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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

May 2008 Archives

Looking for me? I’ll be with David Cook

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Deacon’s Wife and I will be away from the Bench for a bit, taking a much-needed break. See below. Posting will be light, but I’ll be back soon. Tanned, rested and ready to blog!

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Another priest crosses the line

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Elsewhere, I posted about the priest who spoke at Barack Obama’s church last Sunday, and the furor that’s causing. But get a load of this: Msgr. Jim Lisante, former head of the Christophers, and a pastor in the Diocese of […]

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“Heart speaks to heart”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For this feast of the Sacred Heart, you should check out this stirring homily, delivered the other night by James Douglas Conley, new auxiliary for Denver, whose episcopal ordination takes place this day. A grateful h/t to the always-alert Rocco […]

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Obama’s priest – UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You have to see this to believe it. From the Chicago Sun Times, a video of Fr. Michael Pfleger preaching at Barack Obama’s church last Sunday. There’s a very good response to Pfleger’s fuming over the America blog, courtesy Jim […]

War’s other casualties, the chaplains

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a story we don’t hear told often enough — about life as a chaplain serving the soldiers, who are serving us, in Iraq: On a recent morning, an Army chaplain, Lt. Col. Richard E. Brunk Jr., met with a […]

Remembering Harvey Korman, and taking the pledge

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Late word today that he has died, at 81. You’ll find tons of clips on YouTube, but this, from Blazing Saddles, remains definitive. And just plain hilarious. Bless him. And just in case you missed it, there’s also this wonderful […]

Buh-bye: women priests formally excommunicated

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Women who consider themselves ordained in the Catholic Church can now consider themselves not ordained — and not Catholic. Here’s how Reuters reports the news: The Vatican issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests […]

Campaign ’08: “Conservative Catholics are very much in play”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This could be troubling news for the McCain campaign, since the voters in question are a sizable — and sometimes decisive — bloc. From the WSJ: For the first time since the presidential election of 1988, the observant white Catholic […]

Finding God on the obituary page

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you’ve ever wondered just how they put together the obituary page, this little Q&A with a longtime editor at the LA Times, Jon Thurber, offers an answer or two — and some insight into how and when religion finds […]

I wonder if they have this on Amazon.com…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Rounding up the sheep

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Catholics are a distinct minority in Alabama, but a paper there reports on some of the efforts underway to find and bring back lapsed members of the flock: Churches grow and shrink. That’s something that has al­ways happened in the […]

“The Liturgy of the Notices”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A very amusing, and very clever, dissection of a part of the mass that is often overlooked. A cheerful h/t to Bosco at The Naked Liturgist.

Bless me, Father…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When was the last time you went to confession? This author, a college co-ed, has a confession of her own to make: it’s been a while: Gary Stern of the Journal News reported that in the wake of Pope Benedict’s […]

Sydney Pollack, “a class act”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That was how George Clooney described him today, after learning of Pollack’s death yesterday at 73, from cancer. Everything Sydney Pollack did had intelligence and taste. And he was a terrific actor, as well as a gifted director. For my […]

Praying for Kennedy

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few days ago I mentioned some of the debate raging over Ted Kennedy, and the conflicts some are facing when it comes to offering up prayers for him and his family. Now Elizabeth Scalia (a.k.a. The Anchoress) has provided […]

Chuckles, anyone?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Monday is the feast of St. Philip Neri, famous for his joyful spirit and sprightly sense of humor. “A joyful heart,” he said, “is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.” In tribute to his own unique spirituality, I […]

Second chants

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is chant making a comeback? Some seem to think so, and this item in the Dallas Morning News, from the Religion News Service, adds up the evidence: It doesn’t have much of a beat, the kids can’t dance to it, […]

For Memorial Day: “Every day I think of what you said to me on that bridge”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What his captain told Private James Ryan, of course, was contained in his dying words: “Earn this.” The beautiful conclusion of “Saving Private Ryan.” Lest we forget.

Homily for a wedding

posted by deacon greg kandra

‘Tis the season. Wedding season, that is. This Sunday, I’ll be assisting at a wedding mass. Below is my wedding homily. I wish I could tell you some words of wisdom from the homily given at my own wedding, 22 […]

Do you wanna dance?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Twenty two years ago, on May 24, 1986, Siobhain Marie Meyer, throwing common sense aside, became my wife. Happy Anniversary, to the greatest partner, on the dance floor and in life.

On your knees?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A number of people noticed that Pope Benedict distributed communion on the feast of Corpus Christi to faithful who were kneeling. Is something up? Catholic News Service says, no: The four dozen people who received Communion from Pope Benedict XVI […]

“Peace, son”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This shot tells a beautiful story of a father’s love for his son. It comes from Texas Catholic — and an alert reader sent it my way. It’s Shreveport’s new Bishop Michael Duca being embraced by his father Lewis during […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“We prostrate ourselves before a God who, like a Good Samaritan, was first to bow to mankind as a way to rescue and give him new life, who knelt before us to wash our dirty feet. Worshiping the Body of […]

Sing a new song!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last weekend — the weekend when I celebrated the anniversary of my own ordination just one year ago — our neighbors to the east welcomed some new deacons, as the Diocese of Rockville Centre (on Long Island) ordained 13. Visit […]

Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter killed

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Tragic news this morning about Steven Curtis Chapman, the popular Christian recording artist. His young adopted daughter was struck and killed by a car, apparently driven by Chapman’s son. Below is a song he wrote about his daughter a few […]

“We finally got a piece of the pie!”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Because we all could use a laugh right about now (and the feast of that saintly cut-up Philip Neri is just a few days away: here’s Adolph Hitler, as you’ve never seen him before. Trust me: you will howl. God […]

Salvation: anonymous donor gives $20 million to rescue a church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s dispiriting news about the way Cardinal Egan is reassigning priests in his archdiocese, we have this word that someone is coughing up money — a LOT of money — to save a church: An […]

“You want me to do WHAT??”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Back on Ash Wednesday, I preached a little homily about penance, and suggested some things we might do during that penitential season of Lent besides simply giving up chocolate. I mentioned praying for strangers, praying for those we don’t even […]

What’s behind the rise in vocations in St. Louis

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How are vocations in your diocese? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting on the very good news coming out of that archdiocese these days — a surge in priestly vocations, thanks in large part to the efforts of the archbishop: […]

Doing the Egan Shuffle

posted by deacon greg kandra

Rocco got the first scoop on this story yesterday, and now the New York Times is running with it. Seems the Cardinal Archbishop of New York is in a personnel-shuffling mood: Cardinal Edward M. Egan has reassigned almost 10 percent […]

Priest bans autistic boy from parish – UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this story, out of Minnesota. I’m sure the priest must have very good reasons for choosing this course of action. But if I had to ask myself WWJD … well, I don’t […]

Henry Poole is here. Meet him for yourself.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I stumbled on this awesome little movie trailer over at Happy Catholic — a big fat hat tip for this one, Jules! — and now I have to agree: this could be a wonderful movie. I’m hoping so, anyway. Take […]

The narcissist in the rectory

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at Beliefnet, Rod Dreher this weekend blogged about an ongoing conversation with an old friend of his, an ex-priest. Dreher himself is a convert to Catholicism, who left the Church after the scandals of ’02, and is now in […]

God-smacked

posted by deacon greg kandra

That is how this article describes the experience of one newly ordained deacon, who says his spiritual journey was something like Paul on the road to Damascus. It’s a great yarn, from the Grand Forks Herald: His spiritual re-awakening in […]

Randy Pausch, still alive and kicking — and sweeping his wife off her feet

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An alert reader sent me word that the great Randy Pauschwas featured this weekend at the graduation ceremony at Carnegie Mellon. The local press takes note: The crowd rained a second standing ovation warmly on Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon […]

“I want to be a deacon…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I wish I had a dime for every e-mail I’ve received that has started with those six words. That’s usually followed by a request for more information. How long do you study? Can I keep my job? Do you get […]

I laughed until I cried

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

My father-in-law sent this to me and it slays me every time. I don’t know what’s funnier: watching Tim Conway, or watching Harvey Korman’s reactions. Enjoy. And keep Kleenex handy. You’ll be in tears by the end.

“God, you left the prophetess alive to tell the story”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Astonishing stories don’t get more astonishing than this one, from Rod Dreher’s column in the Dallas Morning News: On the afternoon of May 4, Jessica Johnson Palmer took her three children to a park to meet her former boyfriend. According […]

Happy Anniversary!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Where were you on May 19, 2007? This is where I was: face down, on the floor of a basilica in Brooklyn. It was one year ago that I was ordained to the order of deacon. Congratulations and blessings to […]

Homily for May 17, 2008: Trinity Sunday

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can’t quite believe it, but it was one year ago this weekend that I was ordained a deacon. Incredibly, I’m still here. Periodically, people ask me, “What is your favorite part of being a deacon?” Well, first, I think, […]

“Shenanigans”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An astute writer over at the Washington Post’s On Faith blog has taken a hard look at the Catholic League, and the recent dust-up over John Hagee. The writer is, in a word, skeptical: The Catholic League is not the […]

The conversion of Corapi

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Not long ago on EWTN, during Lent, they re-ran this spellbinding talk by one of their most popular preachers. I was wondering if there was a copy online, and sure enough, there’s a shortened version, about 10 minutes long, which […]

The Catholic Church as a franchise

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here’s a different way of looking at the Church, from the Wall Street Journal: Is the U.S. Catholic Church in a state of crisis? The bond market says no. In fact, investors increasingly view the collection plate as a […]

First Jewish woman, first Muslim woman receive degrees from Catholic Theological Union

posted by deacon greg kandra

If this isn’t an interesting sign of the times, I don’t know what is. From the Chicago Tribune: As a teen, Sarah Bier traveled from Chicago to Israel to learn more about Judaism. But her journey to the Holy Land, […]

Rockville Center to ordain 13 new deacons this weekend

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And the long line of men in dalmatics continues. Bless ‘em all. This, from Long Island Catholic. (h/t to the blog A Long Island Catholic.) The scoop follows — and at the link, you can find pictures and bios of […]

And the red hat goes to…

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the most popular parlor games right now — being played in sacristies and vestibules and parking lots across this great land — is figuring out who will be the next Archbishop (and, presumably, Cardinal Archbishop) of New York. […]

From “The Wanderer” to “The Thunderer”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Did you know St. Jerome has a connection to doo-wop? This, from today’s New York Times: An Italian-American bluesman records a song in Florida. An Irish-American disc jockey plays it at a radio station in Woodstock, N.Y. He tells a […]

Archbishop puts an end to lay preaching

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m a little bit amazed that this sort of thing is going on, since the Church’s position on this is pretty clear. But evidently, in some places, lay preaching at mass is not uncommon. But now, in one archdiocese, that’s […]

St. ET?

posted by deacon greg kandra

This intriguing story takes the idea of the New Evangelization to whole new galaxy. Literally. From the AP: Believing that the universe may contain alien life does not contradict a faith in God, the Vatican’s chief astronomer said in an […]

Hagee: nevermind

posted by deacon greg kandra

A high-profile preacher who threw his support behind John McCain — and who, not insignificantly, has referred to the Catholic Church as a “whore” — now says, in effect, “My bad. Sorry.” From the AP: John Hagee, an influential Texas […]

Watch and listen and smile

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If this doesn’t lift your spirits, nothing will. It’s short and sweet. Go ahead. Shut the door and turn up the speakers and enjoy.

Speechless

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s what this fellow says we are, and he makes a very good, and very funny, point. Click and enjoy. H/T Brutally Honest by way of The Anchoress.

Grilling the pope?

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is an interesting little news nugget: an attorney who wants to grill the pontiff about sex abuse in one American archdiocese: Pope Benedict XVI should be questioned soon about clergy sex abuse in the Catholic church because he is […]

The diaconate returns to El Paso

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After being dormant for a long time, the diocese of El Paso diaconate program is alive and kicking — and is about to ordain its first class of deacons in more than a quarter century: For the first time in […]

Trenton ordains 11 deacons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You can add Trenton to the list of dioceses that is busily ordaining deacons this season. The write up is right here: Eleven men, four from Mercer County and one from Burlington County, were ordained as deacons in the Roman […]

“I am brought to tears of joy with the thought of becoming a priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The day after Pentecost, there are increasing signs that the Spirit is at work. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Catholic Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh received an honorary doctorate from St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe over the weekend, capping a week […]

Altar-ed state

posted by deacon greg kandra

As some have reported, President Bush’s wedding gift to his daughter was a limestone altar, which will remain at the ranch (aptly named “Prairie Chapel”) after the wedding. Below is a picture, provided by the White House, that shows most […]

Praying the hours, unceasingly

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I read this, I thought: “This guy sounds more Muslim than Catholic.” And I mean that in a good way. How many Catholics are this devoted to the Liturgy of the Hours? From the East Valley Tribune in Arizona: […]

Pearls before breakfast

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last year, the Washington Post ran a remarkable story about an unusual experiment in the Washington, DC subway. The reporter asked one of the most celebrated violinists of his age to play his fiddle — a priceless Stradivarius — on […]

Bishop: no more communion outside of mass

posted by deacon greg kandra

A bishop in a neighboring diocese, Rockville Center, has just issued a pastoral letter, and he’s cracking down on how and where the Body of Christ is distributed. From Newsday (Long Island, New York): For three decades, students at elite […]

Bling!

posted by deacon greg kandra

That seems to be the operative word for the fellow on the right. (You recognize the gent on the left, I’m sure.) Anyway, he’s none other than Catholicos Karekin II, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church. He visited with Pope […]

Melding

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Another diocese is making some hard choices about closing parishes — but seems to have found an innovative way of handling it that may keep most churches open: The number of parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse […]

“I may not know art, but I know what I like”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

We could all use a little Monty Python right about now, don’t you think? I stumbled on this funny bit: the pope arguing with Michelangelo about his “Last Supper.” Which may explain why it was eventually done by DaVinci. Enjoy.

Come, Holy Ghost: a Pentecost preview

posted by deacon greg kandra

Image: Pentecost, by Deacon Bernard Deschler, The Deacon’s Studio Almighty and ever-living God,you fulfilled the Easter promise by sending us your Holy Spirit.May that Spirit unite the races and nations on earth to proclaim your glory.Grand this through our Lord […]

More U.S. priests are older, foreign-born

posted by deacon greg kandra

This news shouldn’t be a surprise to most people in the pews, but it is awfully interesting: The age and nationality of many of the new priests to be ordained in the United States this year continues a trend of […]

Aloha to Papa

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The pope’s visit is just a happy memory now, but one writer, from Hawaii, has just published her delightful account of her visit to New York. (H/T to Rocco, who always seems to be in the right place at the […]

Start spreading the news: the history of Catholic New York

posted by deacon greg kandra

To help mark the bicentennial of the Archdiocese of New York — or, more accurately, the Diocese — a museum in Gotham is about to open an exhibit that tells the fascinating, sometimes surprising history of Catholics in America’s largest […]

Reporters and religion

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a story that really hit home for me: the struggle of journalists to keep their faith. It comes from The Quill, the journal of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ): When Los Angeles Times reporter William Lobdell was given […]

B16, u r BFF, OMG!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Pope who has an iPod is getting into text messaging. (When is he going to start a blog, like one of his cardinals?) Here’s what is being planned for the World Youth Day gathering later this year: Pope Benedict […]

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Ordination season is fast upon us — and there’s news of some deacons about to be ordained in St. Louis: Archbishop Raymond L. Burke will ordain 13 men to the Order of the Diaconate at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 10, […]

50 reasons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a wonderful video, sent in from a reader (thank you, Mary!) that celebrates the rosary. Watch — and break out the beads!

Why Catholics form key part of Clinton’s base

posted by deacon greg kandra

If it’s Tuesday, that means it’s primary day in an election season that is increasingly feeling like “Groundhog Day.” And Catholics, according to this report, are playing a huge role in one of the campaigns: White Roman Catholics have become […]

Chaput: on priests, politics and battling “pastoral despair”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A nice blogger friend sent this my way last week, and I finally got around to reading it. Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput on politics, priests, laity and a lot of other important things. It’s just superb: Catholic leadership in the […]

A Catholic funeral for a killer?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Years ago, I can remember the debate that raged over whether John Gotti should receive a Catholic funeral and burial. But now comes this story out of Iowa. See what you think: The Catholic Church’s decision to grant Steven Sueppel […]

Something about Mary

posted by deacon greg kandra

A favorite joke: St. Peter is giving Jesus His monthly tour around heaven. Jesus notices there are some new faces who clearly don’t belong there. He’s understandably concerned. “Peter,” says Jesus, “I know who these people are, and some of […]

99 balloons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A fellow deacon sent to me with five simple words: “A must for your blog.” He’s right. Watch this with a box of Kleenex handy. It’s incredible. And beautiful. And it will leave you utterly devastated.

An apparition approved: say hello to Our Lady of Laus

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, it took a while, but the Church — according to this report — has given her approval to an apparition in France: A Roman Catholic bishop said Sunday that the church has officially recognized that the Virgin Mary appeared […]

Homily for May 4, 2008: 7th Sunday of Easter

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few weeks back, there was news of a book that was published – it may be one of the most talked about, written about, and wondered about books in the world. But hardly anyone has read it. There is […]

Laity answering the call to Carmel

posted by deacon greg kandra

We spend a lot of time praying for vocations, but here is a vocation that doesn’t get much attention — but should. Like all religious vocations, it entails commitment and sacrifice and formation. From Florida Catholic in Tallahassee: Seven new […]

Communion and politicians: Wuerl weighs in

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Archbishop of Washington, Donald Wuerl, has now joined Cardinal Egan in discussing the controversy over communion during the pope’s visit. From the Catholic Standard: A decision regarding the refusal of Holy Communion to an individual is one that should […]

Stephen Colbert and Anne Lamott seek grace, eventually

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is pretty damn funny. I wasn’t wild about Lamott’s last book, Grace, Eventually, but her first spiritual memoir, Traveling Mercies is a wondrous and hopeful and often hilarious collection of essays about her search for salvation as a recovering […]

Katie Couric picks Randy Pausch for Time’s list

posted by deacon greg kandra

A gal in my office was asked to suggest a name for Time magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People. She picked someone who is a hero of mine — and a fellow I’ve written about frequently on the blog […]

Catholic leaders barred from Western Wall for wearing crosses

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several years ago, my wife and I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. When we got off the bus at the Western Wall to pray, a woman stopped us and told us we had to either take off our […]

Caviezel’s new passion

posted by deacon greg kandra

The actor who became an international sensation by playing Jesus Christ is doing his level best to honestly and forthrightly live the gospel — and do an immeasurable amount of good. Check out this moving story: Jim Caviezel, the star […]

St. Isaac?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not far from my office is the beautiful church of St. Paul the Apostle, the headquarters for the Paulists. It’s a great place to visit on a lunch hour; they have Adoration on Friday afternoons and a little shop that […]

“The Anchoress” drops her veil

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m sure there will be much buzzing about this in the blogosphere — it’s a slow news day, and people are getting tired of Jeremiah Wright, after all — but it seems one of the most mysterious (and eloquent) voices […]

What makes Giuliani different

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Those who lump him together with the likes of Nancy Pelosi or Ted Kennedy may be mistaken. Or so suggests Elizabeth Scalia, at Inside Catholic: As a politician, Giuliani has never been a legislator or a judge; he has neither […]

“Don’t call me a saint”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That was what Dorothy Day once said, and I alluded to her in my homily for Ascension Thursday. To mark the 75th anniversary of the Catholic Worker, Dorothy Day’s diaries have just been published. And a documentary on her life […]

Ascending

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Bernard Deschler’s beautiful blog The Deacon’s Studio comes the stirring image at the left, his interpretation of The Ascension. Some words of wisdom: “In the Ascension the Savior did not lay aside the garment of flesh with which He […]

Chilly Autumn

posted by deacon greg kandra

This stirred up attention some months back, and some people thought the Royal involved would give up any claim to the throne for the woman he loved. Evidently, no, according to the Times of London: Peter Phillips, the Queen’s eldest […]

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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