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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“About 80 percent in this town are Catholic but they’re still voting for Obama. The state is very conservative but everybody pays attention to politics and the issue here like anywhere else is a town that needs jobs. The economy […]

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Be a saint: All Saints Day homily from 2007

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From last October, here’s part of my homily for All Saints Day 2007: Shortly after he converted to Catholicism in the late 1930s, Thomas Merton was walking the streets of New York with his friend, Robert Lax. Lax was Jewish, […]

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Let there be life: “For God, there is no percentage”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here comes a beautiful reminder that you can never anticipate what God will do. It’s a poignant and inspiring story of faith, hope and life, from Florida Catholic: Friends and colleagues said “maybe you should interrupt the pregnancy” when Daniele […]

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Sign of the times

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A Wisconsin Catholic school principal found himself in hot water this week for posting a sign supporting Barack Obama in his yard: The heated reaction to a Barack Obama sign appearing in the Catholic Memorial High School principal’s yard “reflects […]

How was it, Estelle?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The woman who made the funniest and most famous deli order in movie history has died. She’s Estelle Reiner, who uttered just five words in “When Harry Met Sally,” but ended up practically stealing the picture. (She’s lurking in the […]

Great expectations

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Longtime readers may remember the item I posted last year about Jessica Rowley, who was looking forward to being the “first pregnant Catholic priest.” Well, guess what? You can read more about her right here. She belongs to something called […]

Who wrote the bible? Maybe someone you know.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This story popped up in the Boston Globe a few days back, but it’s too good to pass up: In Rome recently, a parade of luminaries, starting with Pope Benedict XVI, spent the better part of a week reading the […]

Boo!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The good people at Busted Halo have recruited the esteemed saint expert, Fr. James Martin, SJ, to talk about all the saints (for All Saints) and, because they’re so closely linked, the neighboring holiday, Halloween. Take a look.

Four for Oregon!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Pacific Northwest can count four more deacons, and the Catholic Sentinel has the scoop: David Briedwell, a firefighter and paramedic, joined the Catholic Church in 1990. On a Marriage Encounter weekend, he felt grabbed. Before he knew it, he […]

So many dead trees. Does Al Gore know about this?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A friend in Florida sent me this e-mail, from his diocese. Evidently, it’s being circulated to all the parish priests: The 2008 Election is only a few days away and parish parking lots offer an easy target for outside organizations […]

Allam: “Extremism and terrorism” are mature fruits of Islam

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You probably remember the Muslim Who Became A Catholic earlier this year, when baptized by Pope Benedict during the Easter Vigil. He hasn’t forgotten his Muslim roots, and is speaking out: The Muslim-born journalist baptized by Pope Benedict XVI at […]

One bishop who won’t use the wafer as a weapon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This just in, from Charm City, via the Rocco Palmo Desk. This is part of a long and thoughtful statement being printed tomorrow in the Catholic Review, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien writes about abortion […]

Secular chaplains?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This morning’s New York Times has an interesting glimpse at a new wave in chaplaincy care — which isn’t always pegged to one particular faith: Some of the hospice patients talk about their impending deaths, or about God. Most just […]

And now, Zubik

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The bishop of Pittsburgh has added his voice to the chorus this election season — and he’s not telling people anything they haven’t heard before. From KDKA: Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik says he isn’t telling anyone who to vote for […]

The vanishing “Catholic vote”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Rocco has dug up this fascinating nugget from the LA Times, regarding the “Catholic vote”: National polls have shown for some time that, although Catholics are personally opposed to abortion, they believe it ought to be legal in nearly identical […]

“These are our parishes”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

New Orleans has now joined Boston as an American city where parishioners have moved into churches and are refusing to leave, to keep them from being shuttered. From USA TODAY: Parishioners occupying two Catholic churches in defiance of closure orders […]

Bring your laptop to the Reading Room

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a pretty remarkable piece of news — poignant and, perhaps, prophetic. For the first time, a major American newspaper is abandoning paper and ink: After a century of continuous publication, The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday […]

Solomon’s mines?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Scholarly skeptics who have doubted that King Solomon ever existed are being told: “Not so fast.” New archeological discoveries are casting new light on the ancient culture of the Middle East: A massive copper smelting plant in the biblical land […]

“Closing the adultery gap”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Whatever happened to fidelity? You have to wonder. And this analysis from the New York Times doesn’t provide any easy answers: A handful of new studies suggest surprising changes in the marital landscape. Infidelity appears to be on the rise, […]

Confused? No wonder

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few weeks back, I posted on the multiplying voter guides for Catholics that are blossoming this autumn. And now CNS is wondering if they’re just leaving people scratching their heads: If a group of Catholics were to sit down […]

Abortion and church teaching: “The short answer is: Biden is right” — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s a real eyebrow-raiser: the author of the Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Dr. Frank Finn, says that on the subject of abortion and church teaching, Joe Biden has a point: Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden is telling the Catholics in […]

Lest we forget

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The video I posted right here last month remains as potent and important today. In fact, it’s more necessary to watch it now.

“Pelvic theology”?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When John Paul penned his “Theology of the Body,” I’m not sure he had this anatomical notion in mind: Bill Roth, president of the Catholic Democrats political action committee, recently spoke about pro-life Catholics who strongly oppose the idea that […]

Jesus is my CEO

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Is it possible to run the Catholic Church like a corporation? Take a look at what this author thinks. He’s Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz, co-founder and president of Catholic Radio International. He offered these thoughts in Business Week: Catholic bishops are […]

The man behind “Mad Men”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader sent me this link, to a fascinating interview with Matthew Weiner, the genius behind my latest obsession, “Mad Men”. (After last night’s pitch-perfect season finale, I can’t believe I now to have to wait nine months for the […]

Finger on the button

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A couple years ago, I had a strange experience while giving out communion at mass: one of the congregants came up wearing a tee shirt from Hooters. Some people, of course, will wear anything to church. Which brings me to […]

Sunday morning food for thought

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will […]

Coming soon: women installed in ministry of lector?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. It’s a proposal — passed overwhelmingly by the Synod of Bishops — to admit women, formally, to the ministry of lector. Among other things, this is significant because lector […]

Joe the Congregant

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How is the economic crisis going to impact churches and synagogues? This weekend, there are some thoughts on that from Rabbi Marc Gellman, the Jewish half of the “God Squad” (the other half being Catholic priest, Monsignor Thomas Hartman). From […]

Homily for October 26, 2008, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (World Priest Day)

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It happens more often than you may think. Someone will ask me after mass, “Deacon Greg, if priests could be married, wouldn’t you like to be a priest?“ Well, the answer for me is no. God called me to this […]

Dancing with the stars: John & Barry edition

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is, in a word, brilliant. And hilarious. Happy Friday. Crank up the volume and boogie! h/t Rod Dreher. http://view.break.com/592648 – Watch more free videos

Catholics who are “politically homeless”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen hits a homerun, with a trenchant and clear-headed column about politics, the election, Catholics and those among the electorate (that would include Your Humble Blogger) who feel “politically homeless.” Take a gander: […]

A Friday reality check: what’s wrong with the world

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is so funny and so true: Louis CK explains to Conan why nobody is happy. H/T to St. Jude RE & RCIA Director’s Blog. Enjoy.

Just don’t confuse them with “Judas Priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Could the latest music sensation in Europe be…three singing priests? CNN has a fascinating report about this trio at this link. The story: You could call them New Clergymen on the Block: three Roman Catholic priests from Northern Ireland who […]

The young and the restless: “We have to meet them where they’re at”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How can you get young people involved in the Church? A recent gathering in Arlington, Virginia gave a tantalizing answer: At a youth rally this weekend at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Catholic teenagers came together to celebrate their […]

More Catholics swinging toward Obama

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Is Obama gaining among Catholic voters? This latest poll seems to indicate as much: The bigger news is Obama’s jump among white Catholics, where he’s totally reversed McCain’s lead. Last month, McCain led 48-percent to 41-percent among white Catholics. Now, […]

Calling all diaconate “pioneers”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader who was ordained a deacon in 1976 is wondering how many visitors to The Deacon’s Bench are “pioneers.” He asks: Can you elicit a survey of your readers to ascertain who are some of the ‘elders’? That is, […]

How the other half dies

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

At a time of skyrocketing health costs and difficult end-of-life decisions, some lucky souls are living it up right up until the end. This odd slice-of-death story comes from the New York Times: Marie-Dennett McDill loved the Carlyle Hotel. Mrs. […]

Pharmacists for Life: just what the doctor ordered

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From Virginia comes this impressive story about a pharmacy rooted in faith: A new drug store at a Virginia strip mall is putting its faith in an unconventional business plan: No candy. No sodas. And no birth control. Divine Mercy […]

A disgruntled electorate

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What this conservative columnist in Texas is hearing is ominous, but not surprising: I had a long, bleak lunch today with a group of Dallas friends and acquaintances. All conservative men, 35 and older. Everyone a serious Christian (I think […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese. The USCCB doesn’t speak for me. The only relevant document … is my letter. There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.” — Scranton Bishop Joseph F. […]

The new vocations: “The church is being transformed”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone worrying about the bleak vocations picture in the Catholic church might want to reconsider. It’s not as grim as you may think. Or so says a Catholic sociologist — and one reason for his optimism is (brace yourself) the […]

Bring him home: a prayer for “Beloved and his family”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Anchoress has just posted a prayer request for a soldier who has been seriously wounded. The A writes: I cannot tell you his name – but if you could storm heaven for “Beloved and his family” at this time […]

America, 2008

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The video below shows what happened when some Muslim McCain supporters encountered another McCain supporter who was distributing anti-Muslim, anti-Obama literature. H/T to Rod Dreher.

As the spirit moves you

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Many people can tell you they’ve had a moving experience in church. Here’s a church that had one itself. Below are a couple pictures that show the remarkable relocation of part of a Catholic cathedral in China — where it […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A candle spotted in San Francisco last weekend. And no, I don’t think that’s Martin de Porres. Details can be found here.

This is why we Catholics wear albs

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A gentle reminder to all of us: there are other reasons, besides the economy, for tightening your belt… Priest Loses Pants @ Yahoo! Video

What would Fr. Louis say?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Fr. Louis, of course, being Thomas Merton — who might raise an eyebrow over the historic naming of a Trappist to be a bishop. From Whispers: On Saturday, the Pope named Dom Yvon Moreau, abbot of Notre Dame du Lac […]

Psst? Looking for a cheap room? Try a convent

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That seems to be the advice of a travel writer at the New York Times, who today offers some sage advice for travelers trying to save a buck. In a word, pray: When Kathleen Mazzocco was researching places for an […]

Another “intrinsic evil”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While abortion gets most of the press — and the lion’s share of attention from the nation’s bishops — there is another hallmark issue of this particular election that has gone largely undiscussed by the hierarchy. Until now. Writing in […]

“What does grace mean to you?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s the thought-provoking question that greeted a doctor as she left a theater performance, and she writes about it right here. Check it out. And ask yourself that question. In the answer, I think, lies our own sense of God […]

“Take it. Break it. Share it. Love it.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I thought that sounded eucharistic when I heard it last night — and I wasn’t imagining things. That was the copy used in the ad campaign for Popsicle on last night’s episode of “Mad Men,” and it prompted a brief […]

My little parish

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The video below was produced for our parish stewardship drive, set to begin in early November. It’s artfully produced (by one of our trustees, Roger Aguinaldo) and gives a great look at the history of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. […]

Homily for October 19, 2008: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Not too long ago, someone was complaining to me about the way the church chooses its saints. And she thought it was a little bit insulting that almost all the saints on the church’s calendar were religious – priests, nuns, […]

Give the GOP credit for this: they know how to laugh at themselves

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If anybody missed the two hilarious bits Sarah Palin performed on SNL last night, you can find the story and the video right here. You betcha. BTW, re: SNL, The A has a roundup of reaction.

A deacon’s work in Appalachia: “From your hands to my hands to their hands”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A monsignor who lives nearby sent me the following, from one of our local newspapers in Queens: the story of a deacon doing some remarkable work among the people of Appalachia. Take a look: Imagine for a moment your life […]

Religion in the news — but not in newsrooms

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I have to say this: in my nearly 27 years at CBS News, I found most of those I worked with to be respectful and appreciative of my faith. Some were curious about what I did, and what I believed. […]

“Go in peace and remember to buy a CYO raffle ticket on the way out…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That would be my choice for ending the mass, but Benedict has some other suggestions. A report from Rome indicates the pope has okayed new ways of ending the mass — though this story from Zenit inaccurately says the final […]

Prayers, please

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Longtime readers may remember a deacon by the name of Tom Stonecipher; last year, I posted an item on him and his remarkable journey to the Catholic Church and the diaconate. Yesterday, the diaconate grapevine passed along news that Deacon […]

A couple of saints who are a couple

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I know of at least one saint who is married: my wife. (She has to be a saint, being married to me. Really.) But the official communion of saints doesn’t, otherwise, include a lot of people who shared a marriage […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Two guys in white tie, and some guy wearing red, at the Al Smith Dinner last night in New York City. Full report and video right here. Rocco has his write-up here. Enjoy. Photo: by Damon Winter, New York Times

Like father, like son

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Back during Benedict’s visit to the United States, I wondered about the deacons serving beside the pope. Did anyone know who they were? Now, I have at least one answer, from the Catholic Standard — and his story is really […]

News from the Transitional Deacon desk

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A thoughtful reader by the name of John Vaskov sent along the pictures below with the following note: Last week we had the privilege of traveling to Rome for the diaconate ordination of 25 men from the Pontifical North American […]

If He testified, would He say “So help me, Me”??

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Seems somebody tried to sue the Almighty. But it didn’t work. Take a look: A judge has thrown out a Nebraska legislator’s lawsuit against God, saying the Almighty wasn’t properly served due to his unlisted home address. State Sen. Ernie […]

Finally, the subject nobody wanted to talk about

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I speak, of course, of abortion. It finally came up during last night’s debate — very deftly moderated, I thought, by Bob Schieffer, who showed how an old hand does these things — and Michael Paulson has a summary at […]

“Please God, help my 401(k)…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Is that sort of prayer, well…kosher? A writer at Time magazine decided to ask religious leaders in a position to know: Prayer is humanity’s conversation with God. And very often the prayer is a plea. It seems safe to say […]

Catholic voters split on key issues

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new survey is out about Catholics and the upcoming election — and this one may of particular interest because it was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. From USA TODAY: U.S. Catholic voters are split on the issues of […]

How about calling it “Benedict’s Bench”?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the more innovative and modern ideas to come out of the Synod of Bishops is one that at least one American bishop has already embraced: blogging. From Zenit: One of the auditors at the world Synod of Bishops […]

Serving in Sioux City: four new deacons ordained

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

News from Iowa: a new crop of deacons has sprouted! From the Catholic Globe: During the ordination Mass to the permanent diaconate Oct. 4 at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City, four men were called forward. Byron Gene […]

We’re Catholic, and we aren’t s’posed to use condiments

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Ahem. But I have to admit, this doesn’t much surprise me… You Are Ketchup You are easy going and very measured in your approach to life. Popular and well liked, you get along with everyone. Seriously, everyone loves you! Your […]

106-year-old nun endorses Obama

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It turns out one of the oldest Americans who will be voting this November is a nun. She’ll be exercising her own Faithful Citizenship — but not in a way that some bishops might like. From Reuters: A 106-year-old American […]

A prayer at the start of a new job

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

At Thomas Merton’s hermitage, 2004 Words from the master, with a grateful h/t to Doug Souza: Take my life into Your hands, at last, and do whatever You want with it. I give myself to Your love and mean to […]

Waiting for the invitation

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

There’s a shiny new blog on the block, A New Song, from a colleague of mine, Douglas Souza, who toils from time to time (as I do) for Liturgical Publications. Doug’s latest post is worth reading for a variety of […]

They call the CEO “Sister”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A business journal in Albany, New York has just profiled a “woman who means business,” and it turns out to be a nun in charge of Catholic Charities: Sister Maureen Joyce never moved far from her roots, but her benevolence […]

Barack’s bishop

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Yes, there is one who is a fairly vocal supporter of the Illinois senator. But he’s not an American. He’s Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja, in Africa. Rocco has the scoop, and this quote: “Of course I believe that abortion […]

Something fishy about Mother Angelica

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Those of us who know Mother Angelica from her television ministry might be surprised to learn that her first forays into evangelism began just like the apostles: with fishing. A reader sent me the following, from Fishing for History: One […]

Deacons in the Service of Life

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from the wife of a deacon, alerting me to a growing movement called Deacons in the Service of Life, an outgrowth of Priests for Life. A message by Deacon Neil Crispo on the website summons […]

A heavenly Sheen

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For me, Fulton Sheen remains the gold standard for Catholic preaching — and his connection to the world of communications (notably, television) has always resonated with me. He also has a personal connection to my parish in Queens. In the […]

Randall Terry arrested at Catholic cathedral

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the most outspoken anti-abortion activists in America found himself under arrest last week — at a Catholic church. Catholic Online has the story, and a press release about the incident: Randall Terry, the Founder of Operation Rescue and […]

Protesting nuns branded as terrorists

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What happens when you break the law while protesting at a nuclear facility? Two Catholic nuns found out — and it wasn’t quite what they expected. From the Washington Times: For decades, Sister Carol Gilbert and Sister Ardeth Platte have […]

Homily for October 12, 2008: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I was looking over the readings for this weekend, I thought to myself: well, nobody could be blamed for feeling hungry in the middle of mass. Food is mentioned everywhere. Again and again we hear references to a great […]

Sarah Palin’s bully pulpit

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As the election heads into the home stretch, the Associated Press dug up these interesting nuggets about Sarah Palin’s tenure in Alaska, particularly in the realm of religion: The camera closes in on Sarah Palin speaking to young missionaries, vowing […]

Pell on preaching

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Australia’s Cardinal George Pell took a moment from attending the Synod of Bishops in Rome to chat with John Allen about what’s been happening there — and, at one point, turned to the topic of preaching: There’s been a lot […]

“The leadership of our diocese is not supportive of the permanent diaconate…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Of the nearly 200 dioceses in America, a handful still do not have formation programs for the permanent diaconate. That’s led to some frustration, disappointment and resentment. Case in point: earlier today, I got an e-mail from a reader in […]

The return of “Quarant’ Ore”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Many parishes report a resurgence in Eucharistic adoration — and a few are going the extra mile (or extra day or two) with a practice that many thought had vanished: the 40 Hours devotion. Florida is seeing it return in […]

Little Audrey: a saint of silence?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Many will remember the story of the mysterious Audrey Santo, known as “Little Audrey,” who reportedly manifested remarkable healing powers during her short life. She was afflicted with a condition known as akinetic mutism, rendering her unable to speak or […]

What really matters

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It may not be what you think. Or so it seems, according to this latest Gallup poll, which tracks what most Americans are concerned about. No wonder life issues and abortion aren’t getting much attention.

Bishops seeking ways to perfect the art of preaching

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The idea of better homilies — and finding ways to make them better — is emerging as a major theme from the Synod of Bishops. Zenit reports: A general instruction on homilies and a jubilee year dedicated to the art […]

Fatwah against Mickey Mouse called off!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some weeks back, I posted the dismaying news that a Saudi sheik considers Mickey Mouse “an agent of Satan.” Turns out it was all a terrible misunderstanding. (And, of course, it’s the media’s fault.) See the explanation below. And a […]

“Can’t wait to see what God’s got in mind for you”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This flick is sneaking into movie theaters this weekend — and it looks like something well worth checking out. It’s “Billy: The Early Years,” a biographical drama about the life of America’s most famous preacher. The New York Times has […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“We pray to God using His own words, as related to us in the Scriptures. Likewise we praise Him, also using His own words from the Bible. We ask for His mercy, mentioning what He has promised to our ancestors […]

“Those pandering mannequins”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This item in the Wall Street Journal — describing how a lot of voters are still undecided — reminded me of some conversations I’ve had recently with observant, faithful Catholics. These are people from different parts of the country, with […]

Online searches for vocation information climbing

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

More heartening news on the vocation front: this comes to us from the innovative website VocationMatch.com, which reports a record number of hits, as more people seek information about religious life: Vision Vocation Guide and the popular VocationMatch.com website saw […]

Some brilliant financial advice

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Worried about these perilous times? A brother deacon sent me the following financial tip: If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock one year ago, you would have $49 left. With Fannie Mae, you would have $2.50 left […]

When “Dear” is an insult

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A couple years ago, I worked on a commentary for a certain news anchor who took issue with describing older people as “cute.” Isn’t that a little condescending? Now, the New York Times looks at the quiet but persistent insults […]

On preaching: “Through grace, it changes lives”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at the biblical Synod, they’re getting an earful about — of all things — preaching. From CNS: After the current church year dedicated to St. Paul, the Catholic Church should dedicate a year to the art of preaching, Bishop […]

In a rabbit hole

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s going to be a long, cold winter, and I can’t help but fear we’re going to be seeing more stories like this one, from California: Karthik Rajaram had fallen hard. The 45-year-old Porter Ranch financial manager who once made […]

October 7th: Our Lady of the Rosary

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Madonna of the Rosary (with Mysteries of the Rosary)by Lorenzo Lotto(1539) Oil on canvasChurch of San Nicolo, Cingoli The Rosary is a way of contemplating the face of Christ seeing him – we may say – with the eyes of […]

Fresno priest: “I know that these words of truth will cost me dearly”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m surprised this little earthquake near Fresno, California hasn’t sent more aftershocks across the country. But Sunday, a Catholic priest there defied his bishops and spoke out against a bill that would ban gay marriage. Oh: and he also announced […]

The communion of saints…online!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here’s something useful: a new online database listing every saint and blessed. It comes on something called the eCatholicHub, and it appears to be the first online resource of its kind. As they describe it: Starting in the summer […]

Yeah, it’s just like that

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Fr. Matthew is an Episcopal priest-blogger who posts some of his wisdom on YouTube. Which is where I dug up this clever look at what goes into writing a sermon. I’m sure a lot of you out there will relate. […]

“May they hang 10 in thy oceanic bounty…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Leave it to California: this weekend, they had the traditional Blessing of the Waves out in Orange County. It was totally gnarly, dude: About 400 people gathered at sunrise Sunday to thank God for a gnarly ocean and to hang […]

“Conscience trumps hierarchy”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Hot on the heels of this item – wherein one American bishop compares supporting pro-choice candidates to endorsing homicide — a retired priest, Fr. Emmett Coyne, has penned a short opinion piece on the importance of conscience, and he takes […]

Scranton bishop: “Pro-choice candidates support homicide”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s now less than 30 days to what may be the most critical election in decades — and the Catholic Church is kicking it up a notch. From Sunday’s New York Times: As the Roman Catholic Church observes its annual […]

Homily for October 5, 2008: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The other day, a California TV station gave a heartbreaking glimpse at what is happening to thousands of people right now. It reported on an area near Pasadena known as “foreclosure alley” – a part of the state where 700 […]

Department of Shameless Self-Promotion

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The good folks at Our Sunday Visitor have just published a special vocations section — and Your Humble Blogger is prominently featured on the front page. (Be afraid. Be very afraid.) The link will take you to the menu, where […]

Take two images of the Virgin, and call me in the morning

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some people might file this under the category of “Dog Bites Man” — not news, and not all that surprising. But it’s interesting that the subject of prayer and contemplation is generating some serious study. This comes from a Catholic […]

St. Francis of Assisi, deacon: “We ought to be servants”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“St. Francis of Assisi at Prayer”by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1645. Many people mistakenly think that St. Francis of Assisi must have been a priest. Nope. He was a deacon. On this, his feast, we are reminded of his spirit of […]

Laser monks!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A lot of us have heard of them. Now, the Today Show has profiled them. They are the Laser Monks, Cistercians in Wisconsin who have turned their ancient way of life into a rich resource for everything from coffee to […]

This autumn’s must-see movie?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The trailer for “The Soloist.” It looks mighty impressive — and sustains Robert Downey, Jr.’s remarkable comeback that began this summer with “The Iron Man” and continued with “Tropic Thunder.” Take a look:

Leap of faith

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, now for something completely different. From Florida comes this unusual story about a priest who has his head in the clouds: There is a variation of a well-known proverb that reads: “If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is […]

In the spirit of St. Francis…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This has been making the rounds for a while, but with the feast of St. Francis of Assisi coming up this weekend, now seems a good time to revisit, reflect, and enjoy.  

When “thy will” may not be MY will

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, this really hit home. Over at The Anchoress, the venerable A herself has knocked one out of the park on the subject of prayer and fasting: I’m thinking we’re in the middle of a mystery, that this whole, odd, […]

Sparks of faith

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I wasn’t aware that this best-selling author is Catholic — but he’s making no secret of it, and discusses his faith, and how he’s using his success to give something back, with the Arkansas Catholic newspaper: Catholic novelist Nicholas Sparks […]

My favorite e-mail

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A retired CBS News executive (and a Catholic), on learning of my career change, sent me the following e-mail: Hi Greg! Congratulations on this bold move. 26 years is PLENTY. I’m sure you can get the Church to fill in […]

Palin v. Biden on Roe v. Wade

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What the candidates think about one of the defining issues of our day. Watch CBS Videos Online

An ending. And a beginning.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Not long ago, I stumbled upon a letter from Thomas Merton, who offered this advice to a man who was thinking about a career change: I would say there is one basic idea that should be kept in mind in […]

Affairs of state, French edition

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Even as the world celebrates the feast of one of France’s greatest saints, the country known as the church’s “eldest daughter” is roiled in an embarassing diplomatic mess. From a French news service: France has settled on an envoy to […]

The Little Flower

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church being a body composed of different members, the most essential, the most noble of all the organs would not be wanting to her; I understood that the […]

The Wall Street broker who became a monk

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What could be more timely than this story of a financial broker who found life on Wall Street spiritually empty — and became, instead, an Orthodox Christian monk? Reuters has the tale: Brother Nikanor, a Nasdaq broker turned monk, advises […]

“When I behold Your heavens…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That phrase from Psalm 8 popped into my mind as I started to read this item. This story from the National Catholic Register fixes its gaze on the heavens — and on a side of Catholicism we rarely read about: […]

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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