The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


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 their ramshackle house near the coal mines of Pennsylvania and joined the Christian Brothers, where he ended up taking the name Brother Jerome. 

Nearly 70 years later, his son took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and I whispered a grateful prayer on my father’s behalf at the rocky tomb of St. Jerome. 

Two years after that, in a moment that I could never have anticipated, I found myself in a cathedral in Brooklyn, receiving a bible from the hands of a bishop as he welcomed me and dozens of other men beginning aspirancy for the diaconate at Evening Prayer.  It was September 30th, 2002 — the feast of St. Jerome. 

For some reason, Jerome has figured in my life.   So I’ll just mark this day with a quiet prayer of thanksgiving for whatever role he has played, and ask him to keep me from making too much of a fool of myself as I muddle through my own work with the scriptures and strive in my own way to make others know the Christ. 

This comes from today’s Office of Readings, and a commentary by St. Jerome:

I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: Search the Scriptures, and Seek and you shall find. Christ will not say to me what he said to the Jews: You erred, not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God.
For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God,
and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and
wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

You can find out more on St. Jerome here and here.



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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted September 30, 2009 at 6:48 am


I have special affection for St. Jerome myself and this day has its own meaning for me. I am grateful that we can share this along with so many other elements of our faith and friendship.
Peace and blessings to you dear Deacon Greg.



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Ronald King

posted September 30, 2009 at 7:34 am


Deacon Greg, I come from coal mining families on both mother’s and father’s side. I need to know more about St. Jerome since I have heard. Any suggestions?



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Yeoman

posted September 30, 2009 at 9:29 am


Can you elaborate further on your father’s story, sounds interesting.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted September 30, 2009 at 9:42 am


Sure. My father grew up in Taylor, Pennsylvania, near Scranton. His parents were Slovak immigrants, and his father worked in the coal mines. After graduating high school in the depths of the Depression, my father couldn’t afford to go to college, and the only job he could get was working in the mines. So he decided to leave home and join the Christian Brothers in Philadelphia, where he was given the name of Brother Jerome.
He got a college education, became a school teacher, and then a few months before he was scheduled to take his final vows, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. So my father — who, I think, never really loved the life to begin with — left to enlist. He never went back. And here I am. :-)



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Jerome Hoeser

posted September 30, 2009 at 11:01 am


In my reading on St. Jerome it said that his body is in the church of St. Mary Major in Rome. So, was he burried in Bethlehem…..and then reburried in Rome?



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted September 30, 2009 at 11:10 am


Happy Feast Day, Jerome!
Good question. It may well be that the tomb I visited was empty, but that our crack tour guide neglected to tell us. Dunno.



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Yeoman

posted September 30, 2009 at 11:37 am


Thanks!
“He got a college education, became a school teacher, and then a few months before he was scheduled to take his final vows, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. So my father — who, I think, never really loved the life to begin with — left to enlist. He never went back. And here I am. :-)”
A couple of items. One, I think that individuals who entered the Priesthood and religious life in the past by necessity may have somewhat common in a prior era. Some were very good at it too. But that probably means that we may have a more thoughtful group of Priests, if fewer of them, than before. Of course, it also means we have a lot of fine Deacons, who in earlier eras may have entered the Priesthood.
Secondly, I’m amazed anymore how often I read the lines “attended the seminary intending to become a Priest” on various biographies. Very common, really.
Thirdly, I suppose there’s a lot of folks in the opposite boat. I sometimes briefly find myself thinking “I wish I’d considered becoming a Priest”. The thought is fleeting, as I know that I don’t have the calling, however. And of course I’m now a married man with a busy career (and regret the career, which may be why I have those thoughts).



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Meggan

posted September 30, 2009 at 9:05 pm


I feel a close connection to St. Jerome for several reasons, one of them is that he’s the patron saint fo librarians.
Pray for us, St. Jerome.



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