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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

“I want to tell them there is hope…”

posted by jmcgee

The words of remarkable young lady named Ashley Torrenti, a 6th grader at a Catholic school in Flushing, Queens. Her parents were going to throw her a big birthday party. But she decided, instead, to send the money to Haiti. […]

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Pure genius: Tracey Ullman as…well, everyone

posted by jmcgee

This is something truly inspired, and will be a bracing tonic for anyone who has spent too much time watching cable TV.   God bless Tracey Ullman. Enjoy.

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Before Tebow: a pro-life video from the NFL

posted by jmcgee

Over 20 years ago — before Tim Tebow was causing a stir with a pro-life Super Bowl ad — championship players from the NFL appeared in the video below to state their advocacy for life. The video, and more, are […]

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U.S. Air Force creates Wiccan worship space

posted by jmcgee

Evidently, Wiccans form the largest non-Christian faith in the Air Force. Now they’ll have a place to call their own: The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado will set aside a worship space for followers of “Earth-centered” religions such as […]

Gay unions aren’t monogamous? Really?

posted by jmcgee

According to a new study, yes: A study to be released next month is offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships and reveals that monogamy is not a central feature for many. Some gay men and lesbians argue that, as […]

“Believe what you read…”

posted by jmcgee

Salt Lake City ordained a new batch of deacons last week, and the local Catholic paper has some great pictures of the event. Check ’em out. Ad multos annos, brothers! Congratulations!

Meet the pro-life generation

posted by jmcgee

Somehow, I missed this when it was published last weekend, but Cardinal Sean, in his blog, makes note of something most others in the mainstream media missed — and something this writer below picked up as well: many at the […]

Homily for January 31, 2010: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

“GTG.” “BRB.” “LOL.” “ROFL.” Anyone who’s sent or received a text message knows what those mean. Last week, I read a story that put them in perspective. It was about a monologue, on radio, delivered by Adam Gopnik, a writer […]

“We have a church we busted our humps for…”

posted by jmcgee

It’s happening in more dioceses around the country, and the New York Timesthis morning looks at the impact that parish closings is having on Camden, New Jersey: Eleanor Medany remembers when South Jersey was in thrall to Roman Catholicism. There […]

The last word

posted by jmcgee

At a church in Michigan, the pastor has posted a parting shot for people who decide to leave mass early: Some people still take off right after Communion at St. Peter Church, but not as many now that they have […]

CBS rejects ad for gay dating service

posted by jmcgee

After all the controversy swirling around CBS accepting a pro-life Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow, people were wondering: would the network wade further into controversy, and accept an ad from a gay dating service? Now, we have the answer. […]

Catholic Church copyrights term “Saints”; football fans shocked!

posted by jmcgee

Well, who knew? This item, from a sports fan site, lays it all out (with tongue planted firmly in cheek): In unrelated events, the following actions and cease and desist orders were served to the National Football League and NFL […]

This just in: a news story

posted by jmcgee

If you don’t mind a quick f-bomb near the beginning, you’ll appreciate this pretty hilarious generic news story. I know I did. He nails it. See more funny videos and TBT Videos at Today’s Big Thing.

How is baseball like the priesthood?

posted by jmcgee

Minor-league star-turned-future-seminarian Grant Desme should know.  We were able to get a quick phone interview with him the other day. He’s sort of quiet, probably a little shy, but he has some reflections on his vocation — and peoples’ reaction […]

“The art of listening is the first step…”

posted by jmcgee

My pal Fran just posted this on her Facebook page, and it’s too good to pass up. It’s part of an interview with Jacob Needleman, an atheist who came to believe in God, and the author of a new book […]

Mahony, Part Deux

posted by jmcgee

The reports that Los Angeles’ Cardinal Roger Mahony is ready to retire have an interesting backstory: For the record, any claims of a selection already made cannot be confirmed and, as the lay of the land is looking at present, […]

Sticky problem: atheists slam Mother Teresa stamp

posted by jmcgee

As one might expect, they’re not crazy about the Virgin Mary, or Father Flanagan, either: The Freedom from Religion Foundation is urging its supporters to boycott the stamp — and also to engage in a letter-writing campaign to spread the […]

“For the common good, we need health care for all”

posted by jmcgee

With the debate about health care reform still percolating, I’m going to turn my internet microphone over to a guest blogger, and pal of mine, Sister Mary Ann Walsh. She’s Director of Media Relations for the United States Conference of […]

Advice to deacons, “as you hand on the word of God”

posted by jmcgee

“As the custodian of the word, Mary will hold a special place in your life as deacons. We are told in the Gospels that she treasured all matters pertaining to Christ in her heart. It was only until after the […]

“I doubt the value of priests being stand-up comics”

posted by jmcgee

“I do not believe we are there just to entertain, and attempts for church services to be informal for their own sake end up being trite and embarrassing. I also doubt the value of priests or ministers being stand-up comics. […]

What did Obama say?

posted by jmcgee

I only caught bits and pieces of the State of the Union speech last night — 70 minutes is a long time for a deacon to devote to anything on a weeknight — but a British paper has performed the […]

“A warm wind of love showed up at my ordination”

posted by jmcgee

I stumbled on this tonight, and thought: “Must post.” I think there’s more than a little Merton in this gorgeous reflection by a new Episcopal deacon, describing his ordination: One by one they came forward and one by one I […]

Who will anoint the sick?

posted by jmcgee

Well, I’m sure some deacons would gladly raise their hands and volunteer for this sacramental duty — but we can’t. Neither can lay people. And that’s beginning to cause problems, as the AP reports: It was John B. Baus’s 82nd […]

Ladies and gentlemen: the iPad

posted by jmcgee

As expected, here’s Apple’s latest new toy — and a brief overview.  Will it save the world?  Stay tuned.   You can also visit Apple’s website for the whole picture (or the Gospel According to Steve).  

Rockville Centre offers buyouts for 1,500 workers

posted by jmcgee

You can add my neighbor to the East, the Diocese of Rockville Centre, on Long Island, to the growing list of dioceses facing tough times — and taking some drastic steps to deal with its economic challenges: The Roman Catholic […]

Women’s groups protest pro-life Tebow Super Bowl ad

posted by jmcgee

So…are they afraid people might actually decide that life is, after all, you know, a good thing? From Reuters: U.S. women’s groups are urging television broadcaster CBS not to air an ad during next month’s Super Bowl football championship final […]

Mac attack: is this the future?

posted by jmcgee

A doctor, diagnosing the problem of countless Mac addicts tonight, might say: “Take two iTablets and call me in the morning.” Some elf posted this on YouTube last month — is the prophecy below about to be fulfilled? We’ll know […]

Pope John Paul’s “instrument for perfecting himself”

posted by jmcgee

This has been reported before, but the details revealed today are raising a lot of eyebrows: Pope John Paul II always took penitence seriously, spending entire nights lying with his arms outstretched on the bare floor, fasting before ordaining priests […]

Behold the face of your brother

posted by jmcgee

Photo from CNS/Reuters Outside a displacement camp in Port-au-Prince, on January 24, 2010.

“I want everyone else to have the chance for life that I did”

posted by jmcgee

Those are the stirring words uttered by a smart 17-year old, who made her first bus trip down to Washington last Friday, to take part in the March for Life. Watch her story here.  And give thanks that there are […]

A modest proposal: move the March for Life

posted by jmcgee

My father-in-law in suburban Maryland suggested it the other night.  You know: it makes sense.    “I’ve never been,” he said, ” but I’d do it if it weren’t so damn cold.” I explained that it’s done in January because […]

A lost art: habit-making

posted by jmcgee

Behold: something sweet and sacred, a lovely portrait of a woman who does something very few do anymore.  She makes habits for nuns.    H/T The A.

Ain’t talkin’ ’bout love: one man’s road to the priesthood

posted by jmcgee

How’s this for the start of an amazing story: Winter 1989, downtown South Bend, Indiana. The night is snowy and crisp. Inside the bar, already humid and smoky, the guitarist lights his cigarette, takes a long, patient drag and wedges […]

“The earth can shake, but the word of God continues”

posted by jmcgee

A week-and-a-half after the devastating earthquake, the people of Port-au-Prince continue to gather to pray. From AFP: Hundreds of Haitians attended mass in the skeletal shadow of Port-au-Prince’s shattered Roman Catholic cathedral on Sunday, seeking to understand God’s hand in […]

Gimme five!

posted by jmcgee

This arrived on my Yahoo news feed this morning.   If you look up the word “adorable” in the dictionary, I think this video pops up.  I dare you not to say “Awwwwww.” Baby Boxer Handshake @ Yahoo! Video

“A diaconia of culture”

posted by jmcgee

“In my Message last year, I encouraged leaders in the world of communications to promote a culture of respect for the dignity and value of the human person. This is one of the ways in which the Church is called […]

The secret to a good homily? Listening

posted by jmcgee

This fine essay on preaching should give anyone who climbs into the pulpit ample food for thought: I taught a class on preaching last week. As we began I said, “Good preaching begins with good listening.” I think of preachers, […]

“Have a Coke and a smile”

posted by jmcgee

Remember that ad? This sweet video below gives new meaning to it — and it will really make you smile. Enjoy.

Balm Sunday

posted by jmcgee

A soulful hymn for a Sunday morning. This glorious old spiritual will be sung by our choir later today — a song of consolation and restoration for all who are hurting, for any reason, in any place… There is a […]

Homily for January 24, 2010: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

For most of us, by this time, the new year is old hat. We’ve gotten the hang of writing “2010” on our checks. We’ve taken down the Christmas lights and thrown out the fruitcake and added the name “Jenny Craig” […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“All I ask of you, especially young people … is one thing. Please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were […]

The way we were

posted by jmcgee

“It was a new thing for everybody. No one would call you ‘Deacon.’ Now it’s like it’s your first name.” — Deacon Silvio Mayo, recalling his ordination in 1976, as Salt Lake City prepares to ordain 21 new deacons today. […]

Grant Desme: he’d rather play for the Padres

posted by jmcgee

The rising star of the Oakland A’s announced yesterday that he’s quitting baseball to begin studies for the priesthood: The A’s prized prospect exited the season with a head-turning presence, accompanied by a bat that produced 31 home runs and […]

A Trappist monastery plans to reinvent itself

posted by jmcgee

Longtime readers know of my affection for and devotion to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, the Trappist house outside Atlanta. Flannery O’Connor was a frequent visitor, and Dorothy Day was known to drop by when she was in the […]

A prayer for peace and justice

posted by jmcgee

God of perfect peace, Violence and cruelty can have no part with you. May those who are at peace with one another hold fast to the good will that unites them; may those who are enemies forget their hatred and […]

Bible verses to be removed from weapons

posted by jmcgee

Earlier in the week, I posted the story about bible verses being engraved on some weapons used by the U.S. military. But now, that’s about to change: A Michigan military contractor said Thursday (Jan. 21) it will remove encoded scripture […]

Pro-life or pro-active?

posted by jmcgee

With another anniversary of Roe v. Wade come more questions about what can be done to stop abortion. This provocative essay by Sr. Bernadette M. Reiss, fsp asks questions some of us may not have considered: How can the presentation […]

Roll the credits: Hollywood’s Cardinal Mahony bowing out?

posted by jmcgee

So says the usually reliable Thomas “American Papist” Peters: I am hearing, on reliable authority, that the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, has approved a coadjutor bishop recently selected for him by the Holy See. This news – […]

The best man for an important job in the church…

posted by jmcgee

…very often is a woman. From National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen: When talk turns to “women in the church,” the normal association in the public mind is with debates over the ordination of women to the priesthood. Because there’s been […]

Need a laugh? Here.

posted by jmcgee

I was pleased to find this little gem over at YouTube: a Pixar classic short, “For the Birds.” If anyone needs reminding of why the geniuses at Pixar are, in fact, geniuses — or why there are things like whimsy […]

The greatest wedding gift of all, for Haiti

posted by jmcgee

How’s this for a beautiful love story? From a paper in Duluth: Guests at the Bogen-Nicholson wedding in June will have an interesting tidbit when they describe the couple’s big day: The bride and groom served peanut butter and jelly […]

“The Lord hears the cry of the poor…”

posted by jmcgee

This seems a fitting hymn for this moment in time: the Concord Pastor has a widget up on his blog that plays this for the people of Haiti. The video interpretation below, beautifully rendered by John Michael Talbot, says it […]

Let us pray. Or not.

posted by jmcgee

The esteemed George Weigel is steamed. In his latest column, the writer and pundit takes aim at a moment in the mass that belongs, properly, to the deacon — and which, in Weigel’s view, often leaves much to be desired. […]

Deacon rescued from Haiti: “I’m alive because of the grace of God”

posted by jmcgee

The Connecticut deacon who was rescued from the rubble in Haiti had a chance to tell his story yesterday: Prayers filled his thoughts for 10 hours as Chuck Dietsch awaited rescue or death. All around him, Dietsch heard screams. People […]

Scott Brown’s nuns

posted by jmcgee

The new senator-elect from Massachusetts is not Catholic, but he has a long-standing relationship with an order of nuns: The family worships at New England Chapel in Franklin, a member of the Christian Reformed Church of America, a Protestant denomination, […]

Handicapping the next class of cardinals

posted by jmcgee

With Christmas behind us, and Lent still weeks away, Vatican observers have too much time on their hands. So, naturally, they’re bird-watching.   Specifically, they’re keeping an eye out for cardinals. From the Washington Times: Although the Vatican’s anticipated announcement naming […]

In Haiti: love among the ruins

posted by jmcgee

Words just can’t do justice to this phenomenal video: a man watching as his wife is rescued after six heart-stopping days. This is a love story for the ages.

Notre Dame’s follow-up to Obama: Brian Williams

posted by jmcgee

He has some large and decidedly controversial shoes to fill, but NBC’s anchorman probably won’t encounter anything like the heat that greeted President Obama when he addressed graduates last year. Notre Dame made the announcement last week: Brian Williams, anchor […]

In a digital age, the old fashioned sermon survives

posted by jmcgee

In fact, in Britain it seems to not only be surviving, but thriving: Some ember still seems to burn in Britain’s 3.6 million regular churchgoers, for almost all of them feel a sense of expectation for the Sunday sermon, according […]

Killing for Christ? Bible verses inscribed in rifles

posted by jmcgee

This is one of the more bizarre — and unsettling — news items of the day. Maybe the week. From ABC News: Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to […]

How bad are things in Haiti?

posted by jmcgee

This bad. And it’s horrific. Via The Anchoress.

Tim Tebow to star in Super Bowl pro-life ad

posted by jmcgee

After NBC rejected a similar ad last year, which featured Barack Obama, this seems to be a significant move. The press release: Focus on the Family will broadcast the first Super Bowl ad in its history February 7 during CBS […]

“If you can’t be a highway, be a trail”

posted by jmcgee

“When you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. don’t just set out to do a good job. Set […]

Agca goes free, declares “I am the Christ eternal”

posted by jmcgee

It happened this morning in Turkey: Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish man who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, was released from a Turkish prison on Monday proclaiming that he was “the Christ eternal” after serving jail […]

Here’s a pope quiz: how many are saints?

posted by jmcgee

Not as many as you may think — and David Gibson raises a few interesting issues in his New York Times piece: When Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree last month that nudged nearer to sainthood his controversial wartime predecessor, […]

Judge not

posted by jmcgee

My brother deacon Scott Dodge posted a little rumination this weekend on judging.   I judge it to be something we all need to read and ponder: It is an indisputable article of Christian faith that you will be judged. Each […]

In Haiti: “We have to keep hoping…”

posted by jmcgee

This Sunday, the people of Haiti gathered together wherever they good to offer prayers and pleadings to God. Many of their churches have been destroyed, but that didn’t stop them. From the New York Times: With their churches flattened, their […]

“On this path, we can walk together…”

posted by jmcgee

” As Moses taught in the Shema (cf. Dt 6:5; Lev 19:34) – and as Jesus reaffirms in the Gospel (cf. Mk 12:19-31), all of the Commandments are summed up in the love of God and loving-kindness towards one’s neighbour. […]

In Haiti: “God is angry at the world”

posted by jmcgee

As the crisis in Haiti deepens, another crisis in this predominantly Catholic country may well turn out to be spiritual. From the Los Angeles Times: The woman wailed outside the ruins of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Port-au-Prince, the iconic […]

Following in the steps of Stephen

posted by jmcgee

Salt Lake City is preparing to ordain a new class of deacons, the first in several years: Twenty-one men will follow the steps of Saint Stephen when they are ordained as permanent deacons by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, […]

Meet Patrick Henry Hughes — and be amazed

posted by jmcgee

With so much of the world gripped by the tragedy in Haiti, and so much seeming impossible to overcome, it might be fruitful to take a moment and witness how one young person did overcome the impossible. A friend sent […]

Connecticut deacon rescued from rubble in Haiti

posted by jmcgee

This news item popped up earlier today: Two Connecticut residents, including a deacon from Southbury, have been rescued from the wreckage after Haiti’s earthquake, the Hartford Courant reported on its Web site Wednesday morning. The executive director of Haitian Ministries […]

Has Catholic University found a lost Rembrandt?

posted by jmcgee

You never know what you may find when you wander into the bathroom. From the Washington Post: Soon after becoming president of Catholic University, the Very Rev. David M. O’Connell went in search of paper towels in his bathroom cabinet. […]

A rare San Francisco “relic”: a public display of faith

posted by jmcgee

A blog at the New York Times takes note of a cultural curiosity, as the most secular of American cities (though named for a saint) still manages once in a while to show a strain of Catholic fervor: There was […]

Homily for January 17, 2010: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

On our refrigerator at home, there’s a picture that was taken about 10 years ago at the very spot where, tradition tells us, this episode of the gospel took place. The picture shows my wife and me, inside the large […]

“God, we bring before you today your people of Haiti…”

posted by jmcgee

The prayer below was sent to me by a friend. It was composed by Rose Marie Berger, who writes in Sojourners magazine. — Dcn. G. Most Holy Creator God, Lord of heaven and earth, we bring before you today your […]

Pro-God ads to hit NYC subways

posted by jmcgee

After atheists spread around some “No God? No Problem” ads over Christmas, a church in Times Square decided to go on a counter-offensive: Pro-God ads will hit some 1,000 subway cars throughout New York City beginning Friday, announced the New […]

A priest’s best friend

posted by jmcgee

From St. Louis, Missouri comes this unusual story of a priest and his pooch: Our Lady of the Holy Cross Catholic Church got a new priest last summer, the Rev. Don Buhr. With Buhr came Elijah, also known in this […]

How gay are Catholic priests?

posted by jmcgee

Well, Andrew Sullivan points to this Amazon link as evidence of a lavender underground, but the evidence — like the wafers in question — is thin. From my experience, priests don’t buy communion wafers; sacristans or church secretaries do. And […]

The pope’s prayer for Haiti

posted by jmcgee

“God of all creation, as we weep with our family in Haiti, console us. In this time of crisis, open our eyes to look beyond the disaster to see Christ in our brothers and sisters in Haiti, as Christ sees […]

Roger Ebert, and remembrance

posted by jmcgee

If you haven’t encountered this yet, pop over to Roger Ebert’s blog and read his harrowing, heartfelt, mystical reflections on what life has been like since he lost the ability to eat or drink. He probably doesn’t realize it, but […]

Where are the envelope-pushers?

posted by jmcgee

Disappearing and dying off, according to this assessment from the Wall Street Journal. And the author suggests that this isn’t actually a good thing: Where is the second generation of brilliant progressive Catholic theologians? There are plenty of liberal lay […]

Dolan: “Haiti is the broken, bloody body of Jesus”

posted by jmcgee

I had the privilege of seeing this video early this morning at the USCCB in Washington. The Archbishop of New York is in Rome, celebrating the anniversary of the North American College. Catholic News Service tracked him down late yesterday […]

The pope must think, “Ah, those were the days…”

posted by jmcgee

Someone recently posted this charming picture of the former Cardinal Ratzinger enjoying a brewski. It made me think that he probably misses the days when he could hoist a stein and kick back with his pals and let forth with […]

Haiti: “God is always on the side of the suffering”

posted by jmcgee

Those powerful words come from the director of the Haitian apostolate in my diocese, Fr. Donelson Thevenin. His interview on “Currents” last night was both potent and poignant. (I just got back from DC and a meeting with the Communications […]

Mass as theater: after communion, let’s go to Sardi’s and wait for the reviews …

posted by jmcgee

Over at First Things, Patrick Rostrum has attempted to write what amounts to a review of a church and its mass, with special emphasis on the homily: The pre-service stillness did not last long. With the first note of the […]

A Lutheran who became a Byzantine priest: “It was like a perfect marriage”

posted by jmcgee

And now for something a little different: a former Lutheran minister who is now a Catholic priest — in the Eastern Rite. From the Catholic Anchor: A former Lutheran pastor from Northern Michigan now heads St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine […]

Jesus and Mary in fruit?

posted by jmcgee

So it seems, according to this report out of Buffalo: A Lockport man says he believes an image of Jesus and Mary can be found in an orange he cut open for breakfast Christmas morning. Paul Kulniszewski of Lockport, a […]

“Who is a hero?”

posted by jmcgee

“Who is a hero? I was not. I was just an ordinary housewife and secretary.” — Miep Gies, the last survivor of those who helped hide Anne Frank and her family. Ms. Gies died today, in an Amsterdam nursing home, […]

Obama the Irish-Catholic?

posted by jmcgee

That’s the provocative comparison being made in this opinion piece in today’s Los Angeles Times: A presidential candidate belonging to a historically despised minority group is elected partly because he and the way he talks don’t conform to a stereotype. […]

Vatican slams “Avatar” as “sentimental hokum”

posted by jmcgee

The official Vatican newspaper has declined to give its blessing to the blockbuster of the year (century?).   From Variety: While “Avatar” is drawing near unanimous praise worldwide, the Vatican is scathingly slamming James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi epic as “sentimental […]

March for Life plans first-ever protest at White House

posted by jmcgee

And it’s part of a large and very busy slate of activities planned for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade: Pro-life activists flocking to the nation’s capital for the 37th March for Life Jan. 22 will be buoyed by recent […]

The love the dare not speak its name…

posted by jmcgee

That is, of course, the grown male’s deep but unfulfilled desire for cool stuff that makes a lot of noise. Especially farm equipment. This video says it all.  Enjoy.

Remembering Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden

posted by jmcgee

On Friday, the vice president’s mother passed away. It’s worth noting the tough but tender resilience and Irish Catholic pugnacity of Jean Biden — and the AP obit doesn’t disappoint: Raised in a family with a strong Irish Catholic tradition, […]

Let us pray: pictures from a retreat

posted by jmcgee

My classmate and pal Anthony Martucci had the presence of mind to actually use his camera while we were on retreat this weekend. Below are a couple choice shots. Thanks, Tony! Below is the lower chapel, where we celebrated mass […]

One year in two minutes

posted by jmcgee

This may be the world’s most eloquent homily on life and death, and it doesn’t contain a single word.  Just watch.  One year in 120 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

Equality Bill: “A serious threat to religious liberty in Britain”

posted by jmcgee

Here’s a little news that should make even casual Catholics sit up and take notice — and set off alarm bells for people of all faiths: The Roman Catholic ban on women entering the priesthood will become illegal under Harriet […]

Back at the Bench

posted by jmcgee

Well, it didn’t look exactly like the picture above (which was taken a year ago) but Huntington’s seminary on Long Island is about the same, and we did have a nice dusting of snow on the ground for my weekend […]

Go Steelers! Go God!

posted by jmcgee

A friend alerted me to a snazzy new website in Pittsburgh, devoted to vocations. It’s PGHPriest.com — and it’s tagline, aimed squarely at local football fans, says it all: “In a city that bleeds black and gold, we need champions […]

A first for New York City: a pro-life health care center for women

posted by jmcgee

New York City has a new place for women to get health care — and it’s unlike any other: Women facing infertility and other reproductive difficulties have a new place to turn to for help. It’s in Manhattan, and it […]

“Suddenly, God became very real to me…”

posted by jmcgee

“No sudden flash of insight led my return to God. It was the children who ultimately brought me back–the same group of suffering individuals who had caused me to doubt God’s existence. They buffeted me with questions: Why would God […]

All creatures of our God and King

posted by jmcgee

My sister sent this to me. I have no idea where she got it. But it cracked me up.  I think it’s worth posting before the last trees are dragged to the curb, and the final glass balls are returned […]

Doctor changes position on abortion-breast cancer link

posted by jmcgee

That’s the big headline from a study released last year, and now making news: An April 2009 study co-authored by a researcher who has previously denied an abortion-breast cancer link shows a statistically significant increase in breast cancer risk among […]

A prayer for migrants

posted by jmcgee

Lord Jesus, when you multiplied the loaves and fishes, you provided more than food for the body, you offered us the gift of yourself, the gift which satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst! Your disciples were filled with fear […]

The real story behind General Tso’s chicken!

posted by jmcgee

This delicacy is a staple for anyone who has ever eaten out of a cardboard carton that was  delivered by an intense young man wearing a baseball cap and a rain poncho and peddling a spindly bicycle with one flat […]

Praying to St. Mel for a miracle (and money)

posted by jmcgee

Could an Irish cathedral destroyed by a fire get an unexpected — and very famous — savior? The local bishop hopes so: A desperate plea for actor Mel Gibson to help restore a landmark burned-out Irish cathedral has been made […]

“I’m not the man they think I am at home…”

posted by jmcgee

A friend posted this today on his Facebook page, and it seems an apt musical interlude for the feast of the Epiphany, since it involves a “star trek” of a different kind…and a manifestation of something, um…unusual. It really has […]

Deacon wives, and threads of love

posted by jmcgee

They don’t get nearly enough attention, but the wives of deacons often play a critical role in their husbands’ ministry. Now, some wives and widows in Connecticut have embarked on a ministry of their own. From the Catholic Transcript newspaper: […]

Do you think he knows Sarah Palin?

posted by jmcgee

A Catholic paper in Alaska has this interesting profile of a priest who serves as a chaplain to state troopers in Palin’s hometown of Wasilla — and whose wardrobe includes not only a white collar, but also a bullet-proof vest. […]

Medjugorje: “Lies, contradictions, promises, uncertainties”

posted by jmcgee

“‘The sign’ has to be, and may indeed be, the most splendid weapon of the ‘seers’ of Medjugorje and of the propagandists of the ‘apparitions’. The same ‘seers’, from the beginning, have asked the lady that appeared to them for […]

Over two million got a peek at the pope

posted by jmcgee

Benedict has what is probably the biggest pulpit in the world — and a lot of people reportedly got to see the pontiff in person: The Prefecture of the Pontifical House released statistics today detailing the estimated numbers of faithful […]

A mighty WIND: Listecki’s radio days

posted by jmcgee

In all the excitement about Milwaukee’s new archbishop — installed yesterday — a little known detail of his early life has gone largely overlooked. He’s an old radio guy. Read on: Chicago radio airwaves have carried great voices such as […]

It’s your husband’s fault

posted by jmcgee

And now there’s scientific evidence to back it up: It is widely known that women tend to gain weight after giving birth, but now a large study has found evidence that even among childless women, those who live with a […]

“Sometimes, it’s as simple as praying with them…”

posted by jmcgee

From Afghanistan comes this remarkable story of a Catholic soldier who has become the lay spiritual leader for many in his battalion: Like all Marines, Cpl. Matthew Munoz is there for his buddies, but the 23-year-old also has stepped forward […]

News from Medjugorje: when clerics collide

posted by jmcgee

The recent visit of a Cardinal to Medjugorje has attracted a fair amount of attention — and the local bishop isn’t happy: Most Rev. Ratko Peri?, the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno in Bosnia-Herzegovina, released a statement in which he criticizes Vienna, […]

A germ-free communion dispenser?

posted by jmcgee

Yep.  I can’t imagine these things popping up at a Catholic mass, but you never know.      Anyway: now this invention is getting even more attention because of a lawsuit: A holy war of sorts has broken out in the […]

How do they pick bishops?

posted by jmcgee

It’s more complicated than most people realize. You can get a good idea from this primer, which focuses on the process now underway in Scranton: The process for selecting a bishop begins before a see is vacant. During periodic meetings, […]

A deacon on duty

posted by jmcgee

More and more deacons are finding themselves serving as police chaplains — and an Illinois newspaper has a case in point: When police respond to a serious accident or a terrible crime, who responds to the resulting grief? Often, that […]

Will Apple save the world?

posted by jmcgee

And now, a confession from my inner geek: I’m a Mac man. I love my MacBook Pro (I’m typing on it right now) and use an iMac at my office at work, and keep my ears plugged into an iPod […]

“They departed by another way…”

posted by jmcgee

“The Journey of the Magi” by James Jacques Joseph Tissot And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. “It’s important to see that the Magi did go home. […]

Yes, they DO build ’em like they used to — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

A friend dropped me an e-mail earlier today to give me a heads-up about a beautiful new Catholic church that’s being built in Brewster, New York. He thought I’d be especially interested, because I serve at a gorgeous Gothic-style building, […]

A blast from the past: a classic Ray Conniff Christmas medley

posted by jmcgee

Including, for this feast, “We Three Kings.” This brings back memories of my childhood, and my Dad’s Philco television with the rabbit ears, and the boxy wooden stereo in the living room that played endless Christmas LPs. (The Firestone Collection […]

The up side of the downturn

posted by jmcgee

Could the recession be our salvation? A new poll offers some intriguing insight into how our priorities have shifted: Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great […]

Angels in the snow

posted by jmcgee

That would be this group of sledding sisters. Enjoy. H/T to Big A.

Another angle on Tebow

posted by jmcgee

The sports editors at the New York Times posted two different pictures of the college football star, one online, and another in the print edition. Interestingly, both were variations of the shot below:

Homily for January 3, 2010: the Epiphany of the Lord

posted by jmcgee

Christmas Day, hours after midnight mass, my wife and I hopped a plane to Washington, to spend some time with our families. The flight went smoothly, and a couple hours later we found ourselves in the back seat of a […]

Tim Tebow: no boasting

posted by jmcgee

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus […]

“They forgot the mission…”

posted by jmcgee

“Maybe the most worrying trend the past 10 years can be found in this phrase: ‘They forgot the mission.’ So many great American institutions–institutions that every day help hold us together–acted as if they had forgotten their mission, forgotten what […]

The cup comes back

posted by jmcgee

After weeks of anxiety about the swine flu, at least one U.S. diocese will be bringing back the communion chalice. From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Last fall, it was a sign of the season – the flu season, that […]

“It’s a beautiful day…”

posted by jmcgee

…Don’t let it get away.” Happy New Year! The heart is a bloom Shoots up through the stony groundThere’s no roomNo space to rent in this town You’re out of luck And the reason that you had to care The traffic is […]

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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