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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

June 2008 Archives

Finding Jesus at Disney World…and some nuns, too!

posted by deacon greg kandra

A couple weeks back, I blogged about my vacation at Disney World. I got some nice reaction to the piece, which I ended up re-publishing (in slightly altered form) in my parish bulletin. Imagine my surprise when I got an […]

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Louisville at 200: “It’s like our own Yankee Stadium event”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The good people of Louisville were celebrating yesterday at Slugger Field, marking the 200th anniversary of the Archdiocese (founded, originally, in Bardstown, just a stone’s throw from Thomas Merton’s old home, the Abbey of Gethsemane) The Courier-Journal has the story, […]

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Ireland’s Mary Robinson on her faith, her politics, and more

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The much-in-the-news Sally Quinn recently interviewed the former president of Ireland, who had some things to say about her own clashes with the Catholic Church, and her controversial stand on family planning. Take a look.

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Chaput cracks down on clergy involvement in politics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Denver’s Archbishop — perhaps hoping to avoid the confusion and PR misery that followed L’Affair Pfleger in Chicago — is about to draw a line in the sand for his own priests on the subject of politics and the pulpit. […]

More on the Hoosier deacons — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several days ago, I mentioned The Indy 25, a big batch of deacons ordained in Indianapolis in its first-ever class. Now, a local paper has picked up the story: The Archdiocese of Indianapolis, cut from the wilderness nearly 175 years […]

“That isn’t a cookie”: a true story

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With the pontiff’s recent decision on communion still freshly in our minds, a true story: One of our priests today came back into the sacristy after communion, tossed his stole on the counter and fumed, “Did you see that? Did […]

A proper Church baptism

posted by deacon greg kandra

Fans of the angel-voiced young singer will want to take note of this tidbit, from the British press: Charlotte Church and Gavin Henson had their “little angel” Ruby christened yesterday in a small family ceremony…followed by a massive knees-up in […]

Listening early for The Call: inside Brooklyn’s Cathedral Prep

posted by deacon greg kandra

I was surprised and delighted to see a brief article in this morning’s New York Times about Cathedral Prep Seminary in Elmhurst, Queens. By day, it’s a high school for young men; by night, it is used by the diaconate […]

Homily for June 29, 2008: Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

posted by deacon greg kandra

(This Sunday morning, my parish is installing new ushers, EMHCs and lectors. This is the homily for that mass.) This Sunday, we mark a special feast in the church calendar, honoring two pillars of the faith, Saint Peter and Saint […]

Georgia on my mind

posted by deacon greg kandra

The diaconate is becoming such a presence in the Church, even the secular media are sitting up and taking notice. This, from the Savannah Morning News, in Georgia: The Rev. Bienvenido Perez Jr. assists at Mass every weekday at the […]

May His Force be with you…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…to which we should reply, I guess, “And also with you.” The tee shirt design above is part of a wry and at times irreverent gallery of spiritually-inspired designs on display over at Beliefnet — and it even includes a […]

Burke moves up — and on

posted by deacon greg kandra

Big news out of the Vatican this morning, as one of America’s leading canon lawyers — and one of its most prominent lightning rods — gets a promotion. From Rocco: This morning, Pope Benedict named Archbishop Raymond Burke of St […]

Big news in Little Rock: its largest deacon class yet

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The diaconate vocation keeps growing by leaps and bounds — and this item from the diocesan paper in Arkansas confirms it: The Diocese of Little Rock has accepted 50 men to begin the diaconate formation process, making it the largest […]

Maybe it’s because I show an over-reliance on Cliff Notes

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

TV Reviews

When Jesus met Sally: a non-Catholic receives communion

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new front seems to have opened up on the communion wars — and it involves someone who isn’t even Catholic. Fr. James Martin, S.J. has the scoop: In one of the strangest religious stories of the month, Sally Quinn, […]

When in Rome…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…you will receive communion from the Pope on your knees. That’s the word from the Catholic News Service: Receiving the Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling before the pope will become the norm at papal liturgies, said the Vatican’s liturgist. […]

Take up your cross-stitch, and follow me

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve heard of one or two priests who, for relaxation, like to knit. I kid you not. But this the first I’ve heard of a priest who likes to cross-stitch: Who would guess that a brawny, six-foot plus, motorcycle-riding guy […]

The “pact”…unpacked

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Remember the story of the pregnancy pact that swept the media last week? Um, er, uh…nevermind. As a footnote: could someone, please, slap Chris Cuomo?

“Ain’t you forgettin’ something?”: the ad that was banned in Britain

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The commercial below has stirred up a lot of controversy in the United Kingdom — this article explains why — but you have to see it to believe it. The ad has since been pulled. Frankly, it’s no more shocking […]

Twelve angry men — and one has a mitre

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, this is something you don’t see every day: news that an American bishop is going to perform a valuable civic duty, and spend time doing what so many of us dread. I refer, of course, to jury duty. From […]

Wise words on preaching to the choir

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone who has ever climbed into a pulpit to deliver a sermon can appreciate these words from Fr. John F. Kavanaugh, S.J., in America: As a preacher myself, I know there are few moments to compare with the affection and […]

“Religion is one thing they encourage you to wear on your sleeve”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Are the U.S. service academies in the business of proselytizing? That seems to be the idea in this article from Wednesday’s New York Times — and, not surprisingly, not everyone is happy about it: Three years after a scandal at […]

The Italian job

posted by deacon greg kandra

Ordinarily, I’d say that any excuse to put Anne Hathaway’s picture on my blog is a good one. But there actually is a good reason for it: her ex-boyfriend is in big trouble, for claiming close connections to the Vatican: […]

How Christian readers made “The Shack” a smash

posted by deacon greg kandra

In the unlikeliest of places — the New York Times — they had a story today about the unlikeliest of best-sellers, a Christian novel about God’s love. Take a look: Eckhart Tolle may have Oprah Winfrey, but “The Shack” has […]

Forgive us our debts: one pastor’s solution

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert reader sent this my way: the story of a pastor in the Archdiocese of New York who is standing up for his church — and walking: Got a problem? Walk it off! That’s what Monsignor John Budwick is […]

Woo hoo! Swiss Guard swag!

posted by deacon greg kandra

What to give the Vaticanista who has everything? Those sharp-eyed folks over at the Catholic News Service have stumbled on a new web site for buying souvenirs of the Swiss Guard. Everything from DVD’s to watches to caps. Personally, I’m […]

Give us this day our daily workout

posted by deacon greg kandra

When was the last time you saw a physically fit Catholic priest? Jack LaLanne in a Roman collar? The Catholic News Service has taken notice and is offering some advice for the long weeks of Ordinary Time: With studies confirming […]

Baltimore’s Archbishop holds meeting over Legion of Christ controversy

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over the weekend, the Archbishop of Baltimore had a meeting to discuss his ongoing concerns over the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. A priest who was there has blogged about it: On Saturday, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien met with a […]

Catholic voters appear to give the edge to Democrats

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new report has some intriguing factoids about Catholic voting patterns — and what may lie ahead later this year. Like almost every other poll and projection, it bodes well for Obama: lthough Catholic Democrats outnumber Catholic Republicans in the […]

Free hugs!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Hot on the heels of this great video of a young man dancing his way around the world, my brother-in-law dropped me an email and said to go to YouTube and search “free hugs.” I’d never seen this before. It’s […]

Carlin at his best: “Baseball vs. Football”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Around the newsroom today, more than a few people have said, “You know, his last HBO special wasn’t that good. He was pretty angry and bitter at the end.” But to appreciate George Carlin and his talent, look no further […]

America’s faith: “3,000 miles wide and three inches deep”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Those busy people at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life have released more details of their ongoing study of what we Americans believe. Seems that we believe what we know — but what we know may not be […]

Pfleger returns

posted by deacon greg kandra

Obama’s controversial priest, who tore into Hillary Clinton a few weeks back and ended up suspended as a result, is back. Fr. Michael Pfleger returned to the pulpit at his home parish yesterday, and the Chicago Tribune was there: Comparing […]

The final irony for George Carlin

posted by deacon greg kandra

News this morning that George Carlin has died, at the still-young age of 71. Carlin was brilliant at seeing the absurdity of life; very little of it, I think, truly made sense to him. “Why do they lock gas station […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lisa Stanford embraces her daughter, Jessica Aiello, outside her house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Three feet of water flooded Ms. Stanford’s 108-year-old home. Photo: by Todd Heisler, The New York Times

“A kind of freaky horror show” — CORRECTION

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here in New York, you see the posters everywhere, and it’s jarring: people striking a pose, maybe dribbling a basketball or reading a book. But they don’t have any skin. And you can see their organs. It’s life, seen in […]

A new deacon: making room at the inn

posted by deacon greg kandra

In Massachusetts, there’s a great story that shows both the diversity and uniqueness of the diaconate vocation. The new member of the clergy is an innkeeper in New England (why do I keep picturing Bob Newhart?), and a convert, who […]

The dance of life

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Stop everything and just watch. This is just plain wonderful and will make you smile and laugh and cry and want to get up out of your chair and dance. A big fat hat tip to The Anchoress for spreading […]

Because it’s June, and we don’t hear this version as much…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As more brides prepare to head down the aisle this month, let’s take a moment for a little Ave Maria, okay? The Guonod version, as sung by Kathleen Battle. This, I think, is bliss.

Bringing ‘em back

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the topics tackled by the USCCB (when the bishops weren’t riding the teacups at Disney World) was how to woo back lapsed Catholics. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch talked to a few experts about that: In the St. Louis […]

The Indy 25

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got a heads-up the other day from no less than two people that the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is about to make a little history, ordaining its very first class of deacons. Twenty five men will receive the sacrament of […]

More on the Legionaries in Baltimore

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few days back, John Allen interviewed Baltimore’s Archbishop, who had some pretty stern words about the controversial Legionaries of Christ. I posted an item on it, and got some interesting responses. Allen has now published a follow-up in this […]

“Trouble in Madison”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That was the subject line on an e-mail I received from a deacon friend, who forwarded me this article from a newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but it looks like something we should keep an […]

The Pact

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Much has been written, and debated, about the bewildering news that 17 teenage girls from Gloucester, Massachusetts evidently made a pact to get pregnant. This is a tragedy. But, as this post over at Beliefnet reminds us, it may also […]

Boston’s diaconate ordination

posted by deacon greg kandra

While I was on vacation, Boston added 26 more deacons to Beantown’s roster. And the website of the diocesan paper, The Pilot, has a terrific photo essay, complete with audio. (The full write-up can be found right here.) This, I […]

Noonan: “Tim was normal”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An Irish Catholic gal from Long Island muses on an Irish Catholic guy from upstate New York. Here’s Peggy Noonan on Russert: One of the greatest statements, the most piercing, was something Chuck Todd said when he talked on a […]

The apple, near the tree

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you didn’t see it yesterday, put down your coffee, shut the door, and click the image below. Luke Russert at his father’s memorial service. Just watch. This kid’s got it.

Finding Jesus at Disney World

posted by deacon greg kandra

As I mentioned elsewhere, I was away for several days, visiting Disney World. Don’t laugh. This has become an annual ritual for me and my wife. We first went there in 1996, for a one-time vacation, to get it over […]

“Baby Priest Camp”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Now here’s an idea I can really get behind. It’s something referred to, only with a a little irreverence, as Baby Priest Camp. And it’s written about over at the blog “Gift and Mystery”, run by the newly ordained (okay, […]

“Oh oh, come take my hand, we’re riding out tonight to case the Promised Land”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Watching the Tim Russert memorial at the Kennedy Center this afternoon on MSNBC, I saw Bruce Springsteen pop up, and he sang this tribute to the newsman, his classic song “Thunder Road”: The screen door slams, Mary’s dress wavesLike a […]

Voice of the Faithful weighs in on women priests

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few weeks back, the Vatican decided to draw a line in the sand over the ordination of women as priests. Women who had been ordained illicitly and invalidly were to be automatically excommunicated. Now, Voice of the Faithful has […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“It has all been said so eloquently in the tributes that have come from some of the highest authorities in our nation and even around the world. … All that remains is to say thank you to the good and […]

“Raised by Jesuits”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The invaluable James Martin over at America has reminded us of something easily overlooked: Tim Russert was “an honorary Jesuit” who was educated by Jesuits, and spoke often at Jesuit commencements: Russert seemed to embody a certain ideal of Jesuit […]

It’s the time of your life, so live it well

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I heard that song the other day and it brought back happy memories of this delightful Pixar/Disney flick “A Bug’s Life.” The closing credits, with the out-takes and bloopers, are priceless. And the song is a Randy Newman gem. We […]

Flying the faith-filled skies. Or not.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone who’s flown lately knows that we have a lot to pray about. “Dear God, please don’t let them cancel my flight.” “Heavenly Father, I pray my bag does not have to be checked and that I don’t have to […]

Why Russert mattered

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last Sunday, after I preached about Tim Russert in my homily, several people came up to me after mass to tell me how much he meant to them. One woman took my hand and explained,”When I heard the news,” she […]

“Preach the realities in a way that our people are impressed”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Priests, deacons and seminarians got an earful recently at a conference called “You Will Receive Power!,” focusing on how to grow in holiness. Juding from this account, it touched not-so-subtly on the topic of preaching, too: “I think that the […]

Behold, they make all things new

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This will make you smile: one memorable way to mark a crosswalk countdown. From Los Angeles, of course. H/T to Andrew Sullivan. Crosswalk Countdown – GuerilLA from Kelly Herrington on Vimeo. How cool is that?

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

A power company truck is pictured in floodwaters in Coralville, Iowa, Sunday, June 15, 2008. Photo by: AP/Sue Ogrocki.

“I am Our Lady of America”

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the more curious — and perhaps least-known — reported appearances of the Blessed Mother occurred in the United States about 50 years ago, and it’s still prompting debate among the faithful. She’s called “Our Lady of America,” and […]

“Take up your remote control and follow me”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s been a while since I found something blog-worthy in the world of MCPF Stephen Colbert. So I was delighted to surf around this morning and find this choice nugget, about his recent address at Princeton: There are two Stephen […]

Remembering Russert

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the more interesting Princes of the Church is a also a journalist — and he’s fondly remembering another journalist (and a prince in his own way), Tim Russert. From CNS: U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley had lunch in […]

Serving the Father, while being a father

posted by deacon greg kandra

For Father’s Day, a paper in Salt Lake City ran a terrific profile of a deacon with a young and growing family. How does it do it? Take a look below. (A jolly H/T to Jeff the Curt Jester, btw!): […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Wonder what these guys are talking about? Probably not baseball.

Charm City less-than-charmed by Legionaries of Christ

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the most famous — some might say, infamous — religious orders in the world is getting something of a cold shoulder from the Archbishop of Baltimore. John Allen reports, from this week’s NCR: Demanding what he calls greater […]

The City of Angels welcomes new deacons — and their wives

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert reader sent this my way: an article from The Tidings, the Catholic paper of Los Angeles, on the ordination of deacons there last week. Read closely — there are some interesting details about the ceremony and the inclusion […]

Homily for June 15, 2008: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

I just got back from two weeks in Florida on vacation, and in between spending time with Mickey Mouse, and a few of his friends, I did something a little unusual: I attended the first mass of a newly ordained […]

Pontificating

posted by deacon greg kandra

A hearty Deacon’s Bench welcome to a bouncing new blog — “Pontifications”, over at Beliefnet, authored by the gifted Catholic journalist, author, sage (and convert) David Gibson. Gibson is perhaps best-known for his two books, “The Coming Catholic Church” and […]

“Our beloved colleague Tim Russert died this afternoon”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A clearly emotional Tom Brokaw spoke those words Friday afternoon. Our world, and the world of journalism, is poorer without Tim Russert in it. Brokaw said, in part: “Tim loved his family, his faith, his country, politics, the Buffalo Bills, […]

“He’s a great guy and a great priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s the sentiment expressed below about a priest who was falsely accused of sexual misconduct — and has finally been cleared. I couldn’t agree more. I know this priest. He traveled with us to Italy on pilgrimage in 2004. I […]

On priests, politics, and the pulpit

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Sifting through my “in” box, I found this very good piece by Fr. James Martin, picking up on a theme that was blazing hot when I left here: the notion of priests preaching politics from the pulpit. I don’t know […]

I’m back!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Did you miss me? Ha. I didn’t think so. I hope to get up to speed in the next day or two and post some things. Meantime, to the left is a picture from our vacation. If you’re stumped — […]

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 immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

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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