s the […]

Flip that chancery

posted by deacon greg kandra

Seems Cardinal Roger Mahony has recently completed a little real estate transaction: The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has sold its 12-story chancery on Wilshire Boulevard to help pay part of the costs of a record-breaking $660 million lawsuit settlement with […]

In brief

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I was studying homiletics, we were taught to keep our homilies to a succinct seven minutes. Or less. But in this week’s America magazine blog The Good Word, we meet a priest who had a different idea, from blog […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Instead of choosing ‘great’ or impressive people in the eyes of the world, God uses the humble, the foolish, the weak and ‘those who count for nothing’ to accomplish his purposes. It is when we least expect it that the […]

Debating “the issue of the generation”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That issue, of course, is abortion. And the Catholic News Agency today filed this report of a remarkable debate on the issue that just took place in Colorado: A Catholic-sponsored debate about the ethics of abortion packed hundreds into an […]

“Power-mad nuns hellbent on beating an education into us”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In the annals of opinion journalism, I don’t think I’ve encountered anything quite as idiotic as this: Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) has offered a resolution that will be taken up the by the House this week (H.Res. 916) honoring Catholic […]

It was a dark and stormy parody

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Now for something completely different: “She’d been strangled with a rosary-not a run-of-the-mill rosary like you might get at a Catholic bookstore where Hail Marys are two for a quarter and indulgences are included on the back flap of the […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pope Benedict (who else?) greets the overflow crowd gathered to support him at Sunday’s Angelus. You can read the story behind the picture right here. A big h/t to Rocco at Whispers.

Hollywood’s latest hit: having babies

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is there something in the water? Or is it the Holy Spirit? Hollywood has just unleashed a spate of movies about unintended and unexpected pregnancies — and in every case, the mother chooses life. USA TODAY picks up on the […]

Making the grade: first impressions of Catholic school

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone of a certain age who’s been through Catholic school remembers the stern nuns, the hard desks, the sting of a ruler on your knuckles or the click of large rosary beads as Sister walked by. Don’t you? Well, a […]

The reform of the reform of the reform

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican is trying to correct the impression in some quarters that the pope is eager to turn back the clock to the days before Vatican II. Catholic News Service reports: Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of launching a […]

A priest’s priceless gift to a parishioner and friend: his kidney

posted by deacon greg kandra

This item from Florida is as surprising as it is rare: the story of a priest who truly gave of himself for a former parishioner. From Florida Catholic: Chances are, if you’ve ever had to hold your breath for more […]

The pride of black Catholics

posted by deacon greg kandra

As we celebrate and honor the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a Catholic paper in Rhode Island is taking a look at black Catholicism in America: John A. Daluz has seen many changes in his life, many of which […]

In praise of “Juno”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With all the buzz surrounding “Bella” this fall, the Catholic press paid scant attention to another passionately pro-life movie about an unwanted pregnancy and a mother who chooses life: “Juno.” I finally caught up with “Juno” last night. You might […]

What happened to all those Catholics running for president?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Once, it seemed like every Catholic politician in America was running for president. But no more. An interesting summary of what happened, and why, from CNS: Less than a year ago, nearly a dozen Catholics — Republicans and Democrats — […]

Tiny bubbles

posted by deacon greg kandra

No, we’re not having a Don Ho moment here at The Bench. The bubbles in question are found at an innovative new spiritual website called Other6. It seeks to feed people who are seeking spiritual food for the other six […]

That all may be one

posted by deacon greg kandra

Has the ecumenical movement lost steam? That’s the big question behind Peter Steinfels’ column this Saturday, marking the centennary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. A snip from the New York Times: In many countries, Christians deeply devoted […]

Homily for January 20, 2008: 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last winter, the Washington Post decided to try something unusual. A reporter wanted to see what would happen if they hired a world famous violinist to play during rush hour on a Washington subway platform. Would anybody notice? Would anybody […]

Reversing sterilization: one family’s story

posted by deacon greg kandra

And now for something completely different — and utterly surprising: the story of a Georgia couple who reversed a sterilization procedure, and welcomed a bouncing baby boy: Etched into David Hanson’s memory is the image of his wife, Catherine, having […]

Insurance agent, waiter, husband, father, deacon…and priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Wisconsin paper has the story of a deacon — soon to be a priest — who has followed an unusual career path: After working as an insurance agent and a waiter at Tippin’s, Mike McLain is now adding deacon […]

When it absolutely, positively has to make you laugh

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With the Super Bowl soon upon us, we’ll be inundated with expensive and over-produced commercials. Again. But the classics never go out of style. Twenty years after it first aired, this still makes me laugh.

Be not afraid

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The excommunicated married archbishop is at it again. CNS does the honors: Excommunicated Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo said the Catholic Church should not fear accepting married men into the priesthood. “There is no contradiction between marriage and priesthood,” he told reporters […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

A dog receives a blessing at the Vatican today. You can read the story behind it right here.

Refusing to take the easy way out

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Inside Catholic, they’re offering this beautiful and heartfelt tribute to something so many of us have trouble with today: commitment. The ability stick to something — a marriage, a career, a vocation, a faith — is something that […]

Abortion rate lowest in 30 years

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just in time for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, some surprising but very encouraging news on the abortion front today, from the Chicago Tribune: The abortion rate in the United States has fallen to its lowest level since 1974, […]

It’s how you live

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Shortly before the holidays, I became smitten with the Christian quartet Point of Grace, whose music I stumbled on almost by accident while driving around Maryland over Thanksgiving. I was punching buttons on the radio, trying to find some decent […]

Hanging Stephen Colbert

posted by deacon greg kandra

As many of you may have noticed, MCPF Stephen Colbert is finally back on the air. Once again, all is right with the world. And he’s been getting some nice buzz in Washington from, of all places, the Smithsonian: From […]

John Allen’s top 10 list: neglected stories of 2007

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The sage John Allen last week posted this chin-scratcher, and it’s worth a read: his picks for the 10 most neglected Vatican-related stories of 2007. From NCR: Every society has its shorthand ways of signaling what it considers important. At […]

“Pay attention to what we believe, how we believe, in whom we believe”

posted by deacon greg kandra

In a recent address, a leading American archbishop has offered a word or two of wisdom to those who seek to preach The Word. From CNS: Preaching effectively in U.S. multicultural communities hinges upon believing passionately in God’s word and […]

Busted

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I was delighted and humbled to see one of my pieces tagged at Busted Halo as part of their “Best of 2007.” The piece in question grew out of the homily I delivered at my Mass of Thanksgiving, on May […]

Louisiana’s “brave new hope”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Louisiana got a new governor Monday: an immigrant from India, and a convert to Catholicism. Here’s one report: Another page has turned in the post-Katrina history of Louisiana. Bobby Jindal, the 36-year-old son of Indian immigrants, was sworn in as […]

Meet Fr. Michael Seed, Tony Blair’s priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

A British paper has what may be the best “get” of this still-young year: an interview with the man who helped bring Tony Blair into the Catholic Church: Father Michael Seed may be, according to his great friend Ann Widdecombe, […]

A stray bullet, a stricken child: “We will not be terrorized by this”

posted by deacon greg kandra

God’s ways are not our own — and tragedies like this one can only serve to deepen the sense of mystery that surrounds His plan. Take, and read, and pray: Fifth-grader Christopher Rodriguez sat down Thursday at his piano for […]

Fast food icon Carl Karcher dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

Anyone who’s driven through southern California knows the familiar bright signs of Carl’s Jr. Hamburgers. They’re almost as ubiquitous as McDonald’s. But word came today that the founder of that fast food empire — a devout Catholic, to boot — […]

A home schooled teenager: “We’re not crazy”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s a riveting story, from the Hartford Courant: a first person account of what it is like to have been home-schooled. It’s part of the Courant’s “I Am…” series, complete with a short video: There are a lot of misconceptions […]

Preaching on deadline

posted by deacon greg kandra

Looking for a quick (very quick) spiritual pick-me-up? A church in Roanoke, Virginia is trying out an idea: short services, with short sermons. Very short. This article on the church comes from The Roanoke Times: The hereafter is an eternity, […]

Catholics for Huckabee — and some other candidates, too

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The candidate’s Catholic boosters have their very own blogsite now. McCain’s people don’t have a Catholic website, but his campaign did announce the involvement of several prominent national Catholics last month. For what it’s worth, there’s also a splinter group […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

President Bush with a group of nuns during a visit to the Church of the Beatification on the Mount of the Beatitudes in Israel, on Friday January 11. Photo by: David Furst, AP

Turning back the clock? Or just turning back?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Following custom, Pope Benedict performed several baptisms today. But he broke with recent custom in at least one significant way, according to this report: Pope Benedict XVI baptized 13 babies in the Sistine Chapel during a Sunday Mass celebrated at […]

The Baptism from “Jesus of Nazareth”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A fitting clip for Sunday’s feast of the Baptism of Jesus: Zeffirelli’s beautiful depiction of that event from his landmark television epic, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Which leads me to wonder: whatever happened to Robert Powell??

“Today, religion is a choice, a cafeteria choice”

posted by deacon greg kandra

How can the church appeal to the young? That’s a question on a lot of minds these days, and this piece from the Cleveland Plain Dealer looks at a few answers: There are a lot of differences between the late […]

George Bush’s Catholic pilgrimage

posted by deacon greg kandra

A friend sent this item my way with the question: “Do you think he’ll convert after he leaves office?” I suppose anything is possible. It does seem that the president enjoys hanging out with nuns and priests and assorted Catholics, […]

The gift of giving

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Two great stories about the gift of giving caught my eye recently. The first came last night on the CBS Evening News — a broadcast with which I have some passing familiarity, cough, cough — and was about a bank […]

Domino’s delivers: Monaghan backs Mitt Romney

posted by deacon greg kandra

Zillionaire Thomas Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and the new Ave Maria University, has thrown his support to Mitt Romney for president: “It is an honor for me to endorse Governor Mitt Romney for President,” Monaghan said. “He is a […]

Passing the cup

posted by deacon greg kandra

Word from Florida about a novel way of promoting and praying for vocations — and it seems to be catching on: A new practice is spreading in the Diocese of Palm Beach and elsewhere around the nation: families allowed, one […]

A booming biblical school for Catholics in Dallas

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s some intriguing news from Texas, about a thriving school for ministry at the University of Dallas. The biggest surprise? It’s for Catholics: Brian Schmisek grew up full of questions – especially about his faith. Early on, he wanted to […]

Keep it simple, stupid

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s the theme of this delightful music video I just caught at Beliefnet. Think life is complicated? Relax, dude. This is a perfect chaser for a Friday. Enjoy.

Those who are missing at mass

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you’re wondering, like a lot of us, why more Catholics don’t go to mass, a priest has just published his thoughts on the subject: Why do Catholics stop attending Mass? This question was asked in a recent study conducted […]

Today’s fishermen cast a new kind of ‘Net

posted by deacon greg kandra

The New Evangelization may have a new tool: YouTube. This item from a Canadian paper says that site and others on the Internet are being used increasingly to spread The Word, in a way Matthew, Mark, Luke and John could […]

Catholics for Clinton

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Yes, it seems that’s the way it went down in New Hampshire. The New Republic has some factoids: Here are Clinton’s groups: women, particularly married women, voters over 40, voters making less than $50,000, voters without a college degree, union […]

Get thee to a storage bin

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Trying to clear up your clutter after the holidays? Have you resolved to Get Organized? Take a look at this breathtaking stop-animation ad for a storage company: And here, you can see how it was done:

Bishop: kneel and receive on the tongue

posted by deacon greg kandra

In my experience as a minister of holy communion, I’ve noticed that an overwhelming number of the faithful prefer to receive the body of Christ standing, in their hands. That seems to be the predominant custom in the United States. […]

The bible as business: teaching church management

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Villanova has embarked on something unusual: an M.B.A. program in church management. The Wall Street Journal has the scoop: The reputations of many Roman Catholic parishes have been tarnished in recent years, both by the priest sex-abuse scandals and a […]

I do. I do. I do. I do. I do…

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s not exactly the wedding season, but that didn’t stop a Catholic church in Georgia from hosting a mass marriage ceremony with a whopping 31 couples: More than 500 parishioners were in attendance at St. Joseph Church on Dec. 22 […]

Is Huckabee striking a chord with Catholics?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Apparently not. The man who won the Iowa caucus appears to have a bit of a Catholic problem, according to this interesting analysis in the blogosphere. A color coded map at the link tells the stark story: This suggests that […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

A hand-made sign at a Barack Obama rally in New Hampshire, January 7, 2008. I think that sums up why he’s winning in just one word.

Here comes the pontiff

posted by deacon greg kandra

Details are trickling out about the papal trip to America this spring — and the Washington Post has some intriguing behind-the-scenes nuggets about his visit to the nation’s capital: Which position will the pope take up at Nationals Park? Second […]

Extreme makeover: the NFP edition

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some savvy person decided that Natural Family Planning (NFP) needed a facelift. Or a makeover. Or something. And the Catholic Spirit newspaper is reporting on the results: For years, many of the engaged and newly-married couples receiving instruction in natural […]

Veteran, theologian, and survivor of PTSD: “God gave me my identity back”

posted by deacon greg kandra

We hear a lot about returning war veterans broken in body, but less about those who are broken in mind and spirit. But here’s the story of one veteran — who is also a theologian and teacher — who is […]

Here comes the sun

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s been a lot of buzz about our eco-friendly pope, and now the Vatican is poised to make a little bit of history with solar power: A German solar company has given Pope Benedict XVI something special for Christmas: an […]

Caught on tape: a monastic morning

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just when it seemed my life was getting a little too frenzied, my favorite blogger from a cloister sent this my way. Thanks. I needed this. (And I think a lot of us do.) It comes from a wonderful web […]

Homily for January 6, 2008: Epiphany

posted by deacon greg kandra

For those who may be keeping track, this marks the 12th day of Christmas – so there is still time to go out and get those 12 drummers drumming. I think Macy’s is having a sale. This is Epiphany Sunday, […]

Following a star … or two

posted by deacon greg kandra

With Epiphany Sunday upon us, we’ll all be following The Star — but a few people are already following other stars, some bold-letter ones who are slipping in and out of church in a bid to rehabilitate their image: Forget […]

Watch this video and change your little corner of the world

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Surfing around, I found this wonderful little video that speaks beautifully to the idea of service. Each of us has something to give. What is yours?

Tony Blair and John Henry Newman

posted by deacon greg kandra

Tony Blair’s recent conversion has sparked a fair amount of comment, not all of it positive. But the Times of London has just posted this compelling response, from author Msgr. Roderick Strange, who places it in a very interesting historical […]

Cardinal: “Abolishing celibacy is not a solution.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Once again, the subject of a married priesthood has come up — and once again, someone is saying it’s not in the cards: Ordaining married men is not a guaranteed way to solve a vocations crisis, and it will not […]

The Christmas miracle of Alcides Moreno

posted by deacon greg kandra

In a world hungry for hope, here is something to lift the heart: the story of a New York City window washer who fell hundreds of feet from a skyscraper and, in what may be the very definition of “miracle”, […]

Huckabee and Chesterton: together in Iowa

posted by deacon greg kandra

Did anyone else notice Mike Huckabee’s unusual quote last night in his Iowa victory speech? A Baptist minister running for president quoted a British convert to Catholicism, G.K. Chesterton: “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in […]

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.

Cleared

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s some remarkable coverage of a story that we don’t hear often enough: a priest accused of sex abuse has been cleared: Christmas came two days early this week for parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary Church when their […]

Greeley: “I’m Catholic. You got a problem with that?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With an eye toward today’s caucusing in Iowa, and an ear on the heightened religious rhetoric of the campaign, Andrew Greeley is offering a few thoughts — not all of them warm: I’m a Catholic. You got a problem with […]

Catholic by design: one architect’s idea for a new high school

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You rarely read about so much attention being paid to high school architecture, which makes this story out of South Carolina so surprising — and hopeful: Tom Loosbrock, a former architect who serves on the planning committee for a proposed […]

Auntie Anne’s “Twist of Faith”

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you thought she was just a shrewd businesswoman with a knack for kneading dough, you might be surprised at the real story behind “Auntie Anne” and her blockbuster pretzel business. The Washington Post has the details: Her name is […]

The lonely guy

posted by deacon greg kandra

It used to be the Maytag repairman had the loneliest job on earth. Now, according to this report from Connecticut, he may have some competition: The rectory is very peaceful — a little too peaceful, if the Rev. Joseph Looney […]

Father January roots for the Yankees

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those clever people in Britain have devised a new way to encourage vocations: priestly pin-ups. Or, more accurately, clerical calendars: Twelve Catholic priests have swapped their pulpits for favourite pastimes in a calendar designed to try to recruit young men […]

“It was a year that strode boldly into the stall of human events and took a wide stance…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of my annual pleasures, on the last Sunday of the year, is sitting down and laughing until my sides hurt from reading Dave Barry’s annual round-up of the year-in-review. If anyone missed it this year, it’s at the link. […]

Lest we forget

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

We continue to live in an age of martyrdom. That much seems clear from this succinct report by CWN: At least 21 Catholic priests, deacons, religious, and seminarians died for the faith in 2007, the Fides news service reports. Each […]

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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