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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

September 2009 Archives

Bishop charged with possessing child pornography

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You see stuff like this, and words fail:   A Roman Catholic bishop who oversaw an historic settlement with victims of past sexual abuse by priests in Nova Scotia has been charged with possessing and importing child pornography. Bishop Raymond Lahey […]

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Just joining “The Bench”? Welcome! Let’s get it started…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And have some fun with this, below. This is why God gave the world Steadicam. (Watch and see if you can spot the priest in the video…) H/T Andrew Sullivan

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In Manila, a room with a pew

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This morning, my TV show “Currents” interviewed Laura Sheahen, from Catholic Relief Services in Manila, who described in harrowing detail the recovery efforts there after the devastating typhoon.   She also contacted her old pals at Beliefnet, and passed along […]

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Church ordains convicted pedophile as minister

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This piece of news just boggles the mind:  A tiny Louisville church’s newest minister is a gifted music leader and popular among its three dozen members. Mark Hourigan is also a sex offender.  Almost a decade ago, long before he joined […]

A Catholic, a Methodist and a Lutheran walk into a bar …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

… and the result is doctrine!  Two of the three faiths agreed on the doctrine of justification 10 years ago — the Methodists chimed in a few years later — and they’re planning to mark the anniversary with a prayer […]

My pal, St. Jerome

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Today marks the feast of St. Jerome.  I have some special affection for this old saint– and an unusual connection to him.  In the 1930s, my father kissed his Slovak mother on the cheek and walked out the door of […]

Funniest license plate. Ever.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A longtime reader spotted this on a car belonging to someone who works for the Archdiocese of Washington.    

A good mad man is hard to find

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Could Flannery O’Connor have invented Don Draper?   An astute critic in America magazine suggests the answer is “Yes.”  Rev. Terrance W. Klein draws some intriguing parallels between O’Connor’s Gothic South and the 1960’s-era boardrooms of “Mad Men’s” Madison Ave.:  “Mad […]

Charities and the recession: “We’ve never seen anything like this”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you want to know how the recession is hitting some charities, this item from the AP lays it out:  For many social-service charities across America, the recession has delivered a staggering one-two punch. Sharp drops in donations and investment […]

In the spirit of St. Francis …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

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

Be it resolved: sisters matter

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When was the last time the United States government paid tribute to a group of Catholic religious?  It happened last week.  Take a look.   

Yes, you CAN subscribe!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Things are coming along nicely at my new digs.  I just finished hanging the curtains and plugging in the coffee pot.  And now we’re getting really fancy.   If you look to your right, in the upper right corner of […]

Yes, you can subscribe!

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’re moving right along … Head over to my new address, and there’s a button on the upper right corner for an RSS feed, so you can easily keep up with The Bench.

To paraphrase Olivia Newton-John: Let’s get digital, digital…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican has announced a theme for the next World Communications Day — and it’s all about new media:  For World Communications Day 2010, Pope Benedict XVI has chosen the theme “The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: […]

On Medjugorje: “Let us not act as if these ‘apparitions’ were worthy of faith”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Again, Medjugorje is in the news.  And again, it’s about the local bishop warning the citizens not to believe in the alleged apparitions. From the Catholic News Service:  Confirming young people from the parish in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje, […]

The unoffocial anthem of the American Catholic parish

posted by deacon greg kandra

Forget “Praise to the Lord” or even “Gather Us In.” You know the song I’m talking about. Crank up the volume and join in.

The unofficial anthem of the American Catholic parish

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I just got back from our parish’s annual fundraiser golf tournament and dinner dance.  And once again, it was confirmed for me that the great musical force that unifies the American Church isn’t Gregorian chant, or classic hymns like “Praise […]

A saint from California?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Maybe.  Evidence is being gathered to promote the cause for a bishop from Sacramento.   Details, from Scripps Howard:  In October 2007, Sara Sevilla eagerly awaited the test results that could explain why suddenly she had lost her sight. But […]

Who’s a person?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

There’s a growing movement to try and answer that question — and, just maybe, have an impact on abortion laws.    From the Los Angeles Times:  It is one of the enduring questions of religion and science, and lately of […]

“It never gets old, does it?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A favorite ad, that just seems worth re-visiting right about now.  I love the world. Don’t you?   

“He was just a simple priest”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Can you believe it’s been 30 years since Pope John Paul celebrated mass in that cornfield in Iowa? (How’s that for a “Field of Dreams”?) People who were there are still talking about it. Read more here.

“He was just a simple priest”: remembering the papal visit to Iowa in 1979

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Incredibly, it’s been almost exactly 30 years since Pope John Paul II made his historic trip to America’s heartland, celebrating mass at a farm in Iowa.  (“We are all farmers,” he said at one point.)   Well, the spirit of […]

Unchained melody: a homily for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m not preaching this weekend, so I don’t have a homily to post.  But I can direct you to a superb homilist and writer, Fr. Jim Schmitmeyer, who offers some beautiful and compelling words about this week’s scripture.    Fr. […]

Checking up on some pioneers: Indy’s first deacons, one year later

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last year, Indianapolis ordained its very first class of deacons. And you can find out how they’re doing right here.

The Indianapolis deacons, one year later

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last year, I posted on the first class of deacons ever ordained for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.   One year on, how are they doing?  The archdiocesan paper takes a look:  A little more than one year after their landmark […]

“Let love shine forth”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Love for Christ and for one’s fellow men and women must be the hallmark of every Christian and every community. In the Acts of the Apostles we read that “the company of those who believed were of one heart and […]

Metropolitan Jonah and his amazing technicolor vestments

posted by deacon greg kandra

Amazing, indeed. Check out more here.

Metropolitan Jonah and his amazing technicolor vestments

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This comes from our Eastern Rite desk. Check out these vestments.  This is why God gave the world Kodachrome. 

Just one word: wow

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Get a load of this:  The image above comes courtesy American Papist and shows, incredibly, over 800 men being ordained at once in Spain in the 1950’s.    Visit this link for more details and pictures that will make your jaw […]

Eureka! New deacons in California!

posted by deacon greg kandra

The story, and pictures, here.

On deacons: “They are absolutely critical”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new batch of deacons is about to be ordained in California, and the local paper is catching on to something many of us have known for a while:  Armando Hernandez   Photo by David Bauman, The Press-Enterprise  As the […]

“Here I am, Lord”: birth as prayer

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An alert reader wanted me to know about an essay by a friend of his, Susan Windley-Daoust, appearing in this week’s America magazine.  It’s a stunner: a beautiful and thought-provoking look at prayer and vocation, all seen through the experience of giving […]

Lord, be close to your servants who move into this home…

posted by deacon greg kandra

I did a house blessing this morning, and it seemed like an opportune time to offer a blessing for my own new home, too. Take a look.

Lord, be close to your servants who move into this home…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This morning, I was invited by a couple in my parish to bless their apartment.  This is one of the many unexpected joys of being in ministry, and it gives me a chance to meet people — literally — “where […]

A little Friday night lectio

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From the Christ-haunted mind of The Anchoress: I dash all of my fury, all of my love, all of my passion against the cross of Christ, and settle beneath their shards and fragments as they rain down upon me, and […]

Here we go …

posted by deacon greg kandra

This weekend, I will start blogging at my new address. You’ll find me at this link. The URL: http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/ I expect Beliefnet will forward people automatically, but it might be a good idea to change your bookmarks. So…come by and […]

Welcome to “The Deacon’s Bench”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here we are. To those of you who have been following “The Deacon’s Bench” at my previous address, welcome back! Good to have you here. Please excuse the boxes and bubble wrap. I hope to have the place tidied […]

Journeys with the Messiah: the “Currents” edition

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you still haven’t seen those stunning pictures of Jesus taken by fashion photographer Michael Belk, here’s a preview, from the interview with him that we did on “Currents” earlier this week.

A thoroughbred faith

posted by deacon greg kandra

We periodically hear about athletes and their faith — but here’s a sport that rarely gets mentioned: horse racing. The Tidings in Los Angeles has a look at champion jockey Martin Pedroza, who talks about how prayer has sustained him: […]

Quote of the day. Maybe of the week.

posted by deacon greg kandra

“You know, the church is the one who dreams, the church is the one who constantly has the vision, the church is the one that’s constantly saying ‘Yes!’ to everything that life and love and sexuality and marriage and belief […]

How to spread the gospel: “Claim it, aim it, proclaim it”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the stirring advice of a leading catechist in Washington, who took his message to the Sunshine State last week: At the 14th annual diocesan Faith Formation Day Sept. 19, keynote speaker Msgr. Ray East addressed about 900 catechists on […]

For Kennedy’s seat, a Cardinal connection

posted by deacon greg kandra

It turns out the man taking over Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat is himself part of a Massachusetts Catholic dynasty, according to Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe: A dispatch from the Boston-is-a-really-small-town department: Paul G. Kirk Jr., who was named […]

An “Everyday” deacon?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A fella by the name of David Dawson dropped me a note with a link a short time ago. He’s the creator of a podcast and website called “The Everyday Catholic.” His latest installment is all about the diaconate. Give […]

From Knight to Saint?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The founder of the Knights of Columbus may be inching closer to sainthood: The cause for sainthood of Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, took another step forward this week, with the submission of a supplemental report […]

Playing Father

posted by deacon greg kandra

Up in Boston, a man who once studied for the priesthood is now playing a priest onstage — and the Boston Globe’s Michael Paulson turns a spotlight on this intriguing melodrama: The weary priest, seated on a deep couch with […]

Society of Jesus Christ the Priest: divine or divisive?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A leading bishop in Wisconsin is voicing his support for a tradition-minded group of priests who are now running a cluster of parishes — and sparking some controversy: At a recent Mass at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, the Rev. John […]

And now, England gets ready for a really Big Ben

posted by deacon greg kandra

As in Benedict the Pope, who is reportedly headed to England next year: Pope Benedict XVI is to visit Britain in 2010, the BBC has learned. It will be the first papal visit to Britain since 1982, when Pope John […]

I feel like George Jefferson

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m movin’ on up. In the next several days, you’ll find “The Deacon’s Bench” at a new address, with a new look. The good people at Beliefnet have invited me over there, to take up the Catholic corner of real […]

“We’re stronger than you think…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Can a group of kids spark a revolution? Hey, you never know. Take a look at the video below that is beginning to make the rounds. It’s possible they just might make virtue go viral. You can find more information […]

Remembering Francesco Forgione — a.k.a., Padre Pio

posted by deacon greg kandra

On this feast of St. Pio I decided to revisit a homily I delivered earlier this year, when my parish dedicated a special chapel in his name. A snip: One of my favorite stories about him happened during the early […]

How do you pray?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The New York Times magazine last weekend offered a long look at how people of various faiths and orthodoxies pray. It was written by a self-professed agnostic, so his point of view is clearly skeptical. But much of the article […]

Previous occupant: God

posted by deacon greg kandra

How would you feel if you saw your parish church listed in the real estate ads? Some parishioners in Cleveland weren’t exactly pleased: The members of St. Stanislaus parish will hold their final Mass this Sunday at 8:30 a.m. But […]

Life=Risk

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is pretty terrific. And boy, how many of us need to hear this message now? H/T The Anchoress.

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“In this post-journalistic world, the model for all national debate becomes the trial, where adversaries face off, representing opposing points of view. We accept the harshness of this process because the consequences in a courtroom are so stark; trials are […]

“Get out your feathers, your patent leathers, your beads and buckles and bows…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The song from “Hello, Dolly” advises the citizens of Yonkers to put on their Sunday clothes. Does anyone still do that? Over at Googling God, Mike Hayes asks an interesting question: what do you wear to mass? A snip: I […]

The “Nones” Story: the growing number of people with no religion

posted by deacon greg kandra

Trend-watchers might want to take note of this report, from USA TODAY: Americans who don’t identify with any religion are now 15% of the USA, but trends in a new study shows they could one day surpass the nation’s largest […]

“Deacons must always remember that their sacrament of marriage always will be first…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some of you may remember the back-and-forth we had here with the wife of a deacon in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Some readers (including Your Humble Blogger) took issue with the archdiocese’s use of the designation “Deacon Couple.” The […]

How do you make a marriage last 70 years?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Meet one couple with some answers: It was at a barn dance near the small community of Munjor, Kansas in the middle of the Great Depression when Marcellus Ruder asked 17-year-old Marcella Rohr to dance with him. Little did either […]

Bono and the pope: an encore?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The celebrated rocker knows his way around the Vatican, and he’s no stranger to papal audiences (see the photo above.) And a report indicates may meet with John Paul’s successor later this year: Bono has been invited to meet with […]

God bless us, everyone: Disney’s new take on Dickens

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those of us who loved Robert Zemeckis’ “The Polar Express” can now look forward to another shiny present under our Christmas tree, with his take on “A Christmas Carol,” featuring Jim Carrey as Scrooge. A first look, below.

A Jewish Catholic Shinto Greek wedding?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Weddings come in all shapes and sizes, but I don’t think any could be quite as unusual as this one, melding three different faiths. From the Los Angeles Times: We are on the Greek island of Spetses. It’s 30 hours […]

See how these Christians love one another

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just watch this, and see what this here Christianity thing is all about. Camp Barnabas from Steve V on Vimeo.

Divine wine: deacon who runs a winery plans to add a chapel

posted by deacon greg kandra

An enterprising deacon from Arkansas already runs a winery and a bed-and-breakfast. Now he’s building a place to pray. From the Texarkana Gazette: Those who subscribe to the claim that the ring of a bell heralds an angel’s receipt of […]

The American Church’s tug-of-war

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Cincinnati, which has seen a little controversy lately, comes this story about some widening cracks within the “one holy Catholic and apostolic” Church Catholics stand together during Sunday Mass to recite the “Profession of Faith,” a creed that defines […]

A monastery is born: Vietnamese monks establish “heavenly heart” in Texas

posted by deacon greg kandra

Further proof that the Church is alive and thriving in the South: word that a new Benedictine monastery is being established in the Lone Star State. From the Dallas Morning News: Here in cow country about 70 miles southeast of […]

The creed to come: satire or prophecy?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I stumbled upon this the other day. It comes from the old BBC series “Not the Nine O’Clock News.” It’s hilarious — but probably not as funny today as it was nearly 30 years ago, when it first aired. Incredibly, […]

Blog love

posted by deacon greg kandra

Can you feel the love? Below, Your Humble Blogger, yesterday, with a blogger pal, Fran Rossi Szpylczyn. She trekked into Brooklyn (with her buddy Sue) to watch a taping of my show and chow down at nearby Rhythm & Booze. […]

How one family paid off $100,000 in debt in five years — and still tithed

posted by deacon greg kandra

You think it can’t be done? Check out how this family did it: Five years ago, the Hildebrandt family of New Richmond, Wis., was juggling more than $100,000 in credit card and personal debt. Through frugality, determination and hard work, […]

Why this post? Just because.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Okay. It has nothing to do with faith or deacons. But this is just too funny to let pass. Enjoy. U.S. Condemned For Pre-Emptive Use Of Hillary Clinton Against Pakistan

Homily for September 20, 2009: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Back in the mid-1960s, a Catholic by the name of John T. Elson was the religion editor at Time magazine. You may never have heard of him. But during Easter week of 1966, he made history, and made headlines. Elson […]

A father’s love is never foul

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the latest viral video that has captured the world’s heart — it even landed the guy and his daughter on the TODAY show. A Saturday morning day-brightener. Enjoy. Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, […]

“If you want to change your life, you’re the only one that can do it”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something I’ve never heard about: a program run by Catholic Charities designed to help prostitutes get off the street. From CNS: When Aimee was 13 years old, her mother kicked her out of the house. Not knowing what to […]

May the force of Jesus be with you

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another reminder, from the Georgia Bulletin, that priests aren’t that different from the rest of us. They can be geeks, too: Among people costumed as Star Wars storm troopers, bare-chested Spartan warriors and Superman, there stood Father Bryan Small in […]

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Okay. After all the confusion over these pictures, here’s the real deal, from my senior yearbook. (Note: I didn’t need to wear glasses until college.) Gregory James Kandra Pallotti High School Laurel, Maryland Class of 1977 </aDeacon Greg Kandra Forest […]

“I’ll need you…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest sent this my way: a compelling, poignant video that I think has even deeper resonance this weekend, when we mark Catechetical Sunday. To my way of thinking, we are all catechists, and evangelists — and this video shows […]

Why the only books I favor burning are yearbooks

posted by deacon greg kandra

The sad part is: I really did look like this. The horror, the horror. Snaps, courtesy Yearbook Yourself, with an embarrassed h/t to Fr. Austin. UPDATE: Um, some readers seem to think these are really pictures of me. Sorry to […]

Religion editor who asked “Is God Dead?” dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

His question about God’s death startled and shocked the world, and set off a firestorm of controversy. But when John T. Elson died, few people noticed. The New York Times didn’t run this remembrance until 10 days after his passing. […]

Meet the man behind “Journeys with the Messiah”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Photographer Michael Belk, of the Journeys Project, was interviewed the other day on CNN. (TiVo alert: he’ll be appearing on my show, “Currents”, Monday night.) Take a look. Embedded video from CNN Video

Three things a pastor can never say

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well here’s a little conversation-starter for you, via New Advent. This comes from a blog run by Dominican Fr. Philip Neri Powell: Here they are: 1). What Father says, “Please, be mindful of your children during Mass. We have a […]

E.T., phone Rome

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Vatican official has some interesting thoughts on aliens — not the undocumented kind, but the outer space kind: Father Jose Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, said this week there is no opposition between belief in the existence […]

Speechless

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s what this fellow says we are, and he makes a very good, and very funny, point. Click and enjoy. H/T Brutally Honest by way of The Anchoress.

Further proof: Susan Boyle’s got talent…and faith

posted by deacon greg kandra

When was the last time you saw someone on a top-rated TV show praying before the Blessed Mother? Check out the clip below, from the finale of “America’s Got Talent.”

Catholic Charities reports “alarming” rise in poverty in 2008

posted by deacon greg kandra

In news that shouldn’t be all that surprising, given the state of the economy, Catholic Charities is reporting a big jump in the number of people applying for help: Catholic Charities USA and its member agencies have released its 2008 […]

A saint for our times?

posted by deacon greg kandra

It seems that way. Devotion to St. Joseph is evidently picking up among homeowners (or home sellers). And the New York Times has more: Lord knows it’s rough out there in the housing market. Still, you had to feel bad […]

Knockin’ on heaven’s door: a summer of celebrity deaths

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of learning of the death of Mary Travers, someone posted a comment, noting that Henry Gibson had also died today. Does it seem like a lot of well-known people are shuffling off this mortal coil? The […]

Mary Travers, 1936-2009

posted by deacon greg kandra

Somewhere in a battered cardboard box in the back of my closet there is a 45 rpm recording of this classic (and controversial) song that I played over and over and over on a record player in my corner room […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“So, what are some of the basics of health care reform? Health care reform especially needs to protect those at the beginning of life and at its end — the most vulnerable and the voiceless. It is essential that reform […]

Boom!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a nifty new website devoted to vocations called — joyfully — Vocation Boom! And one of their videos is below. Check it out, along with others at the site. H/T Happy Catholic.

Sebelius on her bishop: “It was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my life”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Washington Post the other day posted a lengthy interview with Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Catholic. A pertinent excerpt: MS. ROMANO: You are also a pro-choice Catholic, and I was reading some stories out of […]

Feeling crabby

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve had a hankering for a big fat crab cake for a while, and suddenly this recipe popped up in the New York Times. Get thee behind me, Satan. Of course, when you’re in Maryland and temptation strikes, there’s only […]

What hath Dan Brown wrought?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A writer and professor of theology from the University of Scranton, Eric Plumer, is looking at the Dan Brown phenomenon, and thinks there is a reason the best-selling author strikes a chord with Catholic readers: Women cannot be official leaders […]

Inside America’s last high school seminary: “A place where God is powerfully working”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Speaking of vocations… A producer for “Currents” recently visited the last high school prep seminary in America: Cathedral Prep, in the Diocese of Brooklyn. For a brief glimpse inside, take a look.

Psst…want to hear a secret about vocations?

posted by deacon greg kandra

You’re looking at it. It’s the web, stupid. John Allen has an intriguing interview up with Holy Cross Br. Paul Bednarczyk, executive director of the National Religious Vocations Conference. He finds glimmers of hope on the vocation horizon, and he […]

Fordham honors Couric

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the Jesuit University’s press release: CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric will be honored at the Fordham University Club’s Annual Dinner, to be held on Thursday, Sept. 17, in Washington, D.C. Couric, the recipient of six Emmy Awards and […]

What does it take to be a deacon?

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Deacons must be dignified, not deceitful,not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain,holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.Moreover, they should be tested first;then, if there is nothing against them,let them serve as deacons.Women, […]

The weeping woman

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest friend dropped a line to let me know an interesting detail about this feast, Our Lady of Sorrows. It was on this feast (actually September 19, in 1846 when it was a movable feast) that the Blessed Mother […]

“Do whatever you want, but don’t marry a Catholic…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those were words of advice from Tony Blair’s grandmother — words he obviously ignored. And the rest is history. He discusses that and more about his conversion with L’Osservatore Romano. Highlights, from the Guardian, in London: Tony Blair has revealed […]

In Catholic Brazil: Evangelicals on the rise

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just days after posting this item about Brazil’s most popular priest, I found this little nugget, which shows just what the Church is up against down there. Want to know what’s luring a new generation of Brazilians away from the […]

Snazzy!

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’re in the middle of rolling out a new ad campaign for “Currents,” the daily Catholic news magazine show that I produce. Above is one of the “bus tails” that’s popping up around the city, featuring our on-air team of […]

The Triumph of the Cross

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Christ of St. John of the Cross” by Salvador Dali (1951) “The cross is something wonderfully great and honorable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found heir consummation — very many indeed, for […]

Susan Boyle’s first single: “Wild Horses”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, here it is. The first cut from Susan Boyle’s debut album, “I Dreamed A Dream.” It’s a cover of the Rolling Stones’ 1971 ballad “Wild Horses.” The good people at Wikipedia inform us that it’s been recorded previously by […]

Santorum?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The former senator is evidently thinking about running for President: Speaking to a room full of prominent US Catholic leaders Friday night, Senator Rick Santorum was challenged to run for the Republican Presidential nomination. Responding to a room already thick […]

Got a match? “Catholic Match” turns 10

posted by deacon greg kandra

Light the candles: the Catholic online dating service Catholic Match is marking its 10-year anniversary. Rhode Island Catholic takes a look at the impact of this internet phenomenon: Brian Barcaro, co-founder of Catholic Match.com, could be considered partly responsible for […]

The sex abuse crisis strikes Italy

posted by deacon greg kandra

The AP has been doing a little digging into clerical sex abuse in one of the world’s most staunchly Catholic countries, and came up with some numbers: For decades, a culture of silence has surrounded priest abuse in Italy, where […]

Overheard in the rectory: baby talk

posted by deacon greg kandra

Young mother to the deacon: “My mother told me you can’t bring a baby to Mass until it’s been baptized. Is that true??”

“Take up your cross…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The photos below are from the stunning Journeys Project, which I mentioned yesterday. You can click on the image for a larger view. But visit the link and see the whole gallery. You’ll find yourself moved, uplifted, startled and challenged.

Forgive us our debts: when you can’t afford a religious vocation

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the often-unreported stumbling blocks to a religious vocation isn’t spiritual. It’s financial. And this Sunday’s Los Angeles Times looks at this problem, and those who are trying to help: Alicia Torres must raise $94,000 in order to take […]

What is a parish?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Homily for September 13, 2009 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Tuesday September 15th marks the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which my parish celebrates as the parish feast day for Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. In years past, […]

Jesus in 2009?

posted by deacon greg kandra

These pictures are provocative in all the right ways. (Check out Jesus with the Nazi!). As the article explains: A veteran fashion photographer who is used to having his works featured in Vogue, GQ and Elle, will release his most […]

Talk to God and listen to the casual reply

posted by deacon greg kandra

How’s this for a Rocky Mountain high: In tribute to the late, great Larry Gelbart, I offer this classic moment from “Oh, God!,” wherein store manager John Denver meets the Almighty, played by George Burns.

Mass appeal: “It’s like Jolt Cola for the soul”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The most famous priest in Brazil is Padre Marcelo Rossi — and John Allen had a chance to experience one of his Masses. It sounds incredible: In some ways the Mass was like an emotional roller coaster ride, repeatedly building […]

The angels are laughing

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the legs that go first; it’s remembering the word for legs.” – The brilliant comedy writer Larry Gelbart,who gave the world “Tootsie,” “Oh, God,” and the TV series “M*A*S*H.”He died yesterday at 81.

Shanley challenges his abuse conviction and “repressed memory”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest at the heart of the clergy abuse scandal that rocked the American Church is back in court, challenging a key part of the case that convicted him: Paul R. Shanley was convicted in 2005 of raping and assaulting […]

Out of the ashes…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…something good, courtesy Rod Dreher, who remembers poignant acts of kindness in the days following 9/11: I remember going to a fire station in Brooklyn Heights, not far from where we lived at the time, to pay our respects to […]

“On this day…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“On this day, we pray that the hearts of those who wish us evil may be converted — and we hope to have the power and the will to forgive them….  On this day, we remember the survivors, those who […]

Preach the gospel always. Use a microphone when necessary.

posted by deacon greg kandra

From an alert reader. This is a problem Jesus never had to worry about. Enjoy.

Anything goes: Dominick Dunne’s big fat Irish Catholic funeral

posted by deacon greg kandra

The celebrated author Dominick Dunne was buried this afternoon following a funeral mass that makes Ted Kennedy’s seem downright conservative: Chronicler of the rich and powerful Dominick Dunne was eulogized as a great father, gossip and faithful friend at a […]

How the church should communicate

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is a terrific primer on church communications that every parish, and every diocese (and every papacy) should study, courtesy Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno, from Brazil. John Allen has the scoop: 1. Overcome the idea that the means of communications are […]

“Animal House”? Hardly.

posted by deacon greg kandra

I don’t imagine you’ll find many toga parties at this fraternity — but you may find something else: Phi Kappa Theta, a Catholic fraternity that opened a chapter at the University of Nebraska in 2005, is working to become a […]

The numbers don’t lie

posted by deacon greg kandra

While I was scanning this story about the Nashville Dominicans, this graph jumped out at me: There are 23 postulants this year at the Motherhouse of Nashville’s Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. It’s the largest group of new nuns in […]

Sullivan’s travels: deacon cured by Newman will visit his oratory and grave

posted by deacon greg kandra

The deacon whose miraculous cure is leading to the beatification of John Henry Newman is about to make the most meaningful pilgrimage of his life, to Newman’s home and grave in England: Deacon Jack Sullivan of Massachusetts and his wife […]

There goes the neighborhood

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the nicest guys around is departing. Friend and blogging colleague Mike Hayes — he, of the Googling God franchise and the Busted Halo online magazine — dropped this little bombshell this morning: It is with mixed emotions that […]

The U.S. Army gets its first Buddhist chaplain

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Armed Forces are more diverse than ever — and that includes a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. For evidence, look no further than this item from USA TODAY: When Thomas Dyer heads to Afghanistan in December, the former […]

“The deacon is a unique living sacramental sign…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This very fine essay by Joseph Michalak in the Catholic Spirit (the Archdiocesan paper of St. Paul/Minneapolis) offers a thoughtful and inspiring look at what it means to be a deacon: Whenever I tell people I work in the Office […]

Ladies and gentlemen: bus tails

posted by deacon greg kandra

You never know what you’ll see on the back of a New York City bus. This is the new ad for my TV show, “Currents” on NET (New Evangelization Television). It says: “Lost in traffic? Follow us.”

How’s this for living happily ever after…?

posted by deacon greg kandra

This has to make you smile. H/T The A.

What happened at Medjugorje?

posted by deacon greg kandra

On the feast of Mary’s birth — which the apparition in Medjugorje claims actually occurred in August, not September — a writer at First Things offers his thoughts: At Medjugorje, for almost thirty years, many have seen a demonstration of […]

What’s in your wallet?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The people behind that catch-phrase are involved in a pro-life credit card. Really. H/T The Papist.

The Birth of Mary

posted by deacon greg kandra

“The Birth of the Virgin Mary” by Esteban Murillo (Louvre, Paris) Father of mercy, give your people help and strength from heaven. The birth of the Virgin Mary’s Son was the dawn of our salvation. May this celebration of her […]

Light a candle…on the internet?

posted by deacon greg kandra

How’s this for a high tech church?: A Catholic church is allowing worshippers to light candles in memory of their loved ones over the internet as it seeks to reach out to a broader community. The church of Santa Maria […]

All I really need to know I learned from “Inglourious Basterds”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I finally went to see the Quentin Tarantino opus “Inglourious Basterds” today. I liked it. I didn’t love it, the way I loved “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill,” but it had some typically Tarantinovian touches: cool music, crazy camera work, […]

Catholic school tries out a four-day week

posted by deacon greg kandra

A lot of Catholic schools are facing budgetary challenges, with lower enrollment and higher operational costs. But a school in upstate New York is becoming the first in the state to try something radical: a four-day school week. From the […]

“So…you working?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That classic question was one of many highlights from this historic 1976 Labor Day reunion of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, after a long and much-publicized and gossiped-about breakup. I remember seeing this when it happened, back in the day […]

John Paul, Laborer

posted by deacon greg kandra

Every time I see this picture, of Karol Wojtyla, I’m struck by the family resemblance. My father looked like that. And his father before him — a man who worked in the coal mines of Pennsylvania along with countless other […]

Please silence your cell phones. Or else.

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader saw this post on cell phones and sent this my way: one Protestant congregation’s witty way of dealing with an all-too-common problem.

Finally, a good use for cell phones in church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Parishes have been registering people the same way since, well, forever. But the people over at Aggie Catholic have stumbled on a 21st century solution to a 1st century problem: how to keep track of everyone. Take a look: As […]

A match made in heaven?

posted by deacon greg kandra

What happens when the son of one deacon meets the daughter of another deacon? Florida Catholic has the story: When Michael Fresneda arrived with his family to discuss the diaconate with Deacon Lazaro J. Ulloa at the Ulloa residence six […]

Catholics are coming home

posted by deacon greg kandra

And in a big way. A lot of you have seen the great ads produced by a group called Catholics Come Home. The ads, evidently, are working. And spreading. From the Los Angeles Times: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento […]

Somebody’s brilliant brainstorm

posted by deacon greg kandra

Play this video, and close your eyes. In a few seconds, you’ll want to check and make sure you didn’t leave a window open. Prepare to get drenched — in imagination and a little bit of genius. You just have […]

Barres in the booth: home run

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest in Allentown, Pennsylvania sent this to me, and it’s just swell: Allentown’s new Bishop, John Barres, offering a little play-by-play at a recent baseball game. (Meantime, I gotta say that I’m delighted to discover that the Diocese of […]

What are you searching for?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something pretty great, sent in by a reader:

Simply incredible: paintings that look like photographs

posted by deacon greg kandra

The image below is not a photograph. It’s a painting. Yes. That’s right. A painting. Same with this picture, too: Amazed? I know I am. Is it art? Well, it’s definitely…something. Read more about it and see other examples right […]

Pray for a stimulus for Detroit’s Catholics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Like many dioceses today, Detroit is feeling the pinch of hard times — and the squeeze is now affecting huge numbers of archdiocesan staff. About a third of those on the payroll are being given their walking papers: It will […]

Calling Quasimodo: does this ring a bell?

posted by deacon greg kandra

How’s this for a dying art: a glimpse at the exotic and often-misunderstood world of bell ringing: Twelve people stood in a circle in a tower high above Wall Street. Eyes flitted from side to side, watching, concentrating, as arms […]

What the…?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is the blogosphere big enough for two of these?

Homily for September 6, 2009: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

I imagine if Jesus were to perform a miracle today like the one in this gospel, the first public reaction would probably be: “Eeeewwwwwww.” He spit and touched a stranger’s mouth? He stuck his fingers into his ears? Isn’t he […]

When Mr. Right just happens to be in a wheelchair

posted by deacon greg kandra

Few love stories could be as joyous and poignant as this one, about a couple who discovered love, despite physical limitations: It was always among the first things Dan Powell wrote in e-mails to prospective dates — that he was […]

The death of Senator Kennedy and bearing witness to mercy

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert reader sent this my way: a thoughtful take on the Kennedy funeral — and on God’s mercy — from Bishop Robert C. Morlino, of Madison, Wisconsin: I’m afraid that for not a few Catholics, the funeral rites for […]

Ambassador Kmiec

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the most controversial Catholic supporters of Barack Obama was officially sworn in as an ambassador this week, and U.S. News & World Report’s Dan Gilgoff has the scroop: Imagine a Washington event that opens with Martin Sheen—aka The […]

Sold: bishop’s mansion goes for $2 million

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another sign that an era has ended — at least, in Pittsburgh: The 39-room mansion in Squirrel Hill near the Shadyside border that housed Pittsburgh’s Catholic bishops for six decades has been sold to an undisclosed private trust for more […]

The Catonsville Eleven make history

posted by deacon greg kandra

That would be the 10 Anglican nuns and their chaplain, who were just received into the Catholic Church and confirmed by Baltimore’s Archbishop. From the Baltimore Sun: In a move that religious scholars say is unprecedented, 10 of the 12 […]

Popcorn with the pontiff: Benedict as film critic

posted by deacon greg kandra

The pope had some warm words recently for a TV film about one of his favorite saints: Pope Benedict XVI praised a made-for-television movie dedicated to St. Augustine, saying the two-part miniseries “represents every aspect of the human life experience […]

It’s Great: a little feast day chant

posted by deacon greg kandra

Have you sent out your St. Gregory the Great cards this year? (Me, I’m waiting for tomorrow and the big day-after sales at Macy’s…) But to put everyone in the mood, here’s a little Gregorian chant, below. Enjoy.

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I urge you to join the bishops in advocating for health care reform that is truly universal and protects human life at every stage of development. We must remain resolute in urging the federal government to continue its essential and […]

Signs of hope: a priest’s ministry to the deaf

posted by deacon greg kandra

This Sunday’s gospel focuses on Jesus’ healing of a deaf man — and Catholic News Service has just posted a wonderful companion piece about ministering to the deaf: The silence of the hallways is only interrupted by intermittent laughter and […]

O’Malley on Kennedy funeral: “I considered it appropriate to represent the Church at this liturgy ” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has just posted on his blog a statement, explaining and defending his role in the Kennedy funeral last weekend: Saturday was the 39th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, at St. Augustine’s Church in Pittsburgh […]

A prayer before sex?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Um, yes. From CNS: A prayer for couples to recite “before making love” has been included in a new British book of prayers for married couples. The 64-page “Prayer Book for Spouses” contains prayers for every station of family and […]

Wuerl joins the battle against same-sex marriage

posted by deacon greg kandra

Washington’s Archbishop Donald Wuerl has now added his voice to the chorus opposing gay marriage. From the Washington Post: Wuerl sent a letter to 300 local Catholic priests Tuesday reminding them about the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, and he […]

“There were no good old days in the Church”

posted by deacon greg kandra

New York’s Archbishop found himself far from the Big Apple recently, but had some valuable thoughts on the subject of vocations — ideas that go beyond boundaries. From Tim Drake at the National Catholic Register: Over the weekend, 530 Serra […]

Martino: was he pushed? — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few people are starting to think so. And that, at least, is the assessment of this commentary over at Catholic Culture: No intelligent observer can credit the official explanation: that Bishop Martino retired because of health problems. The outgoing […]

Who’s your daddy?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some people might start to wonder. One company based in California (where else?) is taking the notion of designer babies to the extreme: Want your baby to look like Prince William? Easy. Michael Phelps? Done. A California fertility company whose […]

Havana to open a new seminary next year

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a fitting touchstone — or cornerstone? — for the Year for Priests: The Archdiocese of Havana announced this week that it will open a new seminary in 2010, the first such building project the Church has undertaken in Cuba […]

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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