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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

April 2009 Archives

Poll: about half of Catholics support Notre Dame invitation to Obama

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was only a matter of time before someone commissioned a poll on the Obama/Notre Dame controversy — and now the good people at Pew have done it. Take a look: Most Catholics who have heard about the issue support […]

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Agca says he’s now a Catholic

posted by deacon greg kandra

Stranger things have happened. But reports from Italy say the man who attempted to assassinate the pope has converted to Catholicism. From the website CathNews: In a letter written from a Turkish prison, Mehmet Ali Agca, author of the failed […]

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In place of Glendon…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Notre Dame evidently has elected not to give a Laetere Medal this year, after honoree Mary Ann Glendon backed out. But someone will be making some remarks. Thomas Peters has the scoop: Judge John T. Noonan Jr., the 1984 recipient […]

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What’s the Obama flap costing Notre Dame? 8.2 million

posted by deacon greg kandra

They say that money talks — but some information coming from a group of unhappy Notre Dame alumni suggests that it also shouts. From U.S. News & World Report: The effort of some Notre Dame alumni to discourage donors from […]

Swine flu hits Catholic parishes

posted by deacon greg kandra

The flu that is running rampant around the world is forcing some churches in the Lone Star State to take extra precautions: Addressing liturgical matters amid concerns of a swine flu outbreak, Bishop of Dallas Kevin J. Farrell has advised […]

Vatican paper on Obama: “The 100 days that did not shake the world”– UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the headline at L’Osservatore Romano, assessing the first hundred days of the new U.S. president. CNS has a snip: The Vatican newspaper said President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office have not confirmed the Catholic Church’s worst fears […]

George Weigel steps into “The Arena”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The esteemed writer and theologian was our guest on “In the Arena” this past weekend, and he had some interesting things to say about Obama, abortion, and Catholics in America. He’s joined by Elizabeth Scalia (“The Anchoress”) and Grant Gallicho, […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not quite sure where this comes from (Mexico?) but it was prominently featured on Drudge this morning.

The deacon who experienced a miracle

posted by deacon greg kandra

With John Henry Newman now headed toward sainthood, attention is being focused on the man who was miraculously healed by Newman’s intercession. He is a permanent deacon from Massachusetts. And the Boston Globe caught up with him: Lying in a […]

Shroud to be displayed in 2010

posted by deacon greg kandra

Reports from Rome indicate that he mysterious Shroud of Turin will go on display for the first time in a decade. From CNS: The Italian Archdiocese of Turin has announced that the Shroud of Turin, which many believe is the […]

Preventing a “eucharistic famine”

posted by deacon greg kandra

In an editorial this week, the editors of America are taking a hard look at a hard question: what can we do to alleviate the shortage of priests? With June bringing us the Year of the Priest, and this weekend […]

Superstar? Superkitsch

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just when you thought you’d seen everything, with this tacky bit of shock- art… …along comes this: Evidently, that really is a legitimate design for a license plate in the Sunshine State. According to this account, Governor Charlie Crist said: […]

“The Vitae Monologues”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Anyone weary of the incessant productions — and incessant debate — over “The Vagina Monologues” can take heart. Someone has produced a fitting counterpoint: A play created by a member of a Minnesota theater company aims to be an alternative […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pope Benedict visits survivors of the devastating earthquake in L’Aquila. You can read more about it here. PHOTO:  from Sky News

Finally, a patron saint for auto racers and pool hustlers

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Christian Today: Cardinal Paul Newman, a protestant who converted to Roman Catholicism in the 19th century is closer to becoming the next English person to be made a saint by the Vatican. A group of theological consultors agreed that […]

Why do people change religions?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A new study looks for answers, and Michael Paulson, over at Articles of Faith, has a good wrapup: Americans are changing their religious affiliations at unprecedented rates, but Catholics are much more likely to cite concerns about their religion as […]

BREAKING: Glendon declines honor at Notre Dame

posted by deacon greg kandra

A huge h/t to Amy Welborn, who zapped this item to me moments ago…part of a fax that Mary Ann Glendon has sent to the president of Notre Dame: Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement […]

Hello, Newman

posted by deacon greg kandra

That familiar line from “Seinfeld” seems apt, as the Vatican prepares to welcome the beatification of that other Newman, John Henry. From Whispers: A panel of theological consultors agreed unanimously that the inexplicable healing of an American man who was […]

“We need to work on what women often do better than men — share”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some weeks back, I posted a picture of a huge men’s rally of the Holy Name Society, dating from the 1930’s. I posed the question, “Could you imagine this happening today?” Well, in fact, something similar just did, albeit on […]

Atheists come out of the closet

posted by deacon greg kandra

Does it seem like there are suddenly more atheists around? It may just be that they’re being more vocal about it. The New York Times religion reporter Laurie Goodstein has the scoop: Two months after the local atheist organization here […]

“Pseudo-ordination”– UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, there they go again. A New Jersey woman this weekend took part in a ceremony in which she says she was ordained a Catholic priest. From the Newark Star-Ledger: Last July, Mary Ann Schoettly was automatically excommunicated from the […]

Carrie Prejean’s church welcomes her as a heroine

posted by deacon greg kandra

A deacon in my diocese sent this my way: more on the swirling Carrie Prejean controversy. She was given a warm welcome Sunday at her local church: Miss California Carrie Prejean, who became the bombshell of the Miss USA pageant […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Nuns in Mexico City wear face masks, as worldwide panic grows, following reports of a rapidly spreading strain of swine flu. PHOTO: by Gregory Bull, AP

On intrinsic evil — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lately, one or two readers have left comments along the lines of: “You can’t say it’s wrong for Notre Dame to honor Obama, but not wrong for them to have honored Bush, because both presidents went against Catholic Church teaching.” […]

And now, Xavier

posted by deacon greg kandra

First Notre Dame, then Georgetown, and now Xavier, down in New Orleans. The list of Catholic institutions honoring pro-choice political figures — and sparking controversy as a result — continues to grow. From the Washington Post: Another bishop has declined […]

“How many times in the past week did the risen Christ appear to you and me?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m not preaching this Sunday; we’re showing that stewardship video at all the masses instead. But I liked very much the thoughts below from the homily by the Concord Pastor, Fr. Austin Fleming: It would be much easier to live […]

Wondering what Jim Caviezel has been up to?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Take a look at the trailer for his next movie, below. It’s called “The Stoning of Soraya M,” and you can get details at the movie’s website.

Time, talent, treasure: “Generations of generosity”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Anyone curious about where I spend my weekends can take a look at the video below, produced by my parish Stewardship Committee. It will be shown at all our masses this weekend. (Your Humble Blogger makes a couple cameo appearances.) […]

Georgetown honors Biden

posted by deacon greg kandra

In case you missed it, another Catholic university is raising some eyebrows for honoring a politician who favors abortion rights. From the Washington Post: A pro-choice White House is already providing new challenges for Washington-area Catholic leaders. First, Washington Archbishop […]

The Anchoress has a new cell

posted by deacon greg kandra

When you have a chance, you might want to update your “favorites” list to include The Anchoress’s new address. You can now find her at First Things with this URL: http://www.firstthings.com/theanchoress/ The A has been experiencing what we in television […]

Susan Boyle fix of the day: a video from 20 years ago

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the Mirror in the U.K. comes this fascinating snip of young (or younger) Susan singing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.”

“A watershed moment”

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s fueling the continuing controversy over President Obama’s planned trip to Notre Dame? This piece, from the Washington Independent, offers some answers: After eight years of only occasional disagreements with a Republican president, conservative Catholic activists have moved into the […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“For the foreseeable future, the institution of the church will continue to shrink, and the number of priests and sisters will become steadily smaller. Even as new forms of lay ministry expand, the reconfiguration of the institutions and agencies of […]

Carrie Prejean: “It wasn’t what God wanted for me that night” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

For those who may have missed it, here’s Carrie Prejean and Matt Lauer, chatting on TODAY: Ms. PREJEAN: I knew at that moment after I had answered the question, I knew that I was not going to win because of […]

Fish on Friday?

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was a common Catholic practice for generations, but it may be on its way back. American Papist Tom Peters takes note of one small step in that direction from the bishop of Steubenville, who is “inviting” his flock to […]

How to kill a vocation

posted by deacon greg kandra

A new report offers some surprising — and troubling — insight into why a lot of young men had second or third thoughts about the priesthood: Conversations around the kitchen table may be more responsible for the shortage of Roman […]

Is this really such a good idea…?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Reading over this latest bit of news, I’m thinking, “Um, no.”

“In the Arena”: on blogging

posted by deacon greg kandra

Your Humble Blogger, babbling about blogging. Doesn’t this guy ever shut up? 

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to pray every day that I love the people of this new archdiocese. I hope that’s the kind of archbishop you want, because that’s the kind of archbishop I am.” – […]

Making a joyful noise?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The God Googler, Mike Hayes, posted this snip from a mass, featuring a sung eucharistic prayer, and asked “What do you think of this?” Well? On the one hand, I like a chanted eucharistic prayer very much; it’s not done […]

St. Francis would be pleased

posted by deacon greg kandra

Have you hugged your planet lately? Maybe you should. This little item seems to generating some buzz: an ambitious effort by the Catholic Church to take better care of the earth, beginning on Earth Day. From US News and World […]

Erin, go pray: Ireland reports surge in mass attendance

posted by deacon greg kandra

The roots for this development may have less to do with piety than with poverty. The Catholic News Service has the scoop: Many Irish parishes have reported an increase in Mass attendance in recent months, with some parishes reporting increases […]

Leaving your mark

posted by deacon greg kandra

How deep is your faith? Take a look at these remarkable pictures of the impact that a Buddhist monk has had on his small corner of the world. According to the report: 70 year-old Buddhist monk Hua Chi has been […]

Meet the priests: the ordination class of 2009

posted by deacon greg kandra

What kind of man would want to become a priest? Here are some answers: The ordination Class of 2009, with computer experts, refugees, marathon runners and second-career men, mirrors the United States today. The men from dioceses nationwide show that […]

Ron Howard slams William Donohue’s “silly and mean-spirited work of propaganda”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The director of the upcoming film of Dan Brown’s “Angels & Demons” has decided to turn his attention to the head of the Catholic League. Ron Howard wrote this Monday in the Huffington Post: William Donohue of the Catholic League […]

Susan Boyle, again

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Michael Paulson’s blog, Articles of Faith, he’s uncovered an embedded version of the phenomenon that is Susan Boyle.

“The only thing that shocked me was how short he was!”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I dropped by Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s blog this morning, and he had some wonderful pictures from the installation of Archbishop Dolan. The good cardinal seemed to agree with the assessment that in Dolan, the American Church has another gifted communicator […]

“Jesus, I Trust in You”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This popped up last night on EWTN, and I was pleased to find it on YouTube (they do have something else besides Susan Boyle videos…) It’s “Jesus, I Trust in You,” performed by Angelina. “In the inevitable trials and difficulties […]

Homily for April 19, 2009: Divine Mercy Sunday

posted by deacon greg kandra

This past week, the woman ruling the British Empire wasn’t Queen Elizabeth. It was a 47-year-old unemployed spinster named Susan Boyle. A lot of you probably know her story. Susan grew up in a small town in Scotland, a devout […]

After Columbine: a father spreads a message of compassion to the corporate world

posted by deacon greg kandra

Incredibly, Monday marks the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy known simply as “Columbine.” The New York Times has this compelling look at the legacy of one victim, and how it is spreading into the corporate world: Darrell Scott has told […]

Archbishop Dolan steps up to the plate

posted by deacon greg kandra

The new archbishop of New York wasted no time getting to know the locals — taking in a ball game, visiting a food pantry, and rubbing elbows with his new flock. From the New York Daily News: After a week […]

Wojtyla’s “Rule for Spouses” revealed

posted by deacon greg kandra

This news strikes me as something that could be wonderfully beneficial for couples preparing for marriage — not to mention, those already married. From Catholic News Agency: In its Thursday printed edition, the Italian daily Il Messagero published an unknown […]

“It’s still more than almost any one of us will ever achieve”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I think it’s great at one level. It might just be the thing that will make her, but she is a very vulnerable person and it could be quite difficult. It is a great opportunity for her and as far […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Father Thomas Barrett, pastor of Church of the Nativity in Longwood, Florida, baptizes Ainsley Lindberg during the Easter Vigil Mass on April 11, 2009.  PHOTO:  by Valeta Orlando, Florida Catholic

Remembering Fr. Finch

posted by deacon greg kandra

Readers will remember that I took note this week of the sudden death of Fr. William Finch, pastor at my in-laws’ parish in Maryland. The Catholic Standard has more, from the funeral mass: Father Lee Fangmeyer, pastor of St. Francis […]

God bless “America”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Doc Mac reminds us that today is the Big Day for a venerable and enduring Catholic institution: Today marks the hundredth anniversary of America magazine. The founder was father John J. Wynne, the Jesuit who conceived the idea of the […]

From my inbox: “Shame on you, a deacon of the Church”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got this e-mail this morning, regarding the Mel Gibson divorce: This is a couple’s private tragedy. The laws of The United States may exclude celebrities from privacy protections, but that does not give us a moral pass to pronounce […]

“In the Arena”: Notre Dame

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m late posting this, but for those who missed the “In the Arena” episode about the Notre Dame controversy, you can take a look right here.

Today’s Susan Boyle fix: “Susan, you’ve got pluck, girl”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those clever people at “The Early Show” got Broadway legend Patti LuPone to join them as a guest this morning, chatting about Susan Boyle. Take a look. A cheerful wave of the stole to The God Googler for bringing this […]

A (missing) sign of the times? — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is a weird bit of news, but nothing surprises me anymore: When President Obama gave his economics speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday, several folks noticed something was missing. That “something” was an ancient monogram — the letters IHS […]

Dolan=Sheen?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The new Archbishop of New York made quite a connection with the faithful in his first official homily — and drew a connection, as well, with another celebrated archbishop, as the New York Times reports: In his first homily as […]

On Susan Boyle: “She has lived an obscure but important life”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Susan is a reminder that it’s time we all looked a little deeper. She has lived an obscure but important life. She has been a companionable and caring daughter. It’s people like her who are the unseen glue in society; […]

“I aim to be a happy bishop”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just hours from his formal installation, Archbishop Dolan has already taken a big bite out of the Big Apple, and to show that he’s settling in, he’s penned a column for the city’s fabled “Hometown Paper,” the New York Daily […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Thanks for opening the door wide enough even for me to get in. Thanks for welcoming me so warmly as your new pastor! Thanks for already making me feel at home! Thanks for letting me into your lives! I am […]

The prince of pieces: a Jesus made of Lego blocks

posted by deacon greg kandra

What would Michelangelo say? Take a look at this unusual statue of Christ. Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

One couple’s big “irreconcilable difference”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“There is no salvation for those outside the Church. I believe it. Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She’s a much better person than I am. Honestly. She’s, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes […]

“God does not likes puns, sir”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I missed this last week — I was otherwise engaged — but it’s Must See TV, from MCPF Stephen Colbert.  Enjoy!  The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Bart Ehrman colbertnation.com Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA […]

No song unsung, no wine untasted: the great Susan Boyle

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you haven’t seen it yet, by all means, pay a visit to this link and watch the amazing Susan Boyle stun the world. The Anchoress has even more details: A lifelong Catholic, and one of the youngest of nine […]

Dolan speaks — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Before he takes The Chair at St. Patrick’s, Archbishop Timothy Dolan sat down in another chair, across from an Associated Press reporter, to share a few thoughts in this AP exclusive: Dolan said he wants to restore pride in being […]

Is the circus coming to South Bend?

posted by deacon greg kandra

One has to wonder, especially after reading this piece of news, from Catholic News Service: Calling the protests against President Barack Obama’s planned commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame “unseemly and unhelpful,” Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Fort […]

Breaking: Mel Gibon’s wife files for divorce

posted by deacon greg kandra

This just moved a few moments ago — and I have to say the timing, the day after Easter, is curious: From AP: Mel Gibson’s wife of 28 years filed for divorce Monday, citing irreconcilable differences. Robyn Gibson filed the […]

Let the electioneering begin

posted by deacon greg kandra

Your Humble Blogger is up for a little award (thankfully, “Best Singing of the Exultet” is not a category.) Methinks if you click on the little icon above, it will take you to the site for the Blogger’s Choice Awards, […]

“I dreamed a dream…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

For everyone who has ever dreamed, this song is for you. It’s surprising and funny and just wonderful. In a word: wow. Excuse me, while I blow my nose and dry my eyes. And, a grateful wave of the deacon’s […]

A priest’s “beautiful death” on Holy Thursday

posted by deacon greg kandra

This one hits especially close to home. During the Triduum, I received word that my in-laws’ pastor in Maryland had died moments after celebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. He was 55. For his flock, the tragedy added new […]

Once more, with feeling

posted by deacon greg kandra

The world’s greatest choir, singing the world’s greatest Easter hymn. He has been raised! Alleluia!

Easter in the rearview mirror

posted by deacon greg kandra

Above is the sanctuary at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, my parish in Forest Hills, New York. A friend snapped the shot during a momentary lull between masses this Easter Sunday. Most of the last 24 hours or so, the […]

“Seven Stanzas for Easter” by John Updike

posted by deacon greg kandra

Make no mistake: if He rose at allit was as His body;if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the moleculesreknit, the amino acids rekindle,the Church will fall. It was not as the flowers,each soft Spring recurrent;it was not as His […]

Exult in glory: insight into the great chant of the Easter Vigil

posted by deacon greg kandra

Looking for a little dissection on The Exultet? Look no further. Visit Fr. Z’s site and you’ll find a rich and interesting look at that Everest of Chants (which Your Humble Blogger, along with countless others, will be scaling in […]

Bracing for a busy Easter: one priest, six parishes

posted by deacon greg kandra

This weekend is an especially exhausting one for Catholic clergy — is it Monday yet? — but it’s more frenetic and harried in regions hard hit by the priest shortage. The Baltimore Sun has a case in point: On Palm […]

Homily for April 11, 2009: Easter Vigil

posted by deacon greg kandra

“He has been raised.” In those four simple words lie all the glory and mystery and joy of this feast we celebrate. That is Easter. If you want more, all you had to do was look around you as this […]

“Accept the challenge”: a great new vocations website and video

posted by deacon greg kandra

Check out this new resource for my diocese that just debuted Holy Week: brooklynpriests.org. The video is truly inspired. As one of the producers said to me, “We wanted it to look like a superhero putting on his uniform. Like […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

A woman touches the white coffin of a child during the funeral service for quake victims in L’Aquila, Friday, April 10, 2009. The Vatican offered a special dispensation to allow a mass to be celebrated on Good Friday. You can […]

Joy

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader dropped the following note to Rod Dreher, and he posted it on his Beliefnet blog. It speaks for itself. Beautifully. (And it doesn’t hurt that the author evidently likes Merton.) Take a look: I’m a sophomore at the […]

Not so fast

posted by deacon greg kandra

According to CNS, reports that the Vatican has rejected several Obama picks for Ambassador to the Holy See are wrong: A Vatican spokesman dismissed reports that the Holy See has rejected several candidates for U.S. ambassador to the Vatican because […]

“We venerate the cross with a kiss…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This day, many of us will celebrate one of the most haunting liturgies in the church. I spoke about it in my Good Friday homily from last year: In one sense, of course, we are remembering an event that seems […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“On the eve of my priestly ordination, fifty-eight years ago, I opened the Sacred Scripture, because I wanted to receive once more a word from the Lord for that day and for my future journey as a priest. My gaze […]

Remembrance — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

I won’t be preaching tonight, but I thought I’d toss up here part of my homily from last year: Do this in remembrance of me. Jesus is saying: This is how I want to be remembered. In the gospel, John […]

“I beg you — the church begs you — for forgiveness”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Pittsburgh papers have published a full account of the “service of apology” that unfolded there Tuesday. It sounds like it was wrenching and — in every sense — extraordinary: n an emotional “service of apology,” Bishop David A. Zubik […]

“Do you know what I have done to you?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And […]

Gingrich on Notre Dame: “Maybe this will turn out to be a blessing by God”

posted by deacon greg kandra

America’s most famous new Catholic appeared on FOX News the other day (what a surprise!) to chat with Greta Van Susteren about a whole raftload of issues, including the ongoing Notre Dame story. A snip: VAN SUSTEREN: We continue now […]

A teachable moment from Notre Dame — in 2001?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A commenter wondered if a commencement address had ever provoked a “teachable moment” like the one some hope will occur when President Obama is honored at Notre Dame next month. I decided to do a little Googling and found this […]

Notre Dame and principle: one view from London

posted by deacon greg kandra

A brother deacon in the diocese passed this along, and it offers yet another point of view on the Notre Dame story, from the London Tablet: Two questions arise, both of principle. First, is it correct to regard abortion as […]

Deac of oil: a Chrism Mass report

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last night, our diocese for the first time celebrated the Chrism Mass on a day other than Holy Thursday. (Evidently, this is not uncommon in other parts of the country.) It was a rich and rewarding liturgy, as always, but […]

Spy Wednesday, and the tree of Judas

posted by deacon greg kandra

The day before Holy Thursday is traditionally known as “Spy Wednesday” — when Judas “spied” for an opportunity to betray Jesus. Last year I dug up and posted this little nugget which explains the liturgies surrounding this day, and the […]

The Catholic identity crisis

posted by deacon greg kandra

This writer in today’s New York Daily News offers some trenchant observations on the state of Catholic America, particularly in light of the Notre Dame controversy: If it looks like there’s an identity crisis within the Catholic contingent, there is […]

Wanna swap priests?

posted by deacon greg kandra

They’ve been doing that during Lent at some parishes around Pittsburgh, and the experiment has been well-received, according to the Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper: In what was billed as “pulpit sharing” or “priest swap,” the priests from five parishes in two […]

“The Obama appearance at Notre Dame is an opportunity that should not be wasted” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

After first hinting at this idea during her appearance on “In the Arena” last weekend, Elizabeth Scalia has now expanded and refined it in a compelling piece for Pajamas Media. A snip: Several bishops have argued well against the invitation, […]

“One person at a time,” Milwaukee bids farewell to Dolan

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Milwaukee papers are bidding fond farewell to Archbishop Timothy Dolan, as he prepares to head east and knock on the door of St. Patrick’s next Tuesday night. This article has some great anecdotes: Stories abound of Dolan’s personal outreach, […]

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy? — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Her name has been floated before for this position — and she’s also been mentioned as a contender to the serve at the Court of St. James, as her grandfather did — but there seems to be new life in […]

At Notre Dame: “We are not okay with this”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With all the other things happening on Palm Sunday, it didn’t get much attention, but there was a sizable protest last weekend at Notre Dame. (If you have to ask what it was about, you haven’t been paying attention.) From […]

“One of the most powerful moments of my life”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I’m not talking about this much publicly, but let me just say that I found over the course of the last decade, attending the basilica … reading the literature, that there was a peace in my soul and a sense […]

Dear Pope: don’t close my parish

posted by deacon greg kandra

A number of parishes from around the U.S. have taken an extraordinary step to fight parish closings: they’re taking their case straight to the top. From the AP: Worshippers in eight dioceses around the country have banded together in a […]

The friendly persuasion of Jesus

posted by deacon greg kandra

The familiar saying attributed to St. Francis says we are to preach the gospel at all times, using words if necessary. If you want another take on that idea, a reader sent me a link to this compelling piece on […]

The coming wave of new bishops

posted by deacon greg kandra

Want a new bishop in your diocese? Be patient. As the Los Angeles Times points out, several leading figures are nearing retirement age, and change is in the wind: With Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony prominently among them, many of […]

Egan hospitalized

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was a more-dramatic-than-usual Palm Sunday at St. Patrick’s, as Rocco reports, with updates: Cardinal Edward Egan was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital [late Saturday] after experiencing stomach pains… Doctors were running tests Sunday. Egan was awake and alert. Doctors […]

Life is for sharing

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yes, it is, and this inspired commercial makes you want to share — and dance, and just grin. Enjoy. A jolly H/T to Sister Boogaloo herself, The Anchoress. Meantime, if you want to know how they did it, watch this. […]

Here comes everybody: 2009 edition

posted by deacon greg kandra

With a tip of the cap and a raised glass of Guiness to James Joyce, The Bench takes a cheerful look at the elect who are preparing to become the converted at next weekend’s Easter Vigil. A snapshot of the […]

“I have seen the Almighty and I saw Him in the eyes of the children”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve just stumbled on this engaging blog by a priest in the Church of England, who offers these thoughts about why he is serving in Iraq right now: In reality I am here because I believe The Almighty wants me […]

“Making felt banners does not help produce a reverence for God”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Making felt banners does not help produce a reverence for God and the moral law. Catechesis may have improved in the schools, but fewer Catholic children are going to Catholics schools or to religious education classes. Instead they are picking […]

From 40 days, down to 4

posted by deacon greg kandra

And how has your Lent been going? Mine, not so great. It went by too quickly. Too much frenzy, too many distractions, precious little time to be still, to ponder, to pray. I gave up swearing and eating meat, and […]

Seven days that shook the world

posted by deacon greg kandra

After spending the last few weeks in the desert of Lent, suddenly we find ourselves in an oasis, clutching long leaves of palms. But like so many things you see after being in the desert, it’s a mirage. What we […]

“Hey JC, JC, you’re alright by me…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

And now, a little ’70s flashback for you. From the movie version of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” just for Palm Sunday: Incredibly, Ted Neeley, who played Jesus way back when, is now touring in another stage production of the show. A […]

“The near occasion of cynicism”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s how a woman by the name of Heidi Schlumpf refers to MCPF Stephen Colbert in this essay from NCR: I enjoy satire as much, or maybe even more, than the average person. I even guiltily laughed at The Onion’s […]

Homily for April 5, 2009: Palm Sunday

posted by deacon greg kandra

We have just heard the climax of the Greatest Story Ever Told. We hear it every Palm Sunday – and we will hear it again on Good Friday. It is a story of monumental suffering, and love, that has been […]

“We are called to preach who we are and what we are”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“As you go forth in your preparation, you will spend much time preparing homilies. But even more important is the preparation of the homilist. That means, we are called to preach who we are and what we are. We preach […]

What does the Vatican think about Obama and Notre Dame?

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s interesting to speculate, and John Thavis, over at Catholic News Service, reports that people around the Vatican are being fairly tight-lipped about the controversy. But he does offer these compelling nuggets: Non-Americans at the Vatican tend to see the […]

“In the Arena” this weekend: Notre Dame — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

For those who are interested … We’ll be discussing the Notre Dame mess on “In the Arena” this weekend. You can watch a live stream of the channel right here. “In the Arena” airs Sunday night at 7:30 ET, with […]

“We lost a true giant…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The great Triple D — Deacon Doctor (William) Ditewig — sent this my way, and I’m happy to post it: a reflection on Deacon John Pistone, that Bill penned for the nation’s diocesan diaconate directors: “Standing on the shoulders of […]

Sing, choirs of angels: deacons on the Exultet

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some weeks back, I wrote about the challenge of singing the Exultet — and I’ve gone on record describing my own experience scaling that mountain for the first time. Now the refrain has been picked up by the Catholic Review […]

Soulwow! For that almost-baptized feeling!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those clever people who brought you the sensational Stop Good TV commercials (which put a certain diocesan TV channel on the map) are at it again. Below is a campaign for the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre, to draw […]

Soldier, deacon, teacher, priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

This obituary from the Philadelphia Daily News caught my eye: it’s about a priest who was ordained late in life and, in a rare exception, served as a permanent deacon for a number of years before entering the priesthood: The […]

Remembering Deacon John Pistone

posted by deacon greg kandra

A man who might well be reckoned a giant in the diaconate community has left us. A suburban Chicago paper takes note: One of the most influential figures in the Archdiocese of Chicago’s program to prepare men to become ordained […]

Away from The Bench, and caught on tape

posted by deacon greg kandra

How’s this for an April Fool? Those who have been waiting breathlessly for Your Humble Blogger to appear on camera — I know it’s all my wife can talk about (not) — can now see my debut right here. Just […]

On Notre Dame: “I am more alarmed that the rhetoric is so uncivil and venomous…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Early ‘markers’ [of Obama’s record on the life issues] are not encouraging in this regard but hope needs to spring eternal and while Notre Dame may have acted way too early and too generously, I am more alarmed that the […]

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

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