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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

Catholic teacher loses job for marrying without annulment

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Catholic school teacher in Texas has just lost her job — and is now considering suing the school. The issue: an annulment. Or lack thereof. The local paper has the story: Less than a week before Marquis LaFortune was […]

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Adopting frozen embryos: one family’s story

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Church’s recent document Dignitas Personae is posing a lot of challenges to some people — including the couple profiled in this story by CNS: As committed Catholics, Timothy and Dawn Smith respect Vatican pronouncements, but recent statements about frozen […]

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Homily for January 1, 2009: New Year’s Day, Mary the Mother of God

posted by deacon greg kandra

About a century ago, the Jesuit poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a poem that begins: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” It’s a beautiful statement of the miraculous – and it’s more surprising because Hopkins […]

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“There is God in this deserted place”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A friend sent me this link to a fascinating story about a small group of Vietnamese Trappist monks who have made themselves a home in the California desert: Long before dawn in the remote desert south of Barstow, the only […]

Stick a fork in me. I’m done.

posted by deacon greg kandra

In the mail today, I got a membership card for this. I’m going to go lie down.

Denying communion Down Under

posted by deacon greg kandra

This happens so rarely, you can’t help but sit up and take notice. A government official in Australia was denied communion on Christmas Eve. And, it seems, it was all a big mistake. From the local press: Attorney-General Rob Hulls […]

When the call on your voicemail is God

posted by deacon greg kandra

“My call to religious life, like that of many others, did not come in isolation. It arose as one among several good opportunities from which I could choose. I was not grasping at this choice as a last chance because […]

The wait is over

posted by deacon greg kandra

If anyone missed it, here’s Dave Barry’s typically brilliant year-in-review. The good news: it’s a riot. The bad news: we have to wait another year for the next one.

The gift: a New Year’s Eve remembrance

posted by deacon greg kandra

My mother used to love to tell this story: It was New Year’s Eve, 1948. The snow was falling, the wind was howling. And the man who would be my father showed up at her doorstep with a huge box […]

“It is equal in dignity to have either an elephant or a priest in the family”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The New York Times concludes its series on foreign priests in America by traveling to the other side of the world, India. In Tuesday’s installment, we find that one of the world’s leading exporters of priests is having second thoughts: […]

A father and son swim the Tiber — and become priests

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, this made me put down my coffee cup and go “Wow.” A father, a son, a conversion, and more. From the Times of London: In what is believed to be a first, a father and son, both former Anglican […]

What’s on your iGod?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m a little late in posting this bit of technological wizardry, but the priest who developed this little marvel was kind enough to send me an e-mail (from Italy, no less!) and asked if I’d spread the word. I’m happy […]

“We sent missionaries to Africa, and now they’re sending them here”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Continuing its series on “priests without borders,” on the influx of foreign priests into the U.S., the New York Times today has this inspiring, poignant profile of one African priest who has settled in Kentucky: The Rev. Chrispin Oneko, hanging […]

Where’s Waldo? Probably in church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another married man, a convert, is about to become a priest. The local paper in San Angelo, Texas, has the scoop on a cleric named Waldo: Waldo Emerson “Knick” Knickerbocker, a married former Episcopalian minister, will be ordained as a […]

Meet Richard McBrien: “Your eminence, I don’t write my column for your mother.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the most famous — and, in some quarters, infamous — figures in American Catholicism sat down for a chat recently with the Boston Globe’s Michael Paulson. Here’s part of the interview with priest, theologian, writer and — last […]

Priests without borders

posted by deacon greg kandra

Photo: by James Estrin, the New York Times The New York Times has taken notice of something many of us here in the U.S. have known for a while: more of our priests are not American. Here’s a snip: Sixteen […]

One man’s call: “You mean, people are actually doing that?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just before Christmas, the New York Times had a terrific piece on the good work being done by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s boys) in the South Bronx. Take a look: Hearing a knock at the […]

Wholly family: “Ordinary lives touched in a special way by God’s grace”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With the Feast of the Holy Family on Sunday, the Catholic Standard in Washington has a wonderful glimpse at how one family aspiring to holiness produced two priests — one of whom is about to be ordained a bishop. And […]

Clearly showing the effects of too much eggnog

posted by deacon greg kandra

Your Humble Blogger, with Fr. Frank Passenant and my pastor, Msgr. Joe Funaro, just before Midnight mass.

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

posted by deacon greg kandra

If your name is Von Trapp, and you’re the grandson of that fabled former nun, you decide to turn the lemons of Hollywood into lemonade. The New York Times catches up with the family heirs and what they’re up to […]

Welcome home

posted by deacon greg kandra

For your Christmas enjoyment: a wonderful kind of homecoming, courtesy The Dish.

Homily for December 25, 2008: Christmas Midnight Mass

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few years ago, I caught an episode of the cable TV show “Inside The Actor’s Studio,” with James Lipton. If you’ve seen it, you know the basic idea: Lipton invites celebrities – famous actors, writers and directors – to […]

“In those days, a decree went out…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those who will be crowding into Midnight Mass tonight will hear, once again, the glorious nativity story as told by Luke. (In my homily for tonight, I call it “the greatest beginning of the greatest story every told.”) For a […]

Claus encounters of the worst kind

posted by deacon greg kandra

This snapshot comes to us from a mall in Oklahoma City, via the AP. Meantime, it seems that Santa is coming under attack from some surprising corners — the clergy.

Ah, Christmas

posted by deacon greg kandra

Midnight mass at my parish. The church is filled. A few people bundled in coats hurry in from the cold as the lights dim. The voices start. It’s the choir up in the loft: “Once in Royal David’s city…” and […]

Ode to joy

posted by deacon greg kandra

Looking back on the year’s events, few were more memorable or fruitful than the visit of Pope Benedict in the spring. The pictures above, by Gregory Shemitz, capture a small part of that great moment. You can see even more […]

Joyless

posted by deacon greg kandra

If, as Leon Bloy proclaimed, “joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God,” what are we to make of this crimped, cramped, constipated cri de coeur? Clearly, Christopher Hitchens is not a happy man.

“You have made him little less than the angels…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That verse from Hebrews popped into my mind when I saw this amazing video. Behold, gymnast Boyanka Angelova — as near to being an angel as you will see here on earth.

See you at Spago, babe

posted by deacon greg kandra

The ad agency that created this devilish ad for NET is making news again. Check out Broadcasting & Cable, and the Hollywood Reporter. Meantime, tell Wolfgang to save me the usual table…

Stocking stuffers for your favorite pooch

posted by deacon greg kandra

The ad below says it all, from Happy Catholic.

Louis Armstrong: “niger, illegitimus” — and baptized Catholic

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at McNamara’s Blog, Patrick McNamara has found another surprising bit of Catholic trivia, about one of the great popular jazz artists of the 20th century: According to his own, cherished tradition, Louis Armstrong was an all-American jazz baby, born […]

Priest pulls Obama books from Catholic school library

posted by deacon greg kandra

This bit of news strikes me as excessive — and just a bad idea: A priest has removed two books about Barack Obama from a Missouri Roman Catholic school’s library because of the president-elect’s abortion position. “I am very pro-life,” […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

A soldier visits Santa in Baghdad. By Khalid Mohammed / Associated Press.

Hallelujah. Again.

posted by deacon greg kandra

The biggest song in Britain, courtesy Alexandra Burke from the show “X Factor” (via Whispers). A stunning interp of a haunting and soul-stirring piece of music.

Paul Weyrich: the deacon who launched a movement

posted by deacon greg kandra

The man who coined the phrase “moral majority” died last week — but most Americans may not have known that he was a Catholic and a deacon. The fine blog Get Religion has more: The most important thing to remember […]

Angels we have heard on high. Really.

posted by deacon greg kandra

This morning, while getting ready for mass, I clicked on “Sunday Morning” and caught the tail end of a report they did on some of this season’s most ubiquitous figures: angels. It turns out, a sizable majority of Americans believe […]

Something for all the Joes, Hockey Moms and Twi-hards out there

posted by deacon greg kandra

The good people at the New York Times have collected some of the memorable words and phrases of 2008 in a nifty graphics package, designed by Jessica Hische. “Jump the Shark” is so ’70s. When you’ve really gone too far, […]

“Give us peace”

posted by deacon greg kandra

You would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful “TV Christmas moment” than the one Tony Rossi has unearthed at his fine blog The Intersection. Watch and smile and remember and wipe away a tear.

A Merton meditation for Advent: “Lady, I am your deacon”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Since the diaconate, Our Lady has taken possession of my heart. Maybe, after all, she is the big grace of the diaconate. She was given to me with the book of the Gospels which, like her, gives Christ to the […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The picture below was taken by a friend, a parishioner in my parish. This is a few blocks from my home in Forest Hills, in the beautiful borough of Queens.

The odor of sanctity?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Now, for the man in your life who has everything (including, perhaps, a miter that he wears at the dinner table and a crozier that he uses for raking leaves), something truly special: papal cologne. For that whiff of infallibility. […]

Catholics in Congress: the numbers are growing

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some figures from Catholic News Service offer an interesting snapshot of the new Congress: When the 111th Congress is sworn in Jan. 6, more than a quarter of its members will be Catholics, roughly matching the percentage of Catholics in […]

A different kind of annunciation

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you have five minutes, wander over to The Anchoress to see this astonishing video of avowed atheist Penn Jillette. It may be the best five minutes you spend today. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. Go. […]

“Makes a great gift!”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I couldn’t help but feel a little surprise — and nostalgia — when I heard an ad for this on the radio today. They still sell these? Now I know what to get my pastor for Christmas!

Homily for December 21, 2008: Fourth Sunday of Advent

posted by deacon greg kandra

Shortly before I was ordained, a teacher asked my class if anyone knew the one moment in scripture that was depicted more often in art than any other. Everybody agreed: it must be the nativity. But we were wrong. It’s […]

“A tale with plenty of cliffhangers”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A new book is taking a fresh look at one of the landmark events of the 20th century, and the New York Times’ Peter Steinfels offers a preview: Was the Second Vatican Council, as the cultural historian the Rev. John […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Six days before Christmas, we New Yorkers finally got our first big snow of the season. Below, the Brooklyn Bridge, from the New York Times photographer Michael Nagle.

Living the prayer

posted by deacon greg kandra

The short film below by Maureen Cotton is a beautiful glimpse at life in a Franciscan monastery, where they really do live the Prayer of St. Francis. It’s a lovely meditation for a snowy day in Advent. You can also […]

Quote of the day II

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I don’t see how any review could really spoil what may be among the most transcendently, eye-poppingly, call-your-friend-ranting-in-the-middle-of-the-night-just-to-go-over-it-one-more-time crazily awful motion pictures ever made. I would tell you to go out and see it for yourself, but you might take […]

Ring around the collar

posted by deacon greg kandra

You never know what you’ll find around the blogosphere, and one of my recent happy discoveries is a shiny new blog (with an appropriately Celtic green tinge) that belongs to Patrick McNamara, from (surprise!) the Diocese of Brooklyn. Patrick is […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Catholics who get caught up in complaining about how the press or Hollywood treats us are wasting precious airtime and energy, and they sound like every other whining, hurt-feelings group on the planet — crabbed and weak. The gospel message […]

Benedict’s message to Barack

posted by deacon greg kandra

The always-interesting John Allen has some insight and context in today’s New York Times regarding the Vatican’s new document Dignitas Personae: The roughly 67 million Catholics in the United States make up nearly one-quarter of the American population, but just […]

The Big Easy’s big ordination

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader (and newly ordained deacon!) alerted me to this happy news: 23 men were ordained last week in N’ahlins. The Clarion Herald newspaper has a full write-up, including biographies of the men and more pictures (in a pdf file) […]

“I am compelled”: a stunning vocations boom in Boston

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some very bright news during this dark season: vocations in Beantown are up. Way up. From the Boston Globe Enrollment at St. John’s Seminary has doubled over the last two years, a stunning turnabout for an institution that seemed to […]

“These people are just like me”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The recession is growing — and so are the needs of the faithful. The Catholic Review in Baltimore offers a glimpse at what is happening in that archdiocese: Not so long ago, Oredolapo Roberts lived in a four-bedroom house, owned […]

Australia welcomes another married man to the priesthood

posted by deacon greg kandra

From our Down Under Desk, news of a married man (and convert) being ordained a Catholic priest: Former Anglican priest Bavin Clark, a married father of four, is to be ordained as a Catholic priest for the Brisbane archdiocese. The […]

A purpose driven inaugural — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several weeks ago, I received a couple of e-mails from concerned voters, who were convinced that the men offering invocations at Barack Obama’s inaugural would be Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Jeremiah Wright. So this news might surprise them: Aretha Franklin […]

The “Walking Sisters” walk away from their historic home

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sad news from the pages of this morning’s New York Times: Behind the red-brick walls encircling the Convent of Mercy in Brooklyn, generations of nuns have taught the illiterate, sheltered the homeless and raised orphans. They are known as the […]

Nuns issue letter of support for Fr. Roy Bourgeois

posted by deacon greg kandra

The controversy over Maryknoll’s Roy Bourgeois shows no signs of quieting down any time soon. A group of nuns has now issued a statement of support for Bourgeois: More than 100 Roman Catholic nuns from 22 religious congregations have written […]

WWJA: What Would Jesus Advertise?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The wickedly good ad campaign for a Certain Religious TV Station (ahem) has just gotten a nice mention in the Gray Lady — along with a look at how churches are using marketing to get people in the pews: The […]

“Hallelujah”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve been looking for a good excuse to post this, just because I love the song so much. And no, it has nothing to do with Handel. Rocco points out that this Leonard Cohen classic could well end up being […]

Settlement reported for man who sued priest over homily

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last year, I posted this eye-popping story about a man who sued a priest over a homily. Now, an alert reader has sent me an update: An Algonquin man will get a formal apology, but no financial reward, as part […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I am my own worst enemy. I have always feared failure in the vocation. But I know if I keep up my end of the bargain, I have no reason to believe that God is going to let me down.” […]

On Benedict’s tree: it’s REALLY green

posted by deacon greg kandra

When it comes to Christmas trees, some of us are still trying to untangle the lights and keep the dog from lifting his leg on the trunk. But those wise souls at the Vatican are already thinking ahead to what […]

Advent: enter the story

posted by deacon greg kandra

This ad popped up on NET tonight and I thought it was too good not to share. Enter the story! You can find out more about the people behind the ad right here.

“Playboy never meant to offend anyone…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some of you by now may have heard about the cover of Mexico’s Playboy magazine. To wit: A nude model resembling the Virgin Mary on the cover of the Mexican edition of Playboy magazine, published only days before a major […]

Yes, Virginia…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…your state has a Santa like no other. We see Santa all the time at malls, but most of us have never seen one quite like this, in Virginia, just outside Washington. From the Arlington Catholic Herald: It’s a sight […]

300 figures, 30 houses, 3 wise men, 1 baby: a “presepio” is born

posted by deacon greg kandra

‘Tis the season. My little hometown paper — the New York Times — had a nice piece this weekend about a little hometown tradition — a massive and meticulously detailed nativity display in the beautiful borough of Brooklyn. Coincidentally, it’s […]

Solitude defined

posted by deacon greg kandra

I regret that I missed this last night: a new documentary on Thomas Merton that aired on PBS. (I think I’ve seen the DVD advertised, however…) Here’s a brief clip, with words by Merton, about his first “hermitage” — a […]

Why bad times are good for churches

posted by deacon greg kandra

The current economic woes seem to bear out the old idea that tough times can lead to crowded pews. (There are no atheists in foxholes and all that). From Sunday’s New York Times: The sudden crush of worshipers packing the […]

Remembrance of things past

posted by deacon greg kandra

I know this Sunday is supposed to be one of rejoicing. But for some among us, it is a day for remembering. And reckoning. The Anchoress has just posted this eloquent tribute to a life many might not have noticed […]

“Let them know about the root of Jesse…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

My brother-in-law sent me this e-mail tonight. He said, “If this story is one you wish to share, feel free.” I do: Greg, after reading your homily for tomorrow, I think back to my days living at Mom and Dad’s […]

Theologian on tap — and tape

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you pop over to Salt & Light TV, they’re streaming a fascinating interview with the late, great Avery Dulles. The word “Lincolnesque” leaps to mind. Meantime, Rocco has details of his upcoming sendoff.

Homily for December 14, 2008: Gaudete Sunday, 3rd Sunday of Advent

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is “Gaudete Sunday,” and “gaudete” means “rejoice.” In fact, that word recurs again and again in this Sunday’s scriptures. We don these bright vestments and we exult, because the Incarnation is so close. But if you scan the headlines, […]

My appearance on Catholic Radio 2.0 in a nutshell

posted by deacon greg kandra

To quote Samuel Johnson, in another context: it’s like a dog walking on its hind legs. It’s not done well, but you’re surprised to find it done at all. I survived. The evidence can be found here, or just click […]

Desperation sets in

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yes, we’re scraping the bottom of the media barrel here: someone has decided to put me on the radio. Those who enjoy train wrecks can tune at this link at 11 am ET. Saturday. It’s Catholic Radio 2.0 with the […]

Avery Dulles, “a man for others”

posted by deacon greg kandra

As expected, the tributes to Avery Dulles are beginning to pour in, and one of the sweetest and most personal comes from a frequent visitor to The Bench, James Martin, S.J., who has blogged about his friend and colleague. He […]

Sign of peace: “Sometimes, it’s like the Packers just scored a touchdown…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the singular moments assigned to the deacon at mass is to utter the phrase: “Let us offer one another the sign of peace.” But where and when that moment occurs may be about to change. John Allen has […]

Avery Dulles dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

This just in from the Jesuits: This morning, we received this announcement from the New York Province of the Society of Jesus: “This is to inform you that Avery Cardinal Dulles died this morning at about 6:30 at Murray-Weigel Hall. […]

Lt. Dan, Catholic — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

A loyal reader alerted me to this news, which I found both surprising and heartening. I had no idea Gary Sinise was a convert, did you? Read on: Two priests were among more than a half-dozen Catholics in a group […]

Can you rent it at Netflix?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pope Benedict continues to use every modern tool he can to spread The Word. The pope who sent text messages at World Youth Day is now using another tool for the New Evangelization: In preparation for Christmas, Pope Benedict XVI […]

Medina vs. Madonna

posted by deacon greg kandra

When this item clicked across the wire, I wasn’t surprised by the first sentence: Madonna is causing “crazy enthusiasm” and “impure thoughts” on her first concert visit to Chile, a prominent retired cardinal complained on Wednesday, as he paused in […]

Train of thought

posted by deacon greg kandra

A faithful reader wanted to share this, anonymously: his own thoughts about the controversial cappa magna, worn by Cardinal Llovera. Take a look: It is not something we always recall, but the purpose of beautiful vestments, as Peter the Venerable […]

A day in the life

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to be an archbishop? Cardinal Sean O’Malley in Boston lets us know regularly in his engaging, self-named blog. And now Wilton Gregory of Atlanta is getting into the act, with a lengthy look at one day in […]

“I was not sure where I was going…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lady, when on that night I left the Island that was your England,your love went with me, althought I coul dnot know it andcoul dnot make myself aware of it.It was your love, your intercession for me, before God,that was […]

Couple leaves $30 million windfall to Diocese of Syracuse

posted by deacon greg kandra

At a time when many parishes, and many dioceses, are facing serious financial problems and looming deficits, this sort of news is downright miraculous: For the last few months, St. James Roman Catholic Church in Johnson City has seen a […]

Petty pets?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Somebody get St. Francis of Assisi on the line. It turns out dogs can be, in a word, bitchy. Take a sniff: To the list of the qualities of dogs — enthusiastic and steadfast come to mind — can be […]

All wrapped up for Christmas

posted by deacon greg kandra

Below is a casual little snapshot of Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain, just hanging out with some of his pals. Cardinal Llovera was just tapped to succeed Francis Arinze as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and […]

Ordering a refill of faith at “The Catholic Cafe”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I was cheered to find this item in a Tennessee paper about another deacon working in broadcasting. Is this a trend, or what? From the Memphis Commercial Appeal: Amid the clatter of plates and the sound of coffee being poured, […]

From the priesthood to politics: Mr. Cao goes to Washington

posted by deacon greg kandra

Washington will soon be welcoming a former Jesuit seminarian to Congress — and CNS has a first look at his remarkable story: The first Vietnamese-American member of Congress is a former Jesuit seminarian who served for four years on the […]

Bored? You can watch me on TV right now

posted by deacon greg kandra

At this link. Deacon of the gospel at this morning’s mass. Streaming from 5:30-6:30 PM ET.

The house that faith built: the spiritual wealth of the poorest parish

posted by deacon greg kandra

At a time of great financial uncertainty, and growing need, stories like this one are a revelation. And something of a miracle. From the Los Angeles Times: When the ceiling began to collapse at Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe […]

“To be a monk, to be a monk”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several readers have alerted me to this superb profile of Thomas Merton, which aired last month on PBS. December 10th marks a twin anniversary: the 67th anniversary of Merton’s entrance into the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky, and the 40th […]

The Immaculate Conception

posted by deacon greg kandra

“We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, […]

Christmas Plugs-a-palooza

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas. And if you find yourself in Queens next weekend, you might want to stop by my parish to hear great, truly great, holiday music. It’s our 25th annual Christmas concert: the first […]

Another Christmas song

posted by deacon greg kandra

Everyone else is cranking them out now — over two weeks before the Main Event (or, shall we say, Manger Event) — so why shouldn’t MCPF Stephen Colbert? This is priceless. From his recent TV special. Enjoy. The Colbert ReportMon […]

Scribble, scribble

posted by deacon greg kandra

Tapped by Bosco Peters for this esteemed honor, I’m now going to pass it along, as per his rules. First, there’s the Mother of All Spiritual Blogs — the Mother Superior, in every sense — The Anchoress. Have you heard […]

Clearly, it’s all downhill from here

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, ain’t this a kick in the head? I’m gobsmacked. And speechless. (But, of course: it was the feast of St. Nicholas. My stockings are now filled to overflowing.) Advent blessings, and heartfelt thanks, to one and all.

Jolly old St. Nicholas

posted by deacon greg kandra

St. Nicholas, from St. Nicholas Anglican Church in Cardiff, Wales. Today marks the feast of the legendary and enigmatic St. Nicholas. While little is known about his life, the web is chock full of links and lore. You can find […]

Homily for December 7, 2008: 2nd Sunday of Advent

posted by deacon greg kandra

This Sunday, after a week of turkey sandwiches, turkey casserole, turkey a la king, turkey burgers, turkey pot pie and turkey surprise… locusts and honey is starting to sound pretty good. We are here in the second Sunday of Advent […]

Deacons as airport chaplains: a ministry takes off

posted by deacon greg kandra

We tend to think of chaplains as being assigned primarily to hospitals or military bases — but you will also find them at some of America’s busiest airports. And — increasingly — they are deacons. From Florida Catholic: It’s lunchtime, […]

Department of Shameless Self-Promotion II

posted by deacon greg kandra

To quote James Earl Jones: “This is CNN”: Embedded video from CNN Video

Study: happiness is contagious

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s some news that, at least in theory, should make everyone smile. Happiness is catching. From the Los Angeles Times: They say misery loves company, but the same may be even more true of happiness. In a study published online […]

Setting sail in Columbus: 15 new deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

A thoughtful reader alerted me to this wonderful news, an early Christmas present to the Church: St. Joseph Cathedral was filled to capacity on Saturday November 29th to witness the ordination of fifteen men as Permanent Deacons for the Diocese […]

Journalism hits a new low

posted by deacon greg kandra

Good grief. They’ll write about anyone these days. Or anything.

Department of Shameless Self-Promotion

posted by deacon greg kandra

Evidently this item made it to Drudge. You can read more about it here. Click on the image above to enlarge.

Take our bread

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ll bet you’ve never seen this before: the making of communion wafers at the Cavanaugh Company in Rhode Island, the largest manufacturer of altar bread in America. This comes from Michael Paulson, who posted it last week at Articles of […]

Satan is our spokesman

posted by deacon greg kandra

Suddenly, for some reason, I feel like Don Draper, the dashing ad executive from Sterling Cooper on “Mad Men”. (A series whose absence from the air waves still fills me with ennui.) Anyway: the folks at Ad Age have now […]

Speaking of altar servers…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…maybe she’s been reading my mind (or reading my blog?) but Amy Welborn has been inspired to link to this very good address by the pope to altar servers from 2006: Dear Altar Servers, you are, in fact, already apostles […]

An audience with the pope

posted by deacon greg kandra

Ever been to a papal audience? Amy Welborn has — and she posted this neat little account, with pictures, over at her blog. I’ve been to two of them — one in St. Peter’s Square, the other in the Paul […]

Bill O’Reilly: “The traditions of Catholicism are important to me”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ll admit up front: I’m not a fan of this guy. But I know many who are, and what Bill O’Reilly has to say here about his Catholic upbringing is pretty interesting. Take a look. This comes from Long Island’s […]

The remarkable journey of Father Kim

posted by deacon greg kandra

You would be hard-pressed to find a vocation story more surprising than this: a married man who converted, became an active member of his church, then a deacon and, after his wife’s death, was ordained a priest at the tender […]

The impossible made possible

posted by deacon greg kandra

Think you can’t? Think again. Watch and marvel at what one young man can do.

Stop good TV. Please.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here it is, a “Deacon’s Bench” exclusive: a first peek at the viral internet ad campaign for NET, the cable channel for the Diocese of Brooklyn. Want more? Visit StopGoodTV.com.

Bishops’ document urges prayer rooms for other faiths in Catholic schools

posted by deacon greg kandra

Once, this kind of suggestion would have been laughable, or just plain silly. But no more. From London: A document issued by the Catholic Education Service said facilities for other faiths should be made available in all primary and secondary […]

Remembering the anniversary of a giant among deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pope Benedict took some time yesterday to recall St. Lawrence, 1,750 years after his martyrdom. The Advent-related theme was about the importance of being watchful, and vigilant: “Vigilance means spending every instant of our time within the horizon of His […]

Solace in stone

posted by deacon greg kandra

How do you commemorate a nightmare? The Los Angeles Times this week has this poignant and, I think, important piece on how various dioceses around the country are honoring and remembering the victims of clerical sex abuse: Oakland’s new Cathedral […]

On vocations: “There are rarely trumpets or midnight visions”

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you want to know what it takes to be a vocations director in a busy archdiocese, the Cincinnati Enquirer today offers a rare and revealing glimpse: The Rev. Kyle Schnippel places his prayer book on the table and takes […]

RIP: minister who urged adding “under God” to pledge

posted by deacon greg kandra

A man most Americans have never heard of — but who had a profound impact on our counry’s culture — has died. From the Washington Post: The Rev. George M. Docherty, the former pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian […]

Three Advents

posted by deacon greg kandra

“St. Bernard frequently returns to the idea of the ‘three Advents’ of Christ. The first of these is the one in which He entered into the world, having received a Human Nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. […]

For one couple, the wait is over

posted by deacon greg kandra

Since we are in Advent, the season of waiting, how’s this for really waiting — a story so incredible, it just has to be true. From the Chicago Tribune: Two abstinence teachers who wed in Chicago experienced their first kiss […]

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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