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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

Quote of the day, Bulwer-Lytton edition

posted by jmcgee

“For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss–a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and […]

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On homilies: “How can you plant seeds?”

posted by jmcgee

A bit fat h/t to Mike “Googling God” Hayes, who is pointing readers to this very good chin-scratcher about what makes for good preaching in the Catholic Church. From the Pray Tell blog: In the midst of all the bustle […]

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Worth a thousand words: a priest’s first mass

posted by jmcgee

Fr. Alonzo Cox, Sunday June 27, 2010, at Queen of All Saints Church, in Brooklyn. 

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The OTHER first permanent deacon in America

posted by jmcgee

Last week, I posted about the passing of Paul McArdle, hailed as the first permanent deacon in the United States. A day or so later, Deacon Bill Ditewig (Deacon Dr. Ditewig, or Triple D) dropped me a note to set […]

Do you understand?

posted by jmcgee

I came across this terrific reflection by the Concord Pastor, who offers a probing examination of conscience keyed to the theme of understanding. It strikes me as particularly apt for those who spend time here in the blogosphere: Do I […]

Needed at Catholic schools: a few good men

posted by jmcgee

That’s the gist behind this essay, written by a male school teacher in Maryland: When I started substitute teaching at St. Mary’s, a Catholic school in Maryland, two years ago, I noticed something that has become so common that it […]

Alzheimer’s, and the long goodbye

posted by jmcgee

This story is a stunner, on so many levels.  It’s reportedly the most-viewed video over at CBSNews.com, and I can understand why.  I knew the two people involved when I worked at CBS, so this really hit close to home. […]

Worth a thousand words, pallium edition

posted by jmcgee

Miami’s new archbishop, Thomas Wenski, fights back tears after receiving the pallium from Pope Benedict today at the Vatican. CNS has details. Also, Rome Reports has a video report, below.   

My dad, the deacon

posted by jmcgee

An interesting nugget from Los Angeles, where three girls graduating in one Catholic high school are all the daughters of deacons. From The Tidings: When Haley Guerra graduated from St. Joseph High School in Lakewood May 28, she was able […]

Testing, testing…can you hear me?

posted by jmcgee

That might become a familiar refrain in some parishes, if they haven’t switched to a new wireless microphone. CNS explains: Churches across the country are among those who might need to switch the kind of microphones they are using if […]

The men who would be priests

posted by jmcgee

Take a moment to be moved, and inspired. From the heart of Brooklyn, via “Currents,” profiles of the three men ordained this weekend.

How does your church rate?

posted by jmcgee

Now there’s a place where you can find out. The story is in this morning’s Detroit Free Press: We use dating Web sites to find soul mates. Now, some entrepreneurs want to take that to a higher level and help […]

Real men pray the rosary

posted by jmcgee

That’s the name of a Facebook page that caught the attention of a reporter at the Riverside Press-Enterprise in California, and he decided to investigate: David Calvillo used to think praying the rosary was for “old ladies and funerals.” Then […]

How can you be a better preacher?

posted by jmcgee

Though the advice in this piece is aimed primarily at Protestant preachers, some of the ideas have applications for the rest of us, too: In churches of any denomination, pastors serve and shepherd the people. Preaching is only one aspect […]

Brooklyn’s first saint?

posted by jmcgee

It could happen. I didn’t get a chance to post this last week, but it’s noteworthy for so many reasons. Thursday night, Bishop DiMarzio formally opened the cause for the canonization of the late, great Msgr. Bernard J. Quinn — […]

New deacons for Worcester and Washington

posted by jmcgee

It’s a busy time in the country’s cathedrals and basilicas. Worcester just ordained three new permanent deacons, and the Catholic Free Press has a lovely look at their calling: He wrote letters to his former girlfriend. But then he destroyed […]

Paul McArdle, America’s first deacon, dies

posted by jmcgee

Word is filtering through the diaconate community today that Paul McArdle, the first deacon ordained in the United States, has died.   He was 76.  I received the following comment on my blog this afternoon: My name is Fr. Mario […]

A great day in Brooklyn: three new priests

posted by jmcgee

Below, the first published snapshots (forgive the miserable quality — deacon photographer at work!) of the new priests for the Diocese of Brooklyn, ordained Saturday June 26, 2010 at the Basilica Cathedral of St. James. Below, Fr. Nixon Jean-Francois, Fr. […]

Priestly people

posted by jmcgee

Busy weekend here at The Bench: I’ll be attending the ordinations of three new priests for the Diocese of Brooklyn Saturday morning, then on Sunday, serving as deacon at the Mass of Thanksgiving for one of them, Fr. Alonzo Cox. […]

Shepherd of note: a singing bishop

posted by jmcgee

Yes! Can someone say “Amen!”? This just made me smile: a video of the newly installed bishop of Springfield concluding his homily with a song from one of the Backstreet Boys. Yes. Really. You can read about him here. But […]

It’s a big church — in every sense

posted by jmcgee

It’s not often that a beautiful and historic church in a city like New York gets a new altar — and gets a full-blown rededication, complete with cardinal and archbishop. But that happened recently at St. Francis Xavier Church in […]

Manute Bol, a fool for Christ

posted by jmcgee

In the days after his death, much has been written about Manute Bol the humanitarian. But this writer also points us to something often overlooked: Manute Bol, the Christian: Manute Bol, who died last week at the age of 47, […]

Fr. Roger Ebert

posted by jmcgee

Well, that was what his mother had hoped and prayed for. It didn’t quite work out that way.  The celebrated film critic — now suffering from a ravenous form of cancer that has taken away much of his jaw — […]

When a priest can’t finish mass

posted by jmcgee

File this under “Really Interesting Stuff Most Catholics Don’t Know.” It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then a priest is unable to complete the holy sacrifice of the mass. What then? Zenit, citing a theology manual from the […]

What hath Queens wrought?!

posted by jmcgee

This popped up over at The Anchoress this morning, and I was flabbergasted. I know this gal! Mary Anne Marks is in my parish! Now, a degree from Harvard under her belt, she’s about to enter religious life, joining the […]

Connecticut Yankees: new deacons in Hartford

posted by jmcgee

From the Catholic Transcript: The ordination of nine men to the permanent diaconate drew four bishops and about 25 priests, 50 deacons and 300 family members and friends to the Cathedral of St. Joseph on June 5. Archbishop Henry J. […]

“Direct abortion” vs. a “medical procedure”

posted by jmcgee

Wednesday, the bishops released a document clarifying the difference between a “direct abortion” and a “medical procedure” — evidently, in connection with the much-covered case in Phoenix. Catholic News Service offers a summary: The committee’s statement quoted directive 45: “Abortion […]

Adult stem cell stunner: blind can now see

posted by jmcgee

It’s being hailed as a major breakthrough in treating the visually impaired — and some of the results are truly amazing: Dozens of people who were blinded or otherwise suffered severe eye damage when they were splashed with caustic chemicals […]

Do you know the way to San Jose?

posted by jmcgee

If not, just head for the crowd of new deacons, ordained last weekend. Read more here. Congratulations! Ad multos annos!

Meet the office chaplain

posted by jmcgee

Corporations may be downsizing in other departments, but some are beefing up in one unexpected area: spiritual counseling. From the Wall Street Journal: Marisol Corrales, an operations manager for a Dallas housecleaning service, doesn’t attend church regularly or see herself […]

The write stuff, Catholic edition

posted by jmcgee

Recently, Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia posted about attending a Catholic writer’s conference. Some of her (always interesting!) impressions can be found right here. But if you want to see more — and hear from The A herself! — check out […]

World’s worst-dressed priests?

posted by jmcgee

Take a look. Warning: not for the faint of heart. You can see more — if you really want to — right here.

Better look busy

posted by jmcgee

A new poll suggests a lot of folks think Jesus will be here relatively soon: Among respondents to the survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and Smithsonian Magazine, 41 percent said they expect Jesus’ […]

When Father’s Day came early: a new priest says “Thank you”

posted by jmcgee

A little while back, I blogged about Deacon Greg Rapisarda, the father of a Father, becoming a Father. This widowed dad of a priest was ordained a priest himself on June 12 — making history, by giving Baltimore its first […]

Beautifully imperfect: a tribute to life

posted by jmcgee

A friend posted this on Facebook, and it’s too good not to share. Watch it with someone you love.      

“Handmaid” horror: nun killed by car fleeing police

posted by jmcgee

Last summer, I posted this item about a remarkable order of African American nuns in Harlem. Late today, some sad news about one of their members: An elderly nun was killed after a minivan fleeing the police struck a Honda […]

It’s time to play “Name that Pope!”

posted by jmcgee

Incredibly, a grade-schooler in Indiana can name every one of them, in six minutes. From Today’s Catholic News: Eleven-year-old John Paul Fitzmaurice has completed a project so difficult that few lay men and women even attempt it. The Granger boy […]

Many clergy unprepared for retirement

posted by jmcgee

Some advice to all those young priests being ordained this year: save your stipends. From the AP: Clergy seem an unlikely group to be facing a retirement security crisis. They generally are looked up to by their parishioners as wise […]

They did it — and here’s the proof

posted by jmcgee

I asked, you answered. A sharp-eyed reader responded to my bleg for a snapshot of the Archdiocese of New York’s new deacons. Here it is, below. “Not the best picture,” my e-mailer confessed, “but it shows everyone.”  Thank you!

“I overcame these trials because God is calling me”

posted by jmcgee

You never can be sure what God has up His sleeve. Consider, for example, the remarkable stories of the two men who were recently ordained priests for Salt Lake City. The saga of Fr. Tai Nguyen really is something: Nguyen, […]

When a priest retires

posted by jmcgee

From the Times this morning comes this touching profile of a priest who did so much — and still has more to do: On a recent overcast morning, the Rev. John C. Flynn, an 80-year-old Roman Catholic priest with bright […]

What happened in Phoenix?

posted by jmcgee

That’s the question that Fr. Kevin O’Rourke, a bioethicist and canon lawyer, attempts to discern in this article from America magazine. It is, to my knowledge, the most comprehensive and detailed overview of the facts surrounding the controversial abortion performed […]

Typing without tapping? Meet Swype

posted by jmcgee

Not long ago, I blogged about the “invisible mouse” being developed for laptop computers. Well, here’s another gee-whiz moment for techno-geeks: technology that could change typing — and remove the tapping in typing — forever: Back in the 1990s, typing […]

“Toy Story 3″: a work of wonder

posted by jmcgee

A lot of people have asked me “So what did you think of ‘Toy Story 3’? Was it really that good?” Yes, it really was.  Really.    But two things stand out. (Warning, spoilers ahead!) The first struck me because […]

The latest proposal to stop oil spill: prayer

posted by jmcgee

There are no atheists in foxholes — or in Louisiana politics, especially during a crisis of historic proportions. From CNN: While cleanup crews and technical teams continue efforts to stop crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana lawmakers are […]

“We did it!”

posted by jmcgee

That was the happy e-mail message I received this morning from a newly ordained deacon across the river. The Archdiocese of New York welcomed 13 new deacons yesterday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. They include — among others — a realtor, […]

A Blessing for Fathers

posted by jmcgee

God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things. Bless these men, that they may be strengthened as Christian fathers. Let the example of their faith and love shine forth. Grant that we, their sons and daughters, […]

A baker’s dozen for Baton Rouge

posted by jmcgee

Louisiana has some new deacons. The Catholic Commentator has pictures and interviews with the men. Take a look at this pdf file for more. The diocesan website has details, too. Congratulations! Ad multos annos!

Another grim reminder that it’s not just a Catholic thing

posted by jmcgee

A sad story out of Tennessee, involving a volunteer at a Baptist church. God have mercy on us all.

A Catholic wedding in 2010

posted by jmcgee

Some observations during this month of weddings… The elements are simple, really. A videographer, with lights, who roams around. A photographer. About 60 guests. A small bridal party involving a maid of honor, best man, flower girl.  Sometimes, there may […]

Attention, Kmart shoppers…

posted by jmcgee

Will Tom Hanks please report to Aisle 6? Here’s the picture of the weekend. Details here. The “Toy Story 3″ star is filming a movie about working at Kmart, and posed for the picture below.   (The missus and I will […]

Homily for June 20, 2010: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

Where were you on June 17, 1994? This week a documentary on ESPN asked that question, and offered a powerful answer. June 17, 1994 was one of the most dramatic days in modern history. Arnold Palmer played his last U.S. […]

How long until we see this on the altar?

posted by jmcgee

Will the priest one day celebrate mass with an iPad? It’s now technically possible (though, perhaps, not liturgically correct). Check this out: iBreviary–the daily prayer book for iPhone–will become a full Roman missal for iPad, allowing priests to celebrate mass […]

Horray for Hollywood: 14 new deacons for L.A.

posted by jmcgee

The City of Angels welcomed its newest batch of deacons last weekend. From The Tidings: “Christ ordained that many ministries would be carried on in the Church,” noted Cardinal Roger Mahony in a prayer during the liturgy. “Today it is […]

Convent may not be sold to become a mosque

posted by jmcgee

You may remember this story from last month. Well, it seems the pastor has changed his mind about the whole deal: A plan to sell a Roman Catholic convent on Staten Island to a Muslim group for use as a […]

On the menu: the priesthood

posted by jmcgee

Here’s a great story from a city with great food, about a chef who has decided to feed a very different sort of hunger: There are myriad possibilities as to why a meal at the Upperline could leave a person […]

Quote of the day: “I write for spiritual reasons…”

posted by jmcgee

“I have a very unsophisticated relationship with Jesus. I do not have one interesting theological thought in my head. I just feel him, and did from the beginning: I feel the intense love he has for us, especially when we […]

Okay. This officially freaks me out.

posted by jmcgee

But in a cool way. Behold the introduction of the Invisible Mouse: There are no pictures of the invisible mouse, because the mouse itself doesn’t exist. It’s just an infrared laser beam and an infrared camera tracking your hand from […]

Phoenix nun’s excommunication “null and void”?

posted by jmcgee

A canon lawyer is arguing that case, in reference to Sr. Margaret Mary McBride. America Magazine has the details. Among the key points: 5. The Code of Canon Law contains nothing specifically and precisely (a “must” in criminal matters) about […]

The new guy

posted by jmcgee

Malaysia got its first new permanent deacon in 30 years yesterday. As previously noted, he’s one of two in the country, and only 34 years old. The local paper has a complete write up, with the happy news that six […]

The China Syndrome: the effects of selective abortion

posted by jmcgee

What happens when the law only allows one child per family, and most of those — through selective abortion — are male? This CNN report offers one sobering answer.

RIP for BFF?

posted by jmcgee

Incredibly, there’s a movement afoot to stop kids from having best friends. I’m not making this up. Really. Take a look: Increasingly, some educators and other professionals who work with children are asking a question that might surprise their parents: […]

Root of Jesse: people see Jesus in tree

posted by jmcgee

Maybe he’s in the tree because his eye is on the sparrow? I think it’s a stretch, myself, but people will see whoever they want, in whatever they want. From Connecticut: A Wallingford tree is attracting a steady stream of […]

Shedding the collar for cleats

posted by jmcgee

The World Cup isn’t the only soccer tournament in the world, you know. The New York Times has this look at one in the shadow of the Vatican: On a recent weekend morning, a crowd gathered on a field behind […]

Bishop who resigned changes his mind

posted by jmcgee

In a curious twist, a bishop who made headlines over abuse allegations, and quit, is now having second thoughts: A former German bishop said Wednesday his peers in the Roman Catholic church pressured him into resigning over abuse allegations and […]

Vatican paper sings praises of “The Blues Brothers”

posted by jmcgee

To mark the 30th anniversary of the John Belushi classic — which contains the immortal line, “We’re on a mission from God” — the Vatican newspaper devotes a whole page, from editor Gian Maria Vian, to celebrating the film’s Catholicity. […]

A priest’s murder sparks his nephew’s vocation

posted by jmcgee

From suburban Maryland comes this story of how the murder of a priest inspired his nephew to pursue his own vocation: Monsignor Thomas Wells will not be in the crowd Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the […]

Atheist bus ads pop up in Chicago

posted by jmcgee

The bus ads from the Freedom From Religion Foundation that have cropped up in Europe are now appearing in Chicago, encouraging people not to go to church: The Freedom From Religion Foundation plastered more signs on 75 Chicago buses this […]

Jackie Kennedy’s grief

posted by jmcgee

A couple weeks back, I posted about Archbishop Philip Hannan’s new memoir. Now, excerpts are trickling out. The bishop who delivered the eulogy at John F. Kennedy’s funeral is sharing some details that have never been revealed before — including […]

Do kids matter to marriage?

posted by jmcgee

It turns out, more people are saying “No.” A blog at the New York Times takes note: One of the more surprising trends in marriage during the past 20 years is the fact that most couples no longer view children […]

One country with only two deacons

posted by jmcgee

Amazing, but true.  This comes from the Kuala Lumpur Desk (a sleepy little outpost of the Deacon’s Bench) — where that corner of the world is about to get a second deacon.  And he’s so young, he’ll require a dispensation […]

Scouting for future priests in Albany

posted by jmcgee

How can you encourage vocations? Someone had a great idea in Albany, and posted about the experience at the blog for Our Sunday Visitor: For the past nine months I’ve been working with eight Boy Scouts from my parish, including […]

Is Hyundai mocking the Catholic Church? — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

Short answer, in my opinion: yes. The car company is running the ad below during the World Cup soccer coverage. One observer wrote: I don’t understand the rationale behind companies running ads to sell stuff that offends potential customers. Hyundai […]

Faith of steel: meet NFL star Troy Polamalu, devout Christian

posted by jmcgee

What a great witness. H/T via Facebook and Deacon Scott Dodge.

2010: The year of the pro-life woman

posted by jmcgee

That’s the idea behind this op-ed piece by Ramesh Ponnuru in the New York Times: When President George W. Bush signed the bill banning partial-birth abortion in 2003, supportive legislators gathered around for a photograph. All of them were men. […]

History in Baltimore, as a father to a Father becomes a Father

posted by jmcgee

Happy Father’s Day, one week early. I posted last month on the man who is a father to a priest in Baltimore, and was about to be ordained a priest himself. Well, yesterday, it happened: This is history in process […]

When an altar server marries

posted by jmcgee

Well, not just any altar server. David James was the assistant moderator of the servers at my parish for nearly a decade — and did a superb job.  (Before anyone asks: yes, we have a priest who acts as moderator […]

Jersey boys: biggest deacon class ever for Metuchen

posted by jmcgee

And the local paper has the scoop: Nearly 30 additional men are now formally part of the framework that ministers to the faithful throughout Central Jersey’s Roman Catholic churches following their ordination as deacons in the Diocese of Metuchen. The […]

Andy Warhol, Catholic

posted by jmcgee

A new exhibit in Brooklyn is throwing a spotlight on a side of the artist most people might not know about. From Reuters: As a pop art pioneer, Andy Warhol blazed his way to fame with trademark Brillo soap pad […]

Homily for June 13, 2010: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

For the past few weeks, the world has watched in frustration, and sorrow, and anger, the disaster that has been unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. A couple weeks ago, on my TV show, “Currents,” we interviewed a priest in […]

Curtain going up on new musical about John Paul

posted by jmcgee

Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be seeing this extravaganza on Broadway any time soon: Elvis Presley, Eva Peron, Buddy Holly have all had one. Now, so too, does Pope John Paul II: a musical dedicated to his life. Actually entitled […]

Signs of reconciliation

posted by jmcgee

It’s becoming more common to find churches that offer mass with sign language. But how often do you hear about the Sacrament of Reconciliation being offered for those who are hearing impaired? Well, they offered it recently in Georgia. From […]

On Gaga and more: “Using blasphemy as entertainment is cheap…”

posted by jmcgee

Lady Gaga’s baffling — and, yes, tasteless — new video is raising eyebrows. But as this piece notes, she’s not the first to mock religion for entertainment: Queen of controversy Lady Gaga is making headlines for yet another racy video […]

“We insistently beg forgiveness from God…”

posted by jmcgee

The big story of the day, out of the Vatican: Pope Benedict begged forgiveness from God and victims of child sexual abuse by priests on Friday and vowed that the Catholic Church would do everything in its power to ensure […]

Blessed Lolo: first beatified journalist

posted by jmcgee

On Saturday, the church is beatifying for the first time a journalist — Manuel Lorenzo Garrido, known as “Lolo” — and the video below is a poignant look at his life and work.

Trust in clergy drops

posted by jmcgee

A research group has released its “Trust Index” for 2010 — and (perhaps unsurprisingly) members of the clergy didn’t fare well: Firefighters enjoy the highest levels of trust internationally. The clergy and marketing specialists have suffered a considerable deterioration in […]

Pope: celibacy stays

posted by jmcgee

The pontiff endorsed the discipline during the final hours of the Year for Priests. From Rome: Standing before more than 10,000 Roman Catholic priests, Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday strongly reaffirmed the Vatican’s commitment to priestly vows of celibacy, cutting […]

Here come L.A.’s “deacon couples”

posted by jmcgee

Continuing its tradition, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has announced the new “deacon couples” who will be serving parishes upon the ordination of the new deacons this weekend: Cardinal Roger Mahony will ordain 14 men to the Sacred Order of […]

“You shall not fear the terror of the night…”

posted by jmcgee

The photo above is worth a thousand words — and at least one psalm. From Julie at Happy Catholic: Staff Sgt. Edward Rosa reads the Bible and extends a cigarette to Pfc. Jorge Rostra Obando, who was stunned by an […]

Diocese removes school chaplains due to priest shortage

posted by jmcgee

Another sad sign of the times. This news comes from the Diocese of Fall River, in Massachusetts: The Rev. Jay Mello sat on a metal dugout bleacher, a baseball bat in hand. He laughed and joked with several members of […]

How can you be a better, holier commenter?

posted by jmcgee

Well, for starters, check out Matthew Warner’s suggestions in the National Catholic Register. He makes some very good points.

New mass, new music

posted by jmcgee

It’s no secret that composers and music publishers are scrambling to create new musical settings for the new translation of the Roman Missal, due to take effect late next year. But we have a rare window into the process over […]

Prayer of St. Ephrem

posted by jmcgee

 Lord and Master of my life,   keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement,  lust of power and idle chatter.   Instead, grant to me,   Your servant,   the spirit of wholeness of being, humble-mindedness, patience, and love. O Lord and […]

What do you give the newly ordained?

posted by jmcgee

‘Tis the season for ordinations. I get a lot of e-mails this time of year, from readers wondering what sort of gift they should get for that newly ordained priest or deacon. When I was ordained, I got a lot […]

From Jewish boy to Protestant minister…to Catholic priest

posted by jmcgee

What a journey!  It’s the first Catholic ordination in one Pennsylvania community — and it’s one for the history books: St. Joseph’s Church in York will be the setting on Saturday for an event sure to go down in local […]

Nearly 600 couples renew wedding vows in Washington

posted by jmcgee

It happened at the National Shrine this past weekend — and the Catholic News Agency article spotlights a deacon and his family: More than 580 couples renewed their marriage vows at a Sunday Mass celebrated by Archbishop of Washington Donald […]

Quote of the day: “We are particularly concerned about blogs…”

posted by jmcgee

“Secular media often falls into a trap of being cynical, disrespectful and sensationalist. Whatever is rudest or most sensational is what they often gravitate to. Catholic media can model what a civil, substantive media can and should be. Civil, substantive […]

Corpus Christi in Queens

posted by jmcgee

A parishioner sent these along this morning: some snapshots from our Corpus Christi procession at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills, Queens.  It was a beautiful event — with hundreds of parishioners and dozens of altar servers.   […]

Mary Matalin, new Catholic

posted by jmcgee

The Republican strategist, editor and talk show host (and wife of Democratic loud mouth, James Carville) spoke to the Catholic Media Convention last weekend. At one point, she mentioned that she was raised Methodist, but joined the Catholic Church this […]

After 27 years, a deacon becomes a priest

posted by jmcgee

Stories like this one in Kentucky are rare, but not unheard of. But it’s big enough that is made the local paper: James Reinhart is accustomed to being called dad, grandpa or deacon, but he’s still getting accustomed to his […]

The priest — and his Mrs.

posted by jmcgee

These cases seem to be coming more common. Another Protestant converts and becomes a priest — and makes a little news in the process: After 19 years as a Lutheran pastor, the Rev. Philip Johnson had grown disenchanted with Protestantism. […]

James Taylor & Carole King: boomer bliss

posted by jmcgee

Those icons of the ’70s, James Taylor and Carole King, are hitting the road, and have just released a live concert album. They’re chatting up their tour in Monday’s New York Times. But you can see the results for yourself […]

“That woman was my mother…”

posted by jmcgee

A stirring pro-life video from Andrea Bocelli — who uses his voice here to tell a beautiful story of life, and love. H/T Fr. Steve.

Why mass is like Disneyland

posted by jmcgee

It’s all about clothes. Below is a vintage photograph of guests at Disneyland in the 1950s. And below, from 2006. It’s not too great of a leap to compare the fashions at an amusement park to the clothes at church.  […]

Worth a thousand words: the mother of a saint

posted by jmcgee

The 100-year-old mother of Father Jerzy Popieliszko, Marianna, center, prays at her son’s grave in front of the St. Stanislaw Kostka church in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, June 5, 2010, ahead of the Sunday beatification of Jerzy Popieluszko. Popieluszko, the Solidarity […]

Nine new deacons for Rochester

posted by jmcgee

More ordination news — this time, from Rochester, where one of the new deacons is a married former Protestant minister on his way to the priesthood: Years ago, when he was a scuba diver in the Navy, Lon Smith ran […]

Where deacons outnumber priests

posted by jmcgee

It’s about to happen in one Texas diocese: When the 29 diaconate candidates are ordained June 5 at the McNease Convention Center in San Angelo, the diocese will officially have more deacons (80) than priests (58). The graduates of the […]

Catholic, conservative, celibate…and gay

posted by jmcgee

Well, now. Here’s something you don’t see every day in the New York Times. Check it out: “I spent the summer before college reading Shakespeare and staring out the window and occasionally being a roadie for my friend’s band,” says […]

Homily for June 6, 2010: Corpus Christi

posted by jmcgee

“Do this in remembrance of me.” There you have it: six words that changed the world. They come to us from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that we just heard – and they are the first known account that we […]

“Burger King spirituality”

posted by jmcgee

That’s how one author is describing the pick-and-choose, “have-it-your-way” spiritual life that is becoming increasingly popular — and it’s sparked some lively debate: “I’m spiritual but not religious.” It’s a trendy phrase people often use to describe their belief that […]

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Don’t repeal

posted by jmcgee

That’s the message coming from the Archbishop for Military Services. From CNA: The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring open homosexuals from serving in the military should not be changed, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services said […]

“Lost” found its ending at a Catholic school in Hawaii

posted by jmcgee

If you saw the “Lost” finale, you couldn’t miss the religious overtones — or the setting. Now CNS is revealing where it was filmed: The gateway to heaven is through the chapel doors at Sacred Hearts Academy in Honolulu. Or […]

Alert! Adorable video here!

posted by jmcgee

Be prepared to say “Awwwwwww” a lot. Enjoy this amazing portrait of two best friends.

America’s empathy deficit

posted by jmcgee

If you’re looking for a special gift for that new college graduate, may I suggest some nicely wrapped compassion?  This bit of news is both troubling — and disheartening. It doesn’t bode well for the next generation, that’s for sure: […]

What’s killing African Americans?

posted by jmcgee

The leading cause of death: abortion. Take a look: African American women comprise about 12% of women in this country but over 30% of Abortions are performed on Black women. There are many reasons for this including poverty and the […]

Trying to outwait God

posted by jmcgee

That’s the story of one new deacon profiled this week in the Western Catholic Reporter in Canada. The Archdiocese of Edmonton just ordained three deacons — and the paper profiles each of them. A snip: Weeks went by. Then months. […]

School resinstates boy who wore “gang symbol”: a rosary

posted by jmcgee

Not long ago, I posted about a teenager suspended for wearing a rosary to school — which some considered a gang symbol. Now an update: Raymond Hosier is wearing his purple rosary beads to school again. A day after a […]

More teens say they’re using natural birth control

posted by jmcgee

That’s one surprising finding from a new study: Today’s teenagers are increasingly likely to use the rhythm method to prevent pregnancy and to have relaxed attitudes about unwed motherhood, a new government teen sex survey has found. The results, released […]

Our web-savvy priesthood

posted by jmcgee

More priests are using the Internet to do their job, according to Zenit: A new study about the use of digital technology by priests worldwide shows that the Internet has become a frequently utilized tool in homily preparation, evangelization and […]

Father Cutie becomes an Episcopal priest

posted by jmcgee

The Catholic priest who made headlines last year is ministering again — and expecting his first child with his new wife. From the Miami Herald: As he stood in front of dozens of reporters a year ago to say he […]

Are deacons the new nuns?

posted by jmcgee

That’s the question my friend David Gibson is posing over at dotCommonweal, citing the recent CARA study about the permanent diaconate, which notes that — surprise — deacons usually aren’t paid: I know deacons have other jobs, or are very […]

Praying for Nancy Pelosi, a woman under the influence?

posted by jmcgee

That influence, The Anchoress suggests, might well be the Holy Spirit: Mrs. Pelosi may seem confused to some; perhaps she is. I prefer to believe that her seeming inability to stop herself from conflating her religion and her politics is […]

“God is the only treasure people desire in a priest”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the gist of a typically powerful and provocative address by New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan: The archbishop of New York is urging priests to remember that their vocation is an identity, not simply a career, and thus it must […]

Buckeye blessings: new deacons in Ohio

posted by jmcgee

A whopping 33 new permanent deacons — plus three transitional deacons — were ordained in Cincinnati last month, and this is the official class picture.  A full write up is right here. Congratulations! And, of course, ad multos annos!

O’Malley, Dolan named to panel investigating Irish sex abuse

posted by jmcgee

Two high-profile prelates of Irish descent will be part of the team looking into the scandal that’s devastated Ireland: In one of his most concrete actions since a sexual abuse scandal began sweeping the Roman Catholic Church in Europe, Pope […]

Happy anniversary!

posted by jmcgee

Incredibly, it was one year ago tonight that we launched the world’s first — and so far, only — 30-minute daily Catholic news show. Today marks the one-year anniversary of “Currents,” the nightly news magazine on the NET, the cable […]

Church to atheists: let’s talk

posted by jmcgee

A little news that broke over the weekend: The Vatican is planning a new initiative to reach out to atheists and agnostics in an attempt to improve the church’s relationship with non-believers. Pope Benedict XVI has ordered officials to create […]

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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