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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

Happy Labor Day, from Pope John Paul

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Karol Wojtyla, as a young factory worker in Poland. “I come from your midst. I come from the quarries of Zakrzowek, from the Solvay furnaces in Borek Falecki, and then from Nowa Huta. Through all these surroundings, through my own […]

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“To grow in holiness, that’s what I want to do”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A fellow blogger sent his my way, and it’s too good and too rare to pass up. It’s the story of a teenager who is planning to become — are you sitting down? — a nun. From The Catholic Globe […]

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Ah, Sunday

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Periodically, people ask me what my Sunday is like. It varies week to week, but most of the time it has this common theme: it’s not a day of rest. This weekend was a little different, because it was a […]

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Looking for vocations in the military

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has a high-profile priest (who is also the son of a deacon) who is planning to do a little field work in the months ahead. But his field will be an airfield. This comes to […]

Sarah Palin’s Catholic roots–UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Multiple sources say John McCain’s running mate was baptized Catholic, but after that it gets murky. One blogger put it this way: Like most Pentecostal denominations, going all the way back to the Azusa Revival a century ago, the Assemblies […]

Where were you in ’88?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Twenty years ago this week, a young man was about to drop everything and give his life to God. You can hear his account of that vocation journey right here, via NPR. If you find that tantalizing, you can read […]

Homily for August 31, 2008: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You really have to feel for St. Peter. A couple weeks ago, we encountered him climbing out of a boat during a storm, trying to walk on water. He floundered, and Jesus had to rescue him. Then, last week, he […]

Department of Shameless Begging

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Like what you see here? Well, wander over to the 2008 Blogger’s Choice Awards and put in your two cents (or two clicks) and let them know. Your Humble Blogger is nominated in the category of Best Religion Blog. If […]

“A priest who doesn’t get at least three complaints a day isn’t doing his job”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the most familiar faces in my corner of New York is Msgr. James Lisante, former head of The Christophers. He pops up a lot on television, offering analysis and commentary, and he has a popular interview program on […]

The art of being a deacon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In my own diocese of Brooklyn, the local paper has just profiled one of my brother deacons, who has a unique ministry using his abundant talents as an artist. Frequent visitors to The Bench may know him as the creative […]

Vroom! Meet the grand priest of the Grand Prix

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The gentleman pictured below has a special ministry to race car drivers in Michigan. (Perhaps he also enjoys a good game of checkers? Gotta love that stole.) Check out — ha! — his story right here: Before the big race […]

Sarah’s choice

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Now that the McCain candidacy has become the McCain-Palin ticket, more attention is being focused on the compelling personal story of Sarah Palin. Most inspiring of all: her devotion to her Down Syndrome son, born just this past April. This […]

Surf’s up!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Looking to do a little web surfing over the long holiday weekend? I recently got word of two websites that may be worth your while — both Catholic, both related to the media. The first, Catholic Media House, collects inspirational […]

Meet Sarah Palin

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Alaska’s governor is reportedly John McCain’s pick to be his running mate. What do we know about her? Wikipedia has the scoop. In a nutshell: She’s 44 and was elected governor two years ago. When she was a teenager, she […]

No water shortage: baptisms break a record in LA

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a remarkable piece of news, from the City of Angels, and a wonderful reminder that the Church is continuing to thrive and grow. It comes from Cardinal Roger Mahony himself, in the pages of his archdiocescan newspaper, The […]

Ouch!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Trolling around the ‘net, doing my usual morning reconaissance for Catholic news nuggets, I found this review of Barack Obama’s speech last night, from a Catholic priest: The Obama speech was tedious, verbose, unoriginal. I thought I was at Confirmation […]

The deacon is a gumshoe

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Deacons come from all walks of life, but here’s a new deacon with a particularly unusual resume, from Canada: For almost 40 years, Jean-Paul Tremblay investigated crime, first as a supervisor with the Sûreté du Québec in Low, Hull and […]

Priests and pro-life demonstrators arrested in Denver

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The video above has been making the rounds all day. It shows Catholic priests and pro-life demonstrators being arrested outside the Pepsi Center in Denver. The Denver Post describes what happened: Denver police arrested 13 anti-abortion protesters after they sat […]

Sr. Catherine Pinkerton’s benediction

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader generously sent me this link. Take a look.

Biden and the dignity of work

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While the casual observer — or even the casual Catholic — might think we are one-issue voters,it’s instructive to remember now and then that we aren’t. Joe Biden’s speech last night was a bracing reminder of that. My own father […]

What causes the abortion rate to drop?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new study has some interesting answers. This comes from Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. And the National Catholic Reporter this week has the details: A study of the effects of public policy on abortion rates during the […]

Pinkerton, anyone?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’ve searched in vain for any trace of Sister Catherine Pinkerton’s closing benediction last night at the Democratic National Convention, but no one seems to have it. Even the DNC website, which has all the speeches archived, hasn’t posted it. […]

Everybody’s got a hungry heart

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Everybody needs a place to restEverybody wants to have a homeDont make no difference what nobody saysAint nobody like to be alone. Everybody’s got a hungry heart…” That was how Bruce Springsteen expressed something St. Augustine had understood 1600 years […]

Pelosi “showcased the Peter Principle — and it has nothing to do with St. Peter”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It hasn’t been a very good week for Nancy Pelosi. Further proof: her theological arguments defending abortion are now the subject of a long critical piece by the Associated Press: Politics can be treacherous. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walked […]

Saint Monica

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The mother of St. Augustine. We celebrate her feast today. The beautiful image above comes from St. Monica’s Church, in the Diocese of Trenton, from a study of the saint done by John Nava, who crafted the stunning tapestries of […]

Have you seen her?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The striking image above is a depiction of Mary in Filipino dress. The description here comes from the blog Stopping 2 Ask 4 Directions: The image above, by Araceli Dans, is the first depiction of the Virgin Mary by an […]

Another Casey, another convention — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Opposition to abortion was mentioned from the podium at the Democratic Convention Tuesday night — if only fleetingly. It came when Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey delivered his speech. If you blinked you might have missed it. Here’s the highlight: The economy […]

Pelosi volleys back — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This back-and-forth is starting to look like the U.S. Open. After being strongly criticized for her remarks on television Sunday, the Speaker of the House has now fired off a response. I’m not sure it’s cleared the net: “The Speaker […]

The GOP’s Jesuit

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Democrats may have their sister, but the Republicans can now lay claim to a Jesuit. From James Martin at America comes this tidbit, from the Republican National Committee: Father Edward A. Reese, S.J., president of Brophy Prep in Phoenix, […]

No one is born a priest

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The above vocations recruitment poster comes from the Diocese of Raleigh, by way of WDTPRS. Personally, I prefer this one, with the same sentiment.

There she isn’t: “Miss Sister” contest cancelled

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An alert reader picked up this tidbit and wanted me to spread the word. The much-bally-hooed (and derided) “Miss Sister 2008″ contest has been called off. From Reuters: An Italian priest who had planned an online “pageant” for nuns has […]

Should ‘holy smoke’ come with a warning label?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s something that may leave a few Catholics gasping. From the U.S. News & World Report: At a funeral service I recently attended, a minister burned incense near the casket of the deceased. When the pleasant odor reached my nostrils, […]

A few homily hints from Rome

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A scholar in Rome has taken it upon himself to clarify what he thinks goes into the making of a good homily. Father Dario Viganò, director of “Cinema” and president of Ente dello Spettacolo, an Italian foundation dedicated to the […]

Coming soon: a married priest who will make history

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Now for something completely non-political — and really, quite inspiring. America is about to get another married priest, but one unlike any other. From the Louisville Courier-Journal: David Harris never considered his conversion to Catholicism six years ago to be […]

Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks boldly, and badly — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Evidently, Joe Biden isn’t the only Catholic in the Democratic Party who is grabbing headlines today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on “Meet the Press” yesterday and showed her profound, almost incredible ignorance. And Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput has taken […]

Cardinal Mahony’s moment

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Democrats open their national convention in Denver tonight. This is a good opportunity to look back at another Democratic convention, where a Catholic archbishop appeared before the delegates, and prayed. Thanks to Curt Jester, I was able to dig […]

Just asking

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over the last few days, the absence of Archbishop Charles Chaput from the Democratic Convention roster has gotten a lot of attention, but has a Catholic bishop ever been invited to speak or pray at a Democratic convention? Was Cardinal […]

Biden his time at mass on Sunday

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at MSNBC, they have the only comprehensive account I’ve read so far about how Joe Biden spent the morning after his selection to be Barack Obama’s running mate. He went to mass: One day after debuting as Barack Obama’s […]

Remembering the OTHER Pope John Paul

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

He only served for 33 days, but he is being remembered as “the other Pope John Paul,” on the 30th anniversary of his election. From CNS: Thirty years ago Aug. 26, a conclave of 111 cardinals elected Italian Cardinal Albino […]

A little reminder

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some who have left comments here may have noticed that their comments have been deleted. I don’t like doing that, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and a few observations have crossed that line. I refer you to […]

Searching for “Miss Sister”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you aren’t already sitting down, I suggest you pull up a chair for this bit of news: An Italian priest and theologian said Sunday he is organizing an online beauty pageant for nuns to give them more visibility within […]

Biden’s Catholicism: a roundup — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As you might expect, there’s a lot of attention now being focused on Joe Biden’s religion. You can get a good sampling of ideas below: David Gibson has his thoughts over at his Pontifications blog. He points out the interesting […]

The principal behind “the pact” gets a new job

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Remember the astonishing (and later debunked) story of The Pact? The teenage girls of Gloucester, Massachusetts who pledged together to get pregnant and have babies? The high school principal who first spoke to the media about that has a new […]

Being a deacon: “Like being a grandfather — you don’t want to give it up”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A Michigan paper this weekend offered this very informative piece about the deacons of Detroit: More than two decades ago, John Connors heard God’s voice calling. “There was a little voice inside that said, ‘I have something more for you,’” […]

Homily for August 24, 2008: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you talk to people who are converts to the faith, many will give different reasons for joining the Catholic Church. Sometimes it’s marriage. Sometimes it’s more mysterious – a kind of subliminal pull they can’t explain. Sometimes, it’s something […]

A Catholic on the ticket

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

To the surprise of almost no one, Barack Obamaa picked Delaware Senator Joe Biden for his running mate. Last summer, I linked to a Christian Science Monitor piece about Biden and his faith. (The article is perhaps the definitive glimpse […]

Nun to deliver prayer at Democratic convention

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Denver’s Archbishop hasn’t been invited to speak, but someone else has. This from the Cleveland Plain Dealer: An 86-year-old nun from Cleveland who works for a Catholic anti-poverty lobbying group has been selected to deliver the closing prayers one night […]

New poll: churches should stay out of politics

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The results of a new Pew Research Center poll point to a subtle but discernible shift in how Americans view the intersection of politics and religion. Take a look: Some Americans are having a change of heart about mixing religion […]

Think your life is hard?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Think again. Read this item from the Catholic News Agency and — in the words of that great old hymn — ponder anew what the Almighty can do: Lucia Otgongerel was born in Mongolia 30 years ago without hands or […]

This is the kingdom

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you have a moment, wander over to The Deacon’s Studio and have a look-see. Brooklyn deacon and artist Bernard Deschler (a.k.a. “Boinie”) periodically posts his art (including some sly cartoons) that offer a different slant on the church, faith, […]

“The Dark Knight” of the soul

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A lot has been written about “The Dark Knight” — finding nuances in the tale that shed light on our own troubled times. But now, for something completely different, comes this intriguing analysis by Margaret Stahl in America: I saw […]

“I’m far too busy to feel slighted that the priesthood isn’t open to women”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Another person has added her voice to the ongoing debate about women becoming priests — and it’s a rare contribution from a mainstream secular newspaper, the Wall Street Journal. This is from conservative commentator and editor Kathryn Jean Lopez : […]

Rhode Island bishop: stop the raids

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The bishop overseeing America’s smallest state is making some big news this morning. This crackled over the wire a short time ago: Rhode Island’s Roman Catholic bishop is calling on U.S. authorities to halt mass immigration raids and says agents […]

“Forgiveness does not mean forgetting”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

At a moment when we’re hearing more about sexual predators in the church, and efforts to cover up for them, Sister Camille D’Arienzo offers these challenging words from the pages of America: Holding onto anger has been likened to taking […]

Signs of faith: bringing Christ to the deaf

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A rare and unusual way of celebrating the mass is about to begin in the Archdiocese of Newark — mass for the deaf, celebrated by a priest using American Sign Language. And the person spearheading the effort is a local […]

Roiling over Ruether: “How much more anti-Catholic can you get?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Should a theologian who has publicly stated her support for abortion rights be allowed to teach at a Catholic college? That’s not a trick question. It’s at the center of a debate now swirling in California. From the San Diego […]

A lion named Christian

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While doing research for a project at work, I stumbled on this clip. Call me a sentimental sap, but it got to me. Watch and enjoy.

Will Bourgeois recant? “No way.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The priest who took part in a women’s ordination ceremony has met with his superiors. And this afternoon, the National Catholic Reporter filed this summary: Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who concelebrated a Mass at a women’s ordination ceremony earlier this […]

Beatification set for parents of St. Therese of Lisieux

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The pope has now given his formal approval, and the parents of one of the most beloved saints of modern times are on track for beatification this fall. From CNS: Pope Benedict XVI has approved the beatification of Louis and […]

Why are these men smiling?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I think we all know why. They look like they’re having a blast, don’t they? They’re Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (a.k.a. Benedict Groeschel’s merry band) and I saw this great picture over at The Anchoress. Visit her joint and […]

“Silence” is golden: experiencing “Into Great Silence”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m finishing off the last of a pint of Haagen-Dazs (Bailey’s Irish Cream, if you must know) and as I lick the spoon I heave a deep sigh and think: “Those monks can’t do this.” “Those monks” are the men […]

Lining up in Louisville

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some happy news from the Bluegrass State: the Archdiocese of Louisville will be adding 14 more deacons to its ranks at the end of this week. The local Catholic paper, the Record, has the news, for the record, including brief […]

McCain’s cross

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While no one is saying it’s not true, at least one prominent blogger is having trouble finding an accurate and consistent account of John McCain’s now-famous “cross in the dirt” story from his days as a P.O.W. Andrew Sullivan was […]

The Catholicism of “Mad Men”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m not sure if anybody noticed, but while the world has been enraptured by the Olympics and Mark Phelps, one of the most talked about and acclaimed dramas on television has Gone Catholic. It’s “Mad Men,” the compellingly watchable and […]

Shrouded in mystery

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An issue that some scientists claimed is settled — the age of the iconic Shroud of Turin — may not be. From the Los Angeles Times: The tie that binds John and Rebecca Jackson is about 4 feet by 14 […]

Yahweh and Dan Schutte: the story behind “You Are Near”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While the head-scratching and hand-wringing continues over the “Ixnay Yahweh” decision, composer Dan Schutte is talking about what led him to write “You Are Near,” and reveals that he’s revising it. H/T to Catholic Sensibility. Here’s what Schutte had to […]

“He completes me”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Diocese of Richmond just got its very first vocation that isn’t a priest, nun brother or deacon. Take a look: Fresh-faced and vivacious, Bernadette Snyder says she grew up in Virginia assuming Catholic girls like her either became nuns […]

Homily for August 17, 2008: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This week, in the Boston Globe, I read the story of an elderly couple named Sol and Rita Rogers. They’ve been married 61 years. They’ve raised a family and lived a long and happy life together. A few years ago, […]

New Minnesota chancellor: “The faithful have the right to approach suspended priests for the sacraments” — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has a new chancellor for canonical affairs joining the staff next week: Jennifer M. Haselberger, bishop’s delegate for canonical affairs of the Diocese of Fargo, N.D., will join the Archdiocese of St. Paul […]

What all the really COOL movie stars are wearing

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A Pope John Paul II tee shirt! Here’s Robert Downey, Jr., showing his true colors. Check out American Papist for more on this swanky attire. And, it turns out, you can get one of your own right here.

Where were you 20 years ago?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Watching this again, it almost looks like ancient history. Were we ever that carefree? But it’s a nice summer spritzer that actually echoes a familiar theme of the gospels: “Be not afraid.” (I’m not sure this is quite what Pope […]

Garbo talks!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And chants! The Anchoress’s elegant and eloquent literary voice has long been a force in cyberspace — and now you can hear the real thing. Late yesterday, as part of her online retreat (ending tonight) she chanted the vespers of […]

Because it’s August again

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I first posted this item last summer. Judging from what I see at mass, maybe it’s time for a refresher. So here: Bulletin Announcements I’d Like To See.

Honor thy speed limit

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m sure this is a nice idea. A thoughtful and civic-minded notion, really. But aren’t there more important things the Church should be worrying about, above and beyond the “pastoral care of roadways”? From Catholic News Agency: The Secretary of […]

You are near

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is just too good to resist. Hot on the heels of the kerfuffle about using the name YAHWEH in liturgy, I stumbled on this gorgeous rendition of “You Are Near.” Watch. Listen. It’s lovely. And the sign language interpretation […]

“I feel we are tampering with the sacred…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Maryknoll priest who participated in — and preached during — the ceremony ordaining a woman has been called out to the woodshed. CNS has the details: Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois will meet Aug. 18 with the three members of […]

Who will be giving the closing prayer at the Democratic convention?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The answer might surprise you. This comes from Steve Waldman at Beliefnet: One of the most interesting evangelicals these days is Joel Hunter, senior pastor at Northland Church in Florida. He does not consider himself a part of the religious […]

Homily for August 15, 2008: Solemnity of the Assumption

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Mary set out in haste…” Every year when we encounter this gospel reading on this feast, I’m struck that Mary is on a journey. The excerpt from Luke begins and ends with her traveling – embarking, really, on the greatest […]

To the Max

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Today marks the feast of one of the great martyrs of the last century, Maximilian Kolbe. And, fittingly, The Anchoress offers us — as part of her ongoing online retreat — some reflections on sacrifice. Giving more than you ever […]

Walking the plank: the Democrats and abortion

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I looked over the proposed new language about abortion in the Democratic party platform, I shrugged. That’s it? Is that the best they could do? The plank still “strongly and unequivocally” endorses Roe v. Wade and the right to […]

“Days with my father”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

My friends, this is what web logs were made for. If you have a few minutes — or more — visit this site, Days With My Father. It’s brilliant, and brave, and brutally honest. It’s also unexpectedly beautiful, in every […]

The first “Chinese” Olympic star

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While the world watches in fascination the Olympics in Beijing, Asia News has taken a moment to remind us of the original Chinese champion, who gained fame more recently from the movie “Chariots of Fire.” (Okay now: everyone start humming […]

Note by note

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Looking ahead to this Sunday, and preparing my homily, I have been re-reading the story of Canaanite woman. The episode has many facets, but what strikes me, again and again, is this woman’s brave persistence and perseverance. (You’ll have to […]

NFP: It’s not just a Catholic thing

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just in time for the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, here’s some surprising news: some of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters are riding the Natural Family Planning (NFP) wave. This comes from the Austin American-Statesman in Texas: Phaedra Taylor abstained […]

Catholic mother gives new meaning to being “pro-choice”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A Catholic mother is making news this week out on Long Island, for refusing to have her son vaccinated. A deacon friend and classmate sent this my way, and it’s an eye-opener. From Newsday: A Bayport mother has asked the […]

Yahweh? No way.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican has decided to crack down on one seemingly inoffensive word that crops up in some popular hymns — and it could soon change what we hear at mass. From CNS: In the not-too-distant future, songs such as “You […]

One more reason I love penguins

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s Opus. While The Anchoress is leading her little retreat, here’s another happy reminder of why we all need to take a breath — and take a break. God bless Opus. Dare I say…Opus Dei?

Meanwhile, over at The Anchoress…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…her online retreat is going gangbusters, and she’s just posted a heart-stirring meditation on energy: There are things seen, and unseen. Energy is seen and unseen, and all around us. God is all around us, too – seen amongst us […]

Is an entire Episcopalian diocese about to cross the Tiber?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a pretty amazing piece of news, especially coming from a secular newspaper in Texas: an entire Episcopalian diocese may be preparing to become Catholic. From The Dallas Morning News: A delegation of Episcopal priests from Fort Worth paid […]

Here comes Henry Poole

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A couple months back, I blogged about the new movie “Henry Poole Is Here“, and posted the very cool movie trailer. The movie is opening Friday — perhaps, not coincidentally, the Feast of the Assumption — and reviews are trickling […]

This old priest

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Call it the Energizer Vocation. With the shrinking number of priests, more men are being encouraged to keep working…and working…and working. My own pastor is 72. It’s not uncommon to find others in their mid-70s. And it’s rare to find […]

“This blessed moment”: new deacons in Belleville

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A deacon from Illinois wanted me to know they’ve been busy ordaining more men in Belleville — and no, they aren’t priests. From the Belleville Messenger: Seven men were ordained permanent deacons July 26 at St. Peter Cathedral in Belleville […]

The Madonna March

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just in time for an important Marian feast — the Assumption — a large group of soldiers is on the march, headed toward a famous shrine devoted to Mary. Amazingly, most of the Americans on this little pilgrimage aren’t even […]

Priest concelebrates, delivers homily at woman’s ordination

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A deacon friend sent me this startling story, about a priest who took part in a ceremony ordaining a woman — and even delivered the homily: Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, long associated with the cause of Christian non-violence and attempts […]

Hero or heretic?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It just may be the most famous — or infamous — parish in Missouri, known far beyond the borders of its own archdiocese. And this week, the local paper takes a look at life at St. Stanislaus Kostka — and […]

St. Clare, the saint of clarity

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As she kicks off the first full day of her online retreat, The Anchoress reminds us that today is the feast of St. Clare, patroness of television. Trust me: this is a medium urgently in need of heavenly intercession! The […]

Baltimore and the Legionaries of Christ: an update

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After weeks of sometimes high-profile controversy, it appears that the Archdiocese of Baltimore is cracking open the door to the Legionaries of Christ: Warned by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien that its closely held activities must become more transparent if they […]

Retreating with The Anchoress

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After many weeks of planning, The Anchoress is doing something altogether original. For the next few days, she’s leading an online “retreat.” I’m delighted and humbled to say that she’s asked me to be a part of this innovative enterprise, […]

It happened in Lubbock

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Marian apparitions and messages are not all that rare — although those that are formally approved by the Church are. One that has not received that approval happened 20 years ago in Texas. It had a powerful impact on the […]

“Father Damien, I need your help…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last month, it was reported that Blessed Damien would finally be named a saint. Another miracle, we were told, had been attributed to his intervention. Now the woman who received that miracle is at last telling her story. From the […]

“O glorious St. Lawrence, blessed deacon of the church…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

August the 10th marks the feast of a great deacon and martyr of the Church, St. Lawrence. He famously died while being burned to death on a grill. (Significantly, the feast day which precedes his, St. Teresa Benedicta of the […]

Catholic vote? What Catholic vote?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After the New York Times’ John Broder took a hard look at Barack Obama and the Catholic vote, Mark Silk — a blogger who’s been following the election and religious issues — took exception to it. And, I have to […]

“Will Franklin, your father loves you”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Those were the words that singer Steven Curtis Chapman spoke to his teenage son moments after a devastating event: while driving the family’s SUV, the boy accidently struck and killed his little sister. Some weeks back, I blogged about that […]

Little Rock’s big class

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This picture appears this week in the diocesan paper of Little Rock, Arkansas Catholic, celebrating the largest diaconate class ever. The item notes: For the first time, the diocese is hosting formation classes in Spanish as well as English. The […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Do you feel like there’s a way in which God is disappointed with you now? Yes, absolutely. Every day. Every day. Because I am like anyone else. I revert to bad, selfish behavior. I try to make myself not do […]

“Seminarians learned from their parents how to live and how to love”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This story caught my attention for a variety of reasons — not least, because the event in question involved my old parish, where I served almost 40 years ago (gulp) as an altar boy. The archdiocese sponsors a special day […]

Benedict: I used to be “more severe” — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The full transcript of this exchange should be interesting reading. But for now, we have to content ourselves with this account, via John Allen: Pope Benedict XVI told a group of priests yesterday that he was once “more severe” in […]

An engaging story out of WYD

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I saw this item a week or so ago and kept meaning to post it, but other things intruded. It’s heartfelt, and hopeful, and sweetly romantic. Anyway: I’ll let the story speak for itself: World Youth Day 2008 will always […]

Casey at the bat: will he solve Barack Obama’s “Catholic problem”?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Will Barack Obama’s stand on abortion split Catholics? The New York Times ponders that very possibility: Sixteen years ago, the Democratic Party refused to allow Robert P. Casey Sr., then the governor of Pennsylvania, to speak at its national convention […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With the gutted Atomic Bomb Dome in the background, hundreds of paper lanterns float on the Motoyasu River at a memorial service for the atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008. The western Japanese city marked the […]

I’m one in a million

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Or, actually, a little better than that. One in 837,617. “The Deacon’s Bench” is the 837,617th most visited website in the world. Or so says Alexa.com. I have no idea if that’s good or not. Drop by the site and […]

A Pauline apology

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last week, it seems, a certain television anchorwoman misidentified the location of next month’s GOP convention. And the other day, she issued an on-air apology — which is notable for (among other things) making a reference to the Apostle of […]

“I will fulfill my religious vocation in another way”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A friend sent this my way, and it’s a stunner. It’s a letter that was evidently written in 1995 by a nun who became pregnant after being raped by a Serb soldier in Yugoslavia. She is addressing her Mother Superior. […]

“An oasis for prayer” in Atlanta

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed some wonderful private retreats outside Atlanta, at the Trappist Monastery of the Holy Spirit, in Conyers. But that’s not the only Catholic house for spiritual seekers in the area. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning profiles […]

New missal now available online

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For those who just can’t wait, the first parts of the new mass translation are now available online at the USCCB website. James Martin, S.J. takes note: The changes start at the very beginning of the Mass. In answer to […]

Hey, hey we’re the Monkees…with Phil Collins

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is supposedly one of the most successful ads ever aired in Britain. It’s definitely different. H/T Andrew Sullivan, who thinks it has particular meaning in this election year.

Tradition, schmadition — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A friend and former colleague from CBS, Dick Meyer, has weighed in on a phenomenon he knows well: the difficulty of some to embrace traditional faith. By way of introduction…Dick has just published a new book “Why We Hate Us”, […]

Nancy Pelosi, communicant

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This news item didn’t get much attention — probably because of the vast (cough) audience (cough) of C-SPAN — but it’s noteworthy: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she, unlike other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, has not clashed […]

Priest who planned papal visit charged with sex abuse

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s happened again. A priest has been accused of sex abuse and removed from ministry. This time, though, he has an unusually high profile. From the New York Times: It may not be the most heavily attended church in the […]

A prayer for priests

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Since this is the feast of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests, I thought it would be good to remember all our priests in a special way. I found this prayer online, and thought it was very meaningful: Almighty […]

And for another $100, they’ll throw in a seatbelt, too

posted by deacon greg kandra

This has nothing to do with religion — unless it provokes you to utter the Lord’s name in vain. (In which case, perhaps it has something to do with the Sacrament of Reconciliation…) But you can’t make this stuff up: […]

Getting out of Dodge

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Scott Dodge, that is. And if you visit his dandy blog, you will get a lot out of it. He’s got plenty of news, and ample spiritual food for thought. If his name seems vaguely familiar, I blogged about him […]

Running for God with the “Iron Friar”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some weeks back, I posted an item on how too many priests aren’t fit — physically, that is. Now comes this nifty news item about a physically fit friar — the “Iron Friar” — who puts all of us to […]

“Once Upon A Time”: a Randy Pausch musical tribute

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a lovely ode to the great Randy Pausch, from Tom Dermody, editor of The Catholic Post newspaper of Peoria, Illinois. Watch and weep. H/T to Catholic News Service blog.

How I spent my summer vacation: seminarian edition

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you ever wondered what seminarians do during their summer vacation — I know that has been on your mind, hasn’t it? — the Florida Catholic newspaper has this intriguing profile of how some men in St. Petersburg are spending […]

Jingle writers set the rosary to music

posted by deacon greg kandra

Anyone wondering how the Church is using new media to reach the masses might just want to download this unusual selection to their iPod: the rosary, set to contemporary music. From the AP, via a newspaper in Salt Lake City: […]

O’Malley at 5 — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hard to believe, but it’s been five years since Sean O’Malley became the Archbishop of Boston, replacing the notorious Bernard Law, who had left in disgrace several months earlier. I’ll be up front about this: I’m an O’Malley fan. (It’s […]

Meet Margaret

posted by deacon greg kandra

With so much attention over the last few days being directed at the anniversary of Humanae Vitae a certain amount of attention should also go to the woman pictured on the left. She is Mrs. Margaret Sanger, the founder of […]

Homily for August 3, 2008: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was growing up, my mother was a food service director and dietician at a big hospital outside Washington DC. I remember that one of the cookbooks she had was called “Food for 50” – it contained all these […]

I’m back!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As many of you may have heard, there was a Blogger/Google glitch — a “brain fart,” someone called it — which shut down my little blog (and, it seems, hundreds of others) for a couple days. It now appears to […]

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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