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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

July 2009 Archives

I’m a Mad Man

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Anchoress sent me this link and — knowing how much I love this show — said, “Here. Knock yourself out.” I did. The results are below. The new season begins August 16. Set your TiVo!

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Another sign of the coming apocalypse

posted by deacon greg kandra

Or, maybe, our desire for naps.

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Beware: this preacher is armed

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader sent me the picture below (I’m not sure where it was shot; it was sent to him by a friend) and noted: “Having traveled all over the US and Europe I haven’t even seen it before. So, I […]

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One bread, one body, two lines

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the Anglican Desk (Communion Division) comes this bit of news: An Anglican cathedral is trying to accommodate those of its faithful who do not accept female clergy by allowing parishioners to decide whether to accept communion bread blessed by […]

“She gave all that up to do this great work for the church”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m old enough to remember the excitement generated when Elizabeth Ann Seton was declared a saint in 1975. (It was an especially big deal in my neck of the woods, Maryland.) Now, they’re about to mark the bicentennial of her […]

Take a hike

posted by deacon greg kandra

This has been widely circulated, but it’s well worth reading and pondering: a modern story of pilgrimage and pure, undiluted trust: They’ve been mistaken for Jedi-wannabes headed to a Star Wars convention. They’ve been investigated by police, approached by strangers, […]

Another birth control device: your television

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something the pope should definitely mention in his next encyclical: Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Health and Family Welfare Minister, has called for the country to redouble its efforts to bring electricity to all of its huge rural population. The […]

Meet the press

posted by deacon greg kandra

“The primary function of the MSM is not to inform but to sell beer and shampoo. Informing and enlightening are entirely secondary to that overriding capitalist value. So given the choice between understanding and ratings-grabbing sensationalism, the MSM will choose […]

Thinking about deacons in the Year for Priests

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert reader sent this my way: some intriguing thoughts from FOB Meredith Gould: And what’s up with calling Roman Catholics to pray for “spiritual perfection in priests”? Rather ambitious, don’t you think? I think we should start with more […]

Paper apologizes to Canada’s prime minister over communion story

posted by deacon greg kandra

You may remember the flap over this story, which reported that Canada’s non-Catholic prime minister had received communion — but instead of consuming it, pocketed the host. Now, a Canadian paper has apologized: The saga of the missing holy host […]

Sister Uma

posted by deacon greg kandra

This may seem like an improbable casting choice, but there’s word from Hollywood that Quentin Tarantino’s muse will soon be donning the habit to play a nun. From CNA: An upcoming movie will portray the real life story of Ugandan […]

Boston raises retirement age for priests

posted by deacon greg kandra

Any Beantown priests who are counting the days until they hit the retirement age of 70 should keep on counting. From the Boston Globe: The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, continuing to grapple with a shortage of clergy, is raising the […]

“Two styles of being Anglican”?

posted by deacon greg kandra

That seems to be what the Archbishop of Canterbury is mulling for his fractured, increasingly splintered church — an idea that sounds, frankly, schizophrenic. From the New York Times: Confronting rifts among his followers over gay clergy and same-sex unions, […]

Medjugorje priest “defrocked”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Controversy has long swirled around one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the world — and now one of its most visible and outspoken advocates has decided to leave the priesthood. From CNA: Pope Benedict XVI has approved the […]

“We are not overworked; we are overjoyed.” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, the responses to these articles on the diaconate in America have started to trickle in, and my personal favorite just might be this one, from Ron Hansen: The adjective “busy” seems to be increasingly attached to “deacon” because while […]

Where’s Our Lady of Crosby?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a fascinating nugget from McNamara’s Blog. He notes that today marks the anniversary of the death of Bob Hope, a late-in-life convert who funded a chapel at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington: The name of […]

Speaking of dancing…

posted by deacon greg kandra

My Anglican e-pal Bosco Peters, in New Zealand, noting the kerfuffle over that wedding march, has pointed me to this intriguing video of an Episcopal parish in San Francisco which regularly uses dance as part of its liturgy. Below is […]

Tim Tebow: “Yep, I’m a virgin”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Okay. Confession time: I don’t follow college sports. So the name “Tim Tebow” doesn’t ring any bells with me. But this guy is on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and evidently a very big deal. So it was an even […]

And to think, it all started with the church bulletin…

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can’t believe I missed this story a couple weeks ago. But with a cheerful wave of the deacon’s stole to Charm City blogger Fr. Austin Murphy (who saw it first), I happily post this account, from the Baltimore Sun, […]

Forget John and Kate, and the Kardashians. Here’s a family worth watching.

posted by deacon greg kandra

My cousins in the diocesan television industry, CatholicTV in Boston, are wading into the sometimes murky waters of reality TV. But this sounds like a plunge worth taking: CatholicTV, a television ministry of the Boston Archdiocese, is venturing into the […]

Best wedding processional. Ever. Now, the backstory…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, the couple who launched this terrific wedding video are speaking out about their exuberant nuptial boogie. They popped up a couple days ago on TODAY: Most couples wait until the reception before breaking out into the Funky Chicken on […]

A thorny problem

posted by deacon greg kandra

Clearly, I have too much time on my hands. A former colleague from CBS posted this on his Facebook page: A band of friars lived up on top of a secluded mountain. They had hardly any money, so one day […]

When the chancellor is a she

posted by deacon greg kandra

There was some interesting news breaking when St. Louis got its new archbishop: he announced was bringing along a woman who’d worked with him in Saginaw to be his chancellor. That’s not unprecedented — lay people have been allowed to […]

41 years ago today…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Good Dr. Pat notes a not-insignificant anniversary today. July 25, 1968. The date that Humanae Vitae was issued. You may have heard of it.

Homily for July 26, 2009: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

A lot of women have difficult pregnancies. But I can’t imagine any more difficult than the one endured by Amy McNamara. She’s a friend of Jack Smith, a writer for the Kansas City newspaper, the Catholic Key, and he told […]

Ladies and gentlemen: the real Invisible Man

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s a certain mad brilliance to this kind of artistry. Check out the picture below: A website explains: 35-year-old Liu Bolin, from Shandong, China, manages to camouflage himself in any surroundings, no matter how difficult they might be. Liu works […]

A deacon scam?

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’ve all gotten those e-mails from Nigeria. Now, here comes one from a Catholic deacon. (No, it’s not me…) Read on: Each message was the same. A deacon of the church was stranded in England without his wallet or money, […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I’ve learned that the focus is on Christ anyway and we’re merely the vessels and instruments; and we’re here to help the people find Christ, like a mediator. I try to remember that its all about bringing the people to […]

Common scents

posted by deacon greg kandra

Amy Welborn paid a visit to her husband’s grave, and came back with this stunning memory: Sitting there, nothing was revealed to me that I did not already know. Not really. I did not feel closer, and in fact I […]

Best wedding processional. Ever.

posted by deacon greg kandra

I know I should probably be shocked and wringing my hanky into knots over this. It’s clearly not what most of us would have in mind as the proper way for beginning the celebration of a sacrament. (N.B., it wasn’t […]

The faith of Frank McCourt

posted by deacon greg kandra

With the passing of celebrated storyteller Frank McCourt this week, the world lost more than just a gifted writer. It also lost someone with a deep and complicated connection to the Catholic faith. Peter Duffy notes in the Wall Street […]

Shalom! Franciscan friars to open Hebrew academy

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something you don’t hear about every day: Roman Catholic Franciscan friars are to open Poland’s first privately-run Hebrew academy in October with the approval of the country’s chief rabbi and a Polish cardinal, its rector said Tuesday. “We’ve started […]

Mad as a hatter?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Clearly, that sums up Tim Burton’s vision succinctly. The first trailer for his adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” is out. See below. Disney is producing. Spinning teacups, anyone?

Warning: something adorable ahead

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s Wednesday in late July. The Vatican has rolled up the sidewalks and the pope is out of town and the news cycle is slow. Hence, this:

Nearer, my God, to thee…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is many things to many people – a study project to an atheist student, a dream (or nightmare) assignment to a photographer, an illustrated Bible to the believer. It is also a kind of evolutionary marker in […]

Sea change: the sisters get some company at the Jersey shore

posted by deacon greg kandra

I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph, from Chestnut Hill, Pa. (just outside Philly), and remember tales of the black-habit-wearing nuns heading to Cape May for their summer vacation, where they’d sit on the sand, in habit and […]

Inside one house of formation: “It is a work of hope”

posted by deacon greg kandra

More dioceses (like mine) are opening special residences, houses of discernment, for men considering a vocation. The Los Angeles Times this morning looks at one in the Diocese of San Bernadino: The morning sun has barely crept above the horizon […]

Little Sisters, big step

posted by deacon greg kandra

As promised yesterday, here’s the link to the story showing the Little Sisters of the Poor taking their first profession. It’s also available for viewing on our YouTube channel.

Death be not cheap: the rise in home burials

posted by deacon greg kandra

To save money, more Americans are evidently choosing to skip the funeral parlor and bury their loved ones from home. Besides cutting costs, this is transforming the experience of death for some families. From the NY Times: When Nathaniel Roe, […]

Father Blogger: meet some priests who blog

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Georgia Bulletin has picked up on a growing phenomenon: priests who blog. The paper has turned the spotlight on a couple local clergy — including one FOB (Friend of the Bench)– who are staying connected with the faithful through […]

From the e-mailbag: what priests really think of deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got an e-mail this afternoon from a deacon who appreciated some of my thoughts here, in the current issue of America. Then he added this: Just before I was ordained in 2002 I asked one of our professors, a […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Faith is also a process of Incarnation – of becoming who and what you were born to be. When you are doing what you are meant to do, the queasiness vanishes. Identifying a calling is no easy thing. Following a […]

“Doesn’t that have something to do with family finances?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s one of the responses we got when my TV show “Currents” visited some parishes this past Sunday and asked the question, “What’s NFP?” This week marks Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, and so we decided to see just how […]

Can we talk? How one man went from writing for Joan Rivers to being a priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

I finally got my print edition of the National Catholic Register this week, and this story jumped off the page: a one-of-a-kind vocation story that proves, once again, that God does indeed have a sense of humor. Take a look: […]

The naked novice: nun sues ex-boyfriend over revealing Facebook pics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another sign of the times. You can’t make this stuff up: A novice nun is suing her ex-boyfriend in Italy after he uploaded pictures of her naked on Facebook. The 31-year-old woman who lives in Turin said she was devastated […]

You deserve a break today: Happy Birthday, Happy Meal

posted by deacon greg kandra

Everyone is getting all excited about the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. How about the 30th birthday of the Happy Meal? The kids’ meal was first introduced nationally in 1979 with a Circus Wagon Train theme and tried to […]

Oregon’s fashion police (religious division)

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m not sure what implications this might have for Catholics, but it’s a disturbing prospect nonetheless: Should your child’s teacher wear a turban, a hijab, a kippah or other “religious dress’? The state of Oregon doesn’t think so. The Oregon […]

An Astronaut’s Prayer

posted by deacon greg kandra

Father, thank you, especially for letting me fly this flight.Thank you for the privilege of being able to be in this position, to be up in this wondrous place, seeing all these many startling, wonderful things that you have created. […]

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s sermon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some months back, I remember reading about a wave of homiletic plagiarism that was hitting, of all places, Poland. But it’s more widespread (especially these days) than many people in the pews may think. And it’s not just Catholics, as […]

Gnarly: from abuse victim, to prostitute, to surfer, to minister

posted by deacon greg kandra

Real life stories of redemption and healing don’t get much better than this. How long until Lifetime turns it into a movie? From the Los Angeles Times: It’s another beautiful day in paradise and I’m out on the ocean, riding […]

Calling all deacons!

posted by deacon greg kandra

The good people at America magazine have devoted much of this current issue to the ministry of the diaconate. (I mentioned something about that earlier.) Now they’re asking for some response. When you have a moment, check out this link […]

A culinary star whose recipes are second to nun

posted by deacon greg kandra

The culinary world has a new star — and it’s not someone on the Food Network. Take a look: Emerging from the quiet of her convent, Sister Anastazja Pustelnik was confronted by a jarring image — her smiling face on […]

Homily for July 19, 2009: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over the last few days, we’ve been hearing a lot about the anniversary of the moon landing, which happened 40 years ago Monday. A lot of us can remember where we were when it happened, and where we were when […]

Need a laugh?

posted by deacon greg kandra

This should do it. Quadruplets giggling. Go ahead. Smile. H/T Creative Minority Report.

Walter and me

posted by deacon greg kandra

The last time I saw him, maybe a year ago, he was a shadow of his former self. He was in midtown Manhattan for an event, and they brought him into the newsroom to say hello. He was feeble, and […]

That’s the way it was: Cronkite’s first “Evening News” broadcast

posted by deacon greg kandra

A fascinating glimpse at Walter Cronkite’s very first edition of the “CBS Evening News,” as replayed on the CBS late night program “Up to the Minute” in 1992. Rest in peace, Walter.

Walking in Memphis, proudly

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last month, the spotlight fell on Atlanta, and its bumper crop of priestly ordinations. This month, it’s Memphis. From Rocco’s place: See, while a handful of dioceses have larger groups of seminarians, even the smallest of those are exponentially more […]

The U.S. gets another basilica

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s in Florida, at one of my favorite churches: Mary Queen of the Universe Shrine (a stone’s throw from Disney World.) Details, from Florida Catholic: Good things come in threes, including basilicas within Florida. The Sunshine State will be home […]

A father-son team at the altar

posted by deacon greg kandra

Periodically, I’ve posted stories of father-son clergy members, where dad’s a permanent deacon and the son is a priest. (I’d love to find that situation reversed — what a story that would be!) Well, here’s one more, from Florida Catholic, […]

A patron for handgun owners?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Um, yes. That would be St. Gabriel Possenti — if a group of “handgunners” gets its way. CNS posted a brief item about their efforts to have him declared their patron saint, and that led me to this website — […]

Pope fractures wrist

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those of you waiting for your personally autographed copy of the latest encyclical may have to wait a while. This just in, from the hills of northern Italy: Pope Benedict XVI has suffered a small fracture to his wrist after […]

Made in Hong Kong: the budding diaconate of the East

posted by deacon greg kandra

With diaconate ordinations booming in this of the world, it’s useful (and sobering) to see what’s happening in Asia. (H/T to Deacon Chick) Take a look-see: Three permanent deacons have been ordained here as the diocese prays for more priestly […]

Dog bites man

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the “Duh” Desk, old news made to sound new: Couples living together before marrying have a higher chance of getting divorced than those who wait until they were engaged or married, according to research out Tuesday in the Journal […]

From the e-mailbag: thoughts on being a “Catholic judge”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This arrived in my e-mail this afternoon, from Deacon Marv Robertson, in the Diocese of Lansing. I asked him if he’d mind my sharing it on the blog, and he happily gave his permission: I recall some weeks ago, the […]

World’s oldest woman to give birth dies at 69, leaving babies orphaned

posted by deacon greg kandra

Science can do amazing things. But just because it can doesn’t mean it should. A case in point: A Spanish woman who gave birth to twins when she was 67 has died, leaving her two young boys orphaned just two-and-a-half […]

Communion in the Sea of Tranquility

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a poignant flashback to the anniversary of man’s landing on the moon — the launch happened 40 years ago today — from New Zealand Anglican blogger Bosco Peters: On Sunday July 20, 1969 the first people landed on the […]

Roots: visiting Sotomayor’s Catholic grade school

posted by deacon greg kandra

Where did the woman who is in line to be the next Supreme Court justice come from? The New York Times visits Blessed Sacrament School in the Bronx: Judge Sonia Sotomayor, 55, was a student at Blessed Sacrament in the […]

His view from the pew: what a bishop saw at mass on vacation — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

How often do you find a bishop who takes the time to look thoughtfully — and critically — at what people encounter when they attend mass? So it’s all the more impressive to encounter this column by Rhode Island Bishop […]

“I call your attention to the ministry of deacons…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s gratifying and humbling when a bishops salutes those other members of the clergy who aren’t priests or bishops — and this week, Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland doffs his miter to deacons: Pope Benedict XVI has asked Catholics the […]

Godcast

posted by deacon greg kandra

The good people over at Busted Halo have just put up their weekly podcast, which features a cameo appearance by Matt McClure, co-anchor of “Currents,” the daily Catholic news show I produce for The NET. And if you want to […]

Another brilliant ad from CatholicVote

posted by deacon greg kandra

And especially timely. Just watch. You can see more of their handiwork here and here. You can also visit the CatholicVote.org website. If memory serves, this was produced by the remarkable guys at Brooklyn’s own Grassroots Films (the same team […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“We now record fetal heartbeats at 14 days post-conception. We record fetal brainwaves at 39 days post-conception. And I don’t expect you to answer this, but I do expect you to pay attention to it as you contemplate these big […]

Those other Deacons…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Ever met a Demon Deacon (besides the snarly one in your parish sacristy)? It’s the curious mascot for Wake Forest University, and someone has finally explained the character’s origins: There are some things at Wake Forest that are absolutely unique. […]

What’s the deal-ee-o with the giglio?

posted by deacon greg kandra

You might find an answer here, with a story we aired last night on “Currents.” And right here we have a profile of the #1 capo. Ah, Brooklyn! You can also find a write-up in the local paper. Enjoy.

Famed conductor and wife die at Swiss suicide clinic

posted by deacon greg kandra

How long until we start seeing more obituaries like this on a daily basis? Read on, from the BBC: Renowned British conductor Sir Edward Thomas Downes, CBE, has died at the age of 85, after travelling to the assisted suicide […]

The modern diaconate in America (and, in “America”)

posted by deacon greg kandra

For your summer beach reading… The Catholic newsweekly America has just published a special issue on the diaconate, which features a thought or two from Your Humble Blogger, along with much saner and smarter people like William Ditewig and Scott […]

Obama picks a Catholic as surgeon general — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is big. And impressive: Founder of a rural Alabama health clinic for the poor that was devastated three times (twice by hurricanes, once by fire) since its founding in 1990, Dr Regina Benjamin was reelected to a second term […]

The audacity of the pope

posted by deacon greg kandra

The New York Times’ conservative columnist Ross Douthat has offered his thoughts this morning on the pope’s new encylical. What he has to say strikes me as both sensible, and necessary: When a pope criticizes legalized abortion, liberal Catholics nod […]

Buying into the “Prosperity Gospel”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m not a big fan of Joel Osteen — I once told someone “He’s all crown and no cross” — and there’s a lot I find accurate and troubling in this dissection of the “Prosperity Gospel” from Slate. But I […]

The priest shortage hits the military — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The vocations crisis is sending ripples across all kinds of ministries — including military chaplaincy. Now the National Guard is feeling the effects: When patriotism inspired the Rev. Jerry Fehn a decade ago to serve soldiers in combat zones abroad, […]

Does Obama have a friend in the Vatican?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several prominent Catholics commentators, of varying political persuasions, seek to answer that question in this post. It’s an interesting Sunday morning conversation-starter.

America’s Susan Boyle?

posted by deacon greg kandra

You decide. One thing is certain: this guy’s got the goods.

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“The news media, despite their claims of impartiality, and despite the good work they often do accomplish, are just as prone to prejudice, ignorance, bad craftsmanship and tribalism as any other profession. But unlike other professions, the press has constitutional […]

Anybody you know?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Exhibit A in how not to practice the New Evangelization.

We could all use a little more irony in our diet

posted by deacon greg kandra

And these ironic ads just might do the trick. It’s amazing how things were sold way-back-when. Like, for example, cellaphane. Perfect for mothering. Or, maybe, smothering?

What if the Beatles were Irish?

posted by deacon greg kandra

No need to wonder any longer. This guy has it figured out. It’s a hoot.

Homily for July 12, 2009: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Boston’s Fenway Park has witnessed some great moments in sports history. But I don’t think anything can compare with what happened there two summers ago. The Red Sox were hosting Disability Awareness Night – to honor and salute fans who […]

Obama’s Catholic spokesman

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, here’s another of those “I-Had-No-Idea” moments. I had no idea that President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, is Catholic. From U.S. News & World Report: White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is not predisposed to showing his personal side. […]

“Truly cordial”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those are the two words used by the Vatican to describe the meeting between President Obama and Pope Benedict. NCR’s John Allen has details: When President Barack Obama came calling on Pope Benedict XVI today, the two men enjoyed a […]

Stumped: thousands see Mary in a cut willow tree

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the Marian Oddities Desk, a report that some of the faithful in Ireland are seeing the Blessed Mother in a tree stump: Thousands of Irish Catholics have flocked this week to a County Limerick church to pray at the […]

The pope and the president: a first report — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Catholic News Service: Pope Benedict XVI welcomed U.S. President Barack Obama to the Vatican July 10, and the two discussed world issues addressed at the Group of Eight summit. As they met, Obama told the pope, “It’s a great […]

“Behind the Walls with the Man Behind the Stole”

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert reader spotted this item and sent it my way: the compelling story of a New York deacon’s experiences as a prison chaplain, which he’s now chronicled in a book: David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz attended his first religious […]

Take and eat?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Strange happenings in Austria, where a woman who claims ordination as a Catholic bishop is grabbing the spotlight — and the Body of Christ. Read on: The Sunday worship celebration in the Parish of St. Peter in Linz did not […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool.” – Peggy Noonan, eviscerating Sarah Palin. Read the whole thing. She knows whereof she speaks.

The NEW kings of pop

posted by deacon greg kandra

While the world was obsessing about the Michael Jackson funeral, Evian unveiled this amazing — and amazingly freakish — ad that has apparently taken the internet by storm. How’d they do that? See below. Watch CBS Videos Online

Different strokes

posted by deacon greg kandra

That might be how one could sum up what are seemingly two differing views of President Obama, one from the Vatican and the other from U.S. bishops: Ever since he took office, President Obama has been given a cold reception […]

An excommunicated nun as a saint?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Could happen. Really. That savvy saint expert, James Martin, S.J. has the following news about one controversial woman headed for sainthood: Mother Mary McKillop, the foundress of the Australian-based Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, was, in 1871, […]

Obama’s gift for the pope

posted by deacon greg kandra

What would you give the pope for a gift? President Obama has something picked out, according to the Catholic Review of Baltimore: During President Barack Obama’s July 10 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, he will present the pope with a […]

When Benedict meets Barack

posted by deacon greg kandra

With President Obama and Pope Benedict about to have their first face-to-face meeting tomorrow, commentators are weighing in on What It Will Mean. Here’s the WaPo’s (Catholic columnist) E.J. Dionne: Whether he is the beneficiary of providence or merely good […]

The Undesirables

posted by deacon greg kandra

Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for […]

Nuns near death: “We approach our living and dying the same way, with discernment”

posted by deacon greg kandra

We are finding, more and more, many members of religious vocations are growing older, and dying off. Now, those who taught so many of us how to live are also teaching us how to die: Gravely ill with heart disease, […]

Canada’s non-Catholic prime minister pockets communion host — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Did he think he was getting a pocketful of miracles? You have to see this to believe it. Canada’s Prime Minister (who is not Catholic) receives communion. And then decides to hold onto it for…safekeeping? A souvenir? Good luck? H/T […]

A thought or two on the encyclical …

posted by deacon greg kandra

… from Brooklyn author and journalist (and FOB) David Gibson, on last night’s edition of “Currents.” Take a look.

Where is Howard Beale when we need him?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The mad prophet of the movie masterpiece “Network” would have had a field day with this: What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists? Turkish […]

Who on earth could she be talking about?

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Whether Palin has a national future or not will depend on her willingness to hit the books at some point and absorb more information about international history and politics than she has needed to know in her role as governor. […]

Isn’t that St. Peter’s on the cover…?

posted by deacon greg kandra

…Oh, no. My mistake. It’s the U.S. Capitol. It’s on the cover of Dan Brown’s new book — whose cover was released yesterday with much fanfare: Ramping up the publicity campaign for Dan Brown’s long-time-coming follow-up to “The Da Vinci […]

The encyclical as a “word cloud”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Don’t have time to read the whole thing? Take a look at what Catholic News Service graphic artist Emily Thompson came up with, below:

Benedict and Paul: one analysis of the encyclical

posted by deacon greg kandra

The commentaries and analysis of the new encyclical are starting to pour in. One of the first, from Drew Christiansen, S.J., editor of America: Social activists and ethicists who still honor the memory of Paul VI will be glad to […]

Would you like fries with that?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Catholic foundation in Ohio is finding a new use for an old building. It’s taking over the very first Wendy’s hamburger restaurant: The original Wendy’s restaurant Downtown soon will reopen its doors, and though the new tenant won’t be […]

The Newman miracle: one deacon’s “umerited gift” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Massachusetts deacon who was miraculously healed by the intercession of John Henry Newman is talking about the event that has lead to the late Cardinal’s beatification. Take a look: A day after Pope Benedict XVI ruled that John “Jack” […]

“The acceptance of life makes people capable of mutual help”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life […]

A fisher of men: meet a priest among the herring

posted by deacon greg kandra

From a far-flung corner of the British Empire comes this sweet tale of an old priest who is remarkably self-sufficient: ‘I’m an old man of 85. I live on fish and potatoes – we grow the loveliest potatoes in the […]

A deacon’s son becomes a deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

An interesting bit of news from North Carolina, where a deacon is now the father of a deacon — on his way to the priesthood: After 10 years of discernment, Rev. Mr. Richard Sutter took a step closer to serving […]

Will anyone care about “Caritas”?

posted by deacon greg kandra

After many months of delay, Pope Benedict’s third encyclical arrives tomorrow. And at least one observer is asking: “Will anybody care?” In the days leading up to this week’s scheduled release of Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical, there’s been a […]

“Remember Elvis”

posted by deacon greg kandra

My pal The Anchoress is telling Michael Jackson, in no uncertain terms, to “Beat it, already.” She’s had about enough of the endless coverage of his dying, his death, his post-death, and everything leading up to his funeral (which we’re […]

Did he play “We Are The World” for the processional?

posted by deacon greg kandra

And now for something different: a brief Michael Jackson tribute, played as the postlude on the organ of the Trinity (Episcopal) Church on Wall Street in lower Manhattan. It’s a blending of “Beat It” and “ABC.” (A wave of the […]

Memories of holidays past

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sifting through old pictures I found the snapshot below. Walt Disney World. July 4th, 2006. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The crowd you see started to collect at about 4 in the afternoon, and it never […]

Go Fourth!

posted by deacon greg kandra

As only the Muppets can… Happy Independence Day, one and all.

Twittering for Jesus

posted by deacon greg kandra

Technology and the Church: what a concept! Take a look at how some faith-filled Facebookers (and Twitterers) are sharing the Good News: Things went smoothly for the first hour of the Twitter experiment at Trinity Church in Manhattan on Good […]

Death of a salesman: Billy Mays’ Catholic funeral

posted by deacon greg kandra

I wasn’t aware that celebrated pitchman Billy Mays was Catholic, until I read this account of his funeral this morning: References to television pitchman Bill Mays’ trademark image were everywhere at his funeral Friday near Pittsburgh. Most mourners wore stickers […]

Homily for July 5, 2009: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

My mother grew up in a small town in South Jersey, named Pitman, not far from Philadelphia. It was the kind of place you passed through on your way to someplace else. It was pretty unremarkable – there was a […]

A prayer for our nation

posted by deacon greg kandra

Let us pray [for God’s blessing on our country]… Father of all nations and agesWe recall the day when our country claimed its place among the family of nations.For what has been achieved we give you thanks;for the work that […]

“Jesus Calls Women”: a new vocations DVD

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s a good way to attract women to the religious life? How about this DVD: A San Bernardino Catholic production company is using DVDs to address a vexing problem for the Catholic Church: a severe and growing shortage of nuns. […]

It wasn’t even close

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got a nice e-mail a short time ago, announcing the winners of the Catholic New Media Awards. No, I didn’t win. But I did come in second. A very, very, very distant second in the category for “Best Blog […]

Cardinal praises Obama’s “humble realism”

posted by deacon greg kandra

As if the warm words he’s getting from the Vatican newspaper weren’t enough, President Obama now has a prominent cardinal and former papal theologian in his corner. John Allen has details: In the run-up to President Barack Obama’s much-anticipated July […]

From the e-mailbag: more thoughts on busy clergy, and loneliness

posted by deacon greg kandra

A deacon sent this along, from a Presbyterian elder who works with him in ministry at an assisted living facility. “It’s from the ‘Church Wellness Report,’,” he wrote, “and I really think it ought to be read by every priest […]

A bright day for deacons in the Sunshine State

posted by deacon greg kandra

Two weeks ago, they ordained what the local paper has dubbed a “bumper crop” of deacons in Pensacola-Tallahassee. From Florida Catholic: God blessed the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee abundantly with a bumper crop of new permanent deacons June 20 when Bishop […]

An airport chaplain offers mass on the fly

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is a busy travel weekend, but people passing through many airports across the country can find a quiet corner to stop and reflect and pray. (No, I’m not talking about Cinnabon or Hudson News.) Meet the priest who ministers […]

Start the presses!

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Pres met the press today. Barack Obama sat down with several members of the Catholic media — Your Humble Blogger, I should note, was inexplicably not on the guest list — in advance of next week’s trip to Italy, […]

Stop the presses!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lino Rulli catches up with Ed Wilkinson, the editor of our diocesan newspaper, the Tablet. Watch the scoop here.

One busy priest writes: “Despite us, God breaks through…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This post on one priest’s busy day off generated some comments and e-mails, including the one below, from Fr. Austin Murphy, an FOB who runs the always-engaging blog Jesus Goes to Disney World. (He has posted the e-mail there, along […]

Should the flag be displayed in church?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A regular reader and FOB (Friend of The Bench), Msgr. Thomas Welbers from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles offers a few thoughts on the subject in this week’s issue of LA’s The Tidings: There is no law, either ecclesiastical or […]

Just try to watch this and not be moved

posted by deacon greg kandra

I mentioned this video here. But take 10 minutes out of your day, and see it for yourself. I guarantee: you’ll feel a little bit better about vocations and, just maybe, the state of the world in general. A grateful […]

Nuns facing a “doctrinal inquisition”?

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s how the usually fair-minded Laurie Goodstein describes the Vatican’s visitation of American nuns in Thursday’s New York Times: The Vatican is quietly conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns, a development that has startled and dismayed nuns who fear […]

Karl Malden and the real-life “Waterfront Priest”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Leave it to James Martin to unearth this intriguing bit of Jesuit trivia, tied to the sad news that Karl Malden has gone to the great Actors Studio in the sky: News today that Karl Malden died at the age […]

If anyone’s looking for me, this is the LAST place you’ll find me — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pull me in. Now. Please. Read all about it from the safety of your desktop right here. UPDATE: You can also find more information, and more heart-stopping pictures, at this link. I’d recommend sitting down first.

A 10-year-old from Long Island meets the pope: “I thought it was cool!”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Were you nervous?“Yes!”Did you pray last night?“Yes!”Your outfit is perfect.“My mother picked it out!”What is Pope Benedict XVI like?“Nice! Really nice!”Did the Pope say anything?“Yes!”What did he say?“God bless!”Did you say anything to him?“I said ‘God bless you.’ And ‘thank […]

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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