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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

August 2010 Archives

“The Town”: nuns with guns

posted by jmcgee

Just back from vacation, I was startled to see the new subway and bus posters for Ben Affleck’s new movie about bank robbers, “The Town.” Do they really think this will make people want to see the movie?

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Holy water: nuns on board for surf contest

posted by jmcgee

Summer may be drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean surfing season is over. Just ask the sisters who are stoked for some gnarly waves off the coast of New Jersey: Surf’s up, Sister! Sister James Dolores, 73, gives […]

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“Do not leave our priests alone at the altar”

posted by jmcgee

A priest friend in Ireland alerted me to this — and it’s worth reading and praying over, for it reveals a side of the priesthood many of us never hear about. From the Irish Times: The Italian alpine village of […]

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Sermons in sand

posted by jmcgee

I just got home from two weeks in Ocean Pines, Maryland, about five miles from the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a pretty neighborhood of cottages and boat docks and tall pines, where the most popular pastime among the natives appears to […]

The Catholic roots of the man behind “the mosque”

posted by jmcgee

The businessman who is backing the Islamic center near Ground Zero is real estate developer Sharif El-Gama. Did you know his mother was Catholic? He sat down for an interview recently with Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes: Pelley: Who are […]

Passing the basket — and the sunscreen

posted by jmcgee

A parish in Knoxville, Tennessee had a big outdoor mass last weekend and the local media came to check it out. Video below. Story and more video here. And this blog has more pictures and video, too.

Stop the presses: is the pope’s media team ready for the UK?

posted by jmcgee

Pope Benedict will be wading into some choppy waters next month when he visits the UK. And The Guardian — printing an excerpt from The British Journalism Review — wonders if the pontiff’s media team is up to the challenge: […]

“The Church does not exist to affirm our ideological preferences”

posted by jmcgee

“Sorry, but the Church does not exist to affirm us in our ideological preferences. It exists to teach us (among other things) and challenge us with the truth of the gospel. Our posture is to be one of docility to […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“It’s hard to ignore the fact that Jesus chose to be born poor; he worked as what many scholars now say was not simply a carpenter, but what might be called a day laborer; he spent his days and nights […]

The “miracle” of Mark Herzlich

posted by jmcgee

A college football star’s extraordinary recovery from cancer may, in fact, have had some divine help. Details, from the New York Daily News: One evening last winter, John Acampora, owner of the Flat Breads Café across the street from Boston […]

“My brother, the priest”

posted by jmcgee

From Denver comes this lovely tribute to one newly ordained man in particular — and to the Catholic priesthood in general. The author concludes: David left a medical career and a beautiful girlfriend behind to pursue a life of a […]

Out of Africa: the next pope?

posted by jmcgee

Anything is possible, with the Holy Spirit in charge. And a London paper takes a close look at one contender: When Pope Benedict XVI kicks off his four-day visit to the UK with a greeting from the Queen at Holyrood […]

Not too sweet: “pregnant nun” used to sell ice cream

posted by jmcgee

A series of jaw-dropping, eye-grabbing ads for ice cream are leaving some people in Europe cold. Details: Two ice cream adverts, one showing a pregnant nun and the other two male priests about to kiss, are facing a ban by […]

Does your bishop blog?

posted by jmcgee

The good folks at Aggie Catholics have just posted a list. See if someone you know is on it. Then drop by and see what he has to say.

Author: teens are following a “mutant” Christianity

posted by jmcgee

Here’s some disturbing news about religious trends among teenagers — what you might call Teenage Mutant Ninja Christianity. From CNN: If you’re the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning: Your child is following a “mutant” […]

You can’t make this stuff up

posted by jmcgee

This is an instant classic. Where are Abbot & Costello when you need them? Check out this priceless racing call from Monmouth Park a few days ago.

A reminder about comments

posted by jmcgee

People have been going a little bit nuts in the comments lately, so it seems a good time to refer newer readers to these guidelines, which I first posted after Easter. Please note: comments that are anti-Catholic — or, more broadly, anti-religion […]

Roamin’ Catholics: preachers who won’t stay put

posted by jmcgee

The always-interesting Fr. Z looks at a question from a reader about a priest who wanders around when he preaches: For centuries in the pre-Conciliar form of the Roman Rite the preacher is accompanied to the pulpit by the master […]

Bishop will run in marathon to pay down debt

posted by jmcgee

Some of you may remember he delightful installation homily by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois. He concluded his remarks by singing a number written by one of the Backstreet Boys. Anyway: the good bishop can not only carry a […]

Soaked: Protestant churches report more full immersion baptisms

posted by jmcgee

This can only be good news for the cotton towel industry. Details: Beneath a cloudless sky on a recent Sunday afternoon, John Oswald made a public profession of his Christian faith as he stood in the waters of Lake Michigan. […]

Brian Williams on confession and his mother, “a very old-school Catholic”

posted by jmcgee

The number-one rated nightly news anchor — and the only one of the Big Three who is Catholic — pours out his soul to Elle (well, sort of) in an interview that, among other things, touches rather unexpectedly on the […]

Mother Teresa: where it all began

posted by jmcgee

As millions around the world mark Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday, you might want to visit this link to see a compelling report by CNN’s Nic Robertson. He pays a visit to what used to be Albania, to Mother Teresa’s hometown, […]

Northern exposure: Alaska kids learn chant

posted by jmcgee

Well, who’d a thunk? Check out this video below, from the online edition of the Catholic Anchor in Anchorage.

Trapped Chilean miners creating underground shrine

posted by jmcgee

This news is both beautiful — and poignant: Communications and supplies were flowing efficiently between rescuers and 33 trapped miners in Chile, authorities said Wednesday. The miners have been trapped for a total of 20 days with minimal food. A […]

“I feel privileged to represent the Catholic Church in a visible way…”

posted by jmcgee

“I feel privileged to represent the Catholic Church in a visible way, because it is an organization of sinners and sinners-turned-saints, emphatically alive, expanding, and responsive to the needs of the time, an organization that has been enormously effective in […]

“Nothing stops us if we keep our faith and work hard”

posted by jmcgee

From the Detroit Free Press comes this inspiring story about a hardy band of survivors — thousands of Vietnamese immigrants who settled in New Orleans, and have endured extraordinary trials with extraordinary faith: On the far eastern edge of New […]

Music and the new missal: a joyful noise?

posted by jmcgee

Some of the most dramatic changes in the new Roman Missal won’t just be in what we say, but in what we sing. Music publishers are already working on that, according to CNS: The new Roman Missal authorized Aug. 20 […]

Did you hear the one about the funny deacon?

posted by jmcgee

Well, check out this item, about author and humorist Deacon Tom Sheridan: A priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into a bar. And the bartender says, “What is this, a joke?” Yes, it is just a joke — and […]

A good reporter, a good man

posted by jmcgee

While on vacation, I was saddened to learn that veteran CBS News correspondent Harold Dow had died suddenly from an asthma attack.  He was 62. I had the privilege of knowing him, and working with him on two trailblazing magazine […]

For anyone who hates conference calls…

posted by jmcgee

…this one’s for you. From the Citizens Bank annual talent show, a hilarious take on an office ritual, from Dave Grady. Enjoy.

“Socking it to Christianity” in high school tests?

posted by jmcgee

That’s the charge some teachers are leveling in New York. Details: State testmakers played favorites when quizzing high-schoolers on world religions — giving Islam and Buddhism the kid-gloves treatment while socking it to Christianity, critics say. Teachers complain that the […]

Write this down!

posted by jmcgee

“Have upon your study table, always accessible, a good-sized substantially bound blank book. Whenever a germinant thought comes seize your pen and write it down. Such thoughts will come out of your special course of literary reading, out of your […]

EMHCs as SOP

posted by jmcgee

A British observer has some sharp words about EMHCs at Catholic liturgies: What’s the point of all these assistants? The Catholic Church does allow for what it calls an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, in cases when the priest is […]

To life: judge blocks funding of embryonic stem cell research

posted by jmcgee

An encouraging piece of pro-life news late Monday: A federal district judge on Monday blocked President Obama’s 2009 executive order that expanded embryonic stem cell research, saying it violated a ban on federal money being used to destroy embryos. The […]

Blog blocked in Boston

posted by jmcgee

A curious bit of news out of Beantown: The Archdiocese of Boston, under attack by anonymous conservative Catholic bloggers, has blocked access to one of the websites from computers within the church’s Braintree headquarters. The Boston Catholic Insider, the most lively […]

Waiting in Norwich

posted by jmcgee

It’s rare to find the secular media taking on a topic like this: a columnist in a Connecticut paper is wondering why the suspended deacon program in his diocese (Norwich) remains on hold: Back at the start of 2009, Michael Strammiello, director […]

Our “Muslim” president: the story behind the numbers

posted by jmcgee

A blogger at the Washington Post has unearthed an interesting disparity in those poll figures showing a significant number of Americans think President Obama is a Muslim.  And what he’s uncovered is intriguing: A widely reported poll from the Pew […]

What’s my line: the deacon’s new dismissal

posted by jmcgee

Much attention has been given to the new translation of the Roman Missal. What many have not noted, however, is the new dismissal options for the deacon (or, if he’s absent, the priest): Go forth, the Mass is ended. Or: […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“Would it be an inviolate ignominy if my consubstantial oblation were suffused?” – Fr. Scott Hurd, on his Facebook page. Priceless. If you don’t get it, you will.  Eventually.  

Lutheran or Catholic? Can you tell?

posted by jmcgee

The gentleman pictured above is — drumroll please — a Lutheran minister. And he’s part of a thriving ministry to Hispanics, many of whom are formerly Catholic. Details, from The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: The Rev. Jhon Freddy Correa pours blessed water […]

Marriage, in three sentences

posted by jmcgee

The always-interesting blogger/priest (or priest/blogger?) from Washington, Msgr. Charles Pope, sums it up very succinctly. Read it and see if you don’t agree. Then share it with someone you love — or, maybe, someone who is planning to make that trip […]

Nashville priest apologizes for statements on birth control, married priests

posted by jmcgee

His interview with a deacon sent out shockwaves a few weeks back, when it went viral and popped up on YouTube. Now, the priest has apologized — and saved his job: The Rev. Joseph Breen had a choice. Retract and […]

November 27, 2011

posted by jmcgee

Mark your calendars: that’s the date the new translation of the Roman Missal will debut in a parish near you. Details, from CNS: The missal, announced by Pope John Paul II in 2000 and first published in Latin in 2002, […]

Obama to speak at Xavier in New Orleans

posted by jmcgee

And it seems to be causing much less of a stir than what happened last year at Notre Dame: The archbishop of New Orleans has responded to the decision of Xavier University, a Catholic institution in his diocese, to host […]

A question about mass intentions and deacons

posted by jmcgee

This is a new one to me, so I thought I’d toss it out there and see if anyone has an answer. A deacon reader writes: Can you find out for me, the validity of a mass intention in the […]

Hebrew Catholics?

posted by jmcgee

Strange but true. Details: Three years ago, just before Easter, then-Archbishop Raymond Burke attended a Passover seder with about 25 people to commemorate God’s liberation of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. Guests wore yarmulkes–Burke brought his own fuchsia zucchetto worn […]

A priest boomlet in Milwaukee?

posted by jmcgee

Local press reports sure make it sound that way: Church officials are hoping an increase in the number of priests graduating from the Milwaukee Archdiocese’s St. Francis de Sales Seminary will help slow Milwaukee’s growing priest shortage. But it might […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote: ‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.’ There is a spirit arising from Ground Zero; it is an untethered ghost of American certainties and illusions […]

DJ priest: “Jesus is #1!”

posted by jmcgee

And now, for something completely different: a priest who puts a new spin on the gospels. Take a look: “Jesus Is Number One!” shouts deejay priest Don Roberto Fiscer as he lines up the latest number by Lady Gaga for […]

Paradise found?

posted by jmcgee

Morning Prayer. Mass. Krispy Kreme donuts. Thrasher’s French Fries. Phillip’s crab cakes. The Tilt-A-Whirl. Ron Hansen’s “Mariette in Ecstasy.” Evening Prayer. And, in between, the view below, interrupted periodically by ducks. 

How to make a cross on your computer keyboard

posted by jmcgee

Did you know you could do this? Will wonders never cease. A reader sent this my way. Try it.

Mark Wahlberg: “I love golf and I love church…”

posted by jmcgee

A little celebrity news from Down Under: Reformed bad boy Mark Wahlberg is dedicated to attending church each day — even during his hectic Australian tour with Will Ferrell to promote their new film The Other Guys. Wahlberg, 39, went […]

Lost and found: man reconciles with Church after 80 years

posted by jmcgee

A remarkable odyssey has finally come to a close. From the Louisville Courier-Journal: In the annals of people who returned to their childhood faith after a time of alienation, few have had a longer sojourn than James O’Bryan. The Louisville […]

Beyond Ground Zero: the Pentagon “mosque”

posted by jmcgee

While much of the news attention these days is focused on the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, another place of worship near the 9/11 attacks has gone largely unnoticed. From ABC News: Sometimes misidentified as the “Pentagon Mosque,” the non-denominational […]

What’s a deacon do?

posted by jmcgee

This website today posted a few answers — though it’s riddled with some pretty basic mistakes. (“Transitory” deacons? “Deaconate”?) Check it out and see what you think.

Of vocations — and vacations

posted by jmcgee

Your Humble Blogger is about to take a little down time — blogging will be light for a couple weeks — but before I go, here’s a nice picker-upper from The Anchoress: It’s that time of year again, when postulants […]

Glen Coffee leaves football for Christ

posted by jmcgee

Friday, many in the sports world were stunned when 49ers running back Glen Coffee announced he was hanging up his cleats and quitting football. Now he’s explaining why, to reporter Matt Barrows: I called Glen Coffee at his Los Gatos […]

Siobhan Fallon Hogan: faith-filled and funny

posted by jmcgee

A reader who saw this item about a Catholic actor with values pointed me to this piece about a woman who made her name on “Saturday Night Live,” and is now making a name for herself as an actress of […]

Zsa Zsa asks for last rites

posted by jmcgee

The woman with the iconic first name appears to be fading fast. From Reuters: Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, a fixture in Hollywood for six decades, asked that a priest read her the last rites on Sunday, following hospitalization two days […]

Bomb scare forces thousands to evacuate Lourdes

posted by jmcgee

Does anyone remember anything quite like this happening before? From the BBC: Thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims were evacuated from the Sanctuary of Lourdes in France after a bomb scare which turned out to be a hoax. The threat came […]

WWJT? What would Jesus tweet?

posted by jmcgee

That’s the provocative question at the heart of this piece in the Detroit Free Press, which looks at how churches and synagogues are using social media as never before: Religious groups are increasingly trying to harness the power of social […]

Artists puts his own stamp on Mother Teresa

posted by jmcgee

If you’re wondering who painted the image of Mother Teresa that will soon adorn millions of postage stamps, CNS has the answer: The commemorative stamp of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta being issued by the U.S. Postal Service bears a […]

Totally cool: priest teaches skateboarding to kids

posted by jmcgee

From Hungary comes this great video of a priest being, well, very priestly. Curious about how to get young people interested in the faith? Take a look at this. Enjoy.

Making assumptions about The Assumption

posted by jmcgee

The clever video below, from the good people at Busted Halo, tells us everything you need to know about the feast we celebrate Sunday. H/T Concord Pastor (with an added wave of the deacon stole out to Mike Hayes in […]

Catholic actor who quit over sex scenes may play a priest

posted by jmcgee

His story made headlines some months back — and if reports are accurate, he may have an interesting project lined up: You may not know the name Neal McDonough — but he’s one of those Hollywood faces you’ll instantly recognize. […]

Quote of the day, II

posted by jmcgee

“We Catholics are welcoming to the outsider, not only because of our own experience of sometimes being scorned in the past, but also because our faith teaches it. As Pope John Paul II remarked during his visit to a mosque […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“We certainly do not want to support groups that promote terrorism, but there are many American citizens who are Muslim, and they have a right to practice their faith. Having a mosque near the site of the attack can be […]

Four people, one dog, 180 square feet

posted by jmcgee

Want to simplify your life? Try this: When it comes to living in such a small space, we don’t have room for more than the necessities. I think we have maybe two items in the entire space that are purely […]

And now…the “week-after” pill?

posted by jmcgee

Incredible. But true: The Food and Drug Administration approved a controversial new form of emergency contraception Friday that can prevent a pregnancy as many as five days after sex. The decision to allow the sale of the pill, which will […]

Homily for August 15, 2010: Vigil of the Assumption

posted by jmcgee

Years ago, a friend gave me a holy card with an unusual depiction of the Blessed Mother. She is visibly pregnant, and reading from a book – praying from scripture. As my friend explained to me: it’s a great image […]

Epic: one man plans to tweet the bible

posted by jmcgee

I hope he has strong thumbs. Details: File this under “people with good intentions, a whole lot of commitment and an Internet connection.” A UK worship director has planned to tweet the Christian Bible — or summaries of each chapter, […]

“The Grand Poobah” of the permanent diaconate

posted by jmcgee

That’s the elegant title now bestowed on the legendary Triple D: Deacon Doctor (Bill) Ditewig, thanks to Deacon Jeff Drzycimski of The Catholic Cafe. Bill dropped by the cafe for a fresh cup of joe, and his interview is now […]

In recession: “You are now entering the mission field”

posted by jmcgee

As this item from Arkansas Catholic notes, those words have broad application for deacons: For many years, evangelical churches have posted signs at their parking lot exits that proclaim, “You are now entering the mission field.” Immaculate Conception Church, located […]

Abortion’s other victims

posted by jmcgee

The Archdiocese of St. Louis is launching a new ministry to reach out to men affected by abortion — and deacons are involved in coordinating it. From the St. Louis Review: Project Joseph will provide free, confidential professional counseling, spiritual […]

A Little gift: a selfless life

posted by jmcgee

A former Afghan refugee remembers the humanitarian aid worker, Tom Little, killed in Afghanistan last week: Life changes in an instant, and the improbable connection a quarter-century ago between an Afghan refugee boy, Aria Sabit, and Tom Little, the Delmar […]

Susan Boyle, Jr.?

posted by jmcgee

This is astonishing, and more than a little bit freaky. But what a voice. Wow.   If you missed it, here’s 10-year-old Jackie Evancho, who popped up this week on “America’s Got Talent” UPDATE: A couple of commenters have now […]

Why aren’t we like the Muslims?

posted by jmcgee

How many Catholics do you know who are as dedicated to religious fasting? Take a look: Pakistani flood survivors already short on food and water began the fasting month of Ramadan on Thursday, a normally festive, social time marked this […]

Abandoned

posted by jmcgee

Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures […]

“I have always enjoyed the company of women…”

posted by jmcgee

Over in London, Damien Thompson has posted a lengthy e-mail from Bishop John Jukes, explaining some of his thoughts about living over eight decades of celibacy. The bishop begins: I have always enjoyed the company of women. Their way of […]

“You raise me up…”

posted by jmcgee

This video says it all. Be forewarned: Kleenex required.

What will be: first look at 9/11 museum

posted by jmcgee

Some members of the media got a preview of the site at Ground Zero, slated to open in two years: Never has a dusty, ear-splitting construction site – the museum is scheduled to open on Sept. 11, 2012 – appeared […]

Miracle deacon: “I’m just an ordinary guy, nobody special”

posted by jmcgee

Before he heads to Birmingham for the beatification of John Henry Newman next month, the deacon miraculously healed by Newman’s intercession is speaking out: Deacon Jack Sullivan got up from his seat next to Bishop David Zubik at the front […]

“Religious cleansing,” as Catholic teachers are fired

posted by jmcgee

It happened in California: Four teachers and seven other workers at a Southern California religious school have been fired because of differences in biblical interpretation and incompatible beliefs. Most of the dismissed workers were Roman Catholics whose beliefs conflicted with […]

St. Clare, TV’s patron

posted by jmcgee

August 11 is the feast of a familiar saint, Clare of Assisi.  I know her well.  We have a beautiful engraving of St. Clare hanging in the small chapel of the NET, where I work, and visitors are often surprised […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“I’m not sure if the marketing world took it from Jesus, but there are some basic principles that apply like: People buy from people they like. When you evangelize, you don’t want to come around with a stick and beat […]

What can you do with old pews?

posted by jmcgee

How about sell ‘em on eBay? One church set out to do that — but then came up with a better idea.  Check this out, below.  You can read more about it here.

Poll: more young Hispanics not Catholic

posted by jmcgee

Some interesting findings — and troubling ones, too — in this report: A name like Maria or Jose isn’t a solid clue anymore that the person who answers to it will worship in a Catholic church on Sundays. An Associated […]

St. Lawrence, guardian of the Church’s treasures

posted by jmcgee

St. Lawrence by Deacon Lawrence Klimecki Today marks the feast of a patron for deacons, St. Lawrence, guardian of the treasures of the Church. St. Ambrose reports that when Deacon Lawrence was ordered by the prefect to turn over the […]

Together behind bars: one couple’s remarkable prison ministry

posted by jmcgee

Meet a couple in their 70’s who are spending their golden years in an unlikely place. From the Hartford, Ct. Catholic Transcript: What started as a penance after confession has blossomed into long-term labor of love for a husband and […]

Colbert on “The Father, Son and Holy G”

posted by jmcgee

Well, it’s been a while since MCPF Stephen Colbert appeared on The Bench, but I’m delighted to bring him back for a special salute to my Boston siblings in Electronic Evangelization, Catholic TV. Take it away, Steve. The Colbert Report […]

From the New York Post…to the priesthood?

posted by jmcgee

Well, here’s something you don’t hear about every day. Your Humble Blogger is sending along prayers and good wishes to another journo taking a leap of faith, and also preparing to join the Catholic clergy: John Wilson, a columnist and […]

Patricia Neal’s one great regret

posted by jmcgee

She found her way back to her Catholic faith after taking quite a few detours.  From Msgr. Jim Lisante, quoted here: I met Patricia Neal over 20 years ago, and we have become good friends ever since. One time when […]

Grilling the deacon

posted by jmcgee

For those who have nothing better to do: I’ve been invited to appear on Gus Lloyd’s radio show, “Seize the Day,” tomorrow morning, around 8. Topic: St. Lawrence. Bring marshmallows and weenies!

On Edith Stein, “Martyr for love”

posted by jmcgee

“St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was able to understand that the love of Christ and human freedom are intertwined, because love and truth have an intrinsic relationship. The quest for truth and its expression in love did not seem […]

Atheist donates over $5 million to Catholic schools

posted by jmcgee

Amazing but true: Retired hedge fund titan Robert W. Wilson lost his faith in God years ago, yet he believes in Catholic schools and gave $5.6 million to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York this summer. It’s the latest […]

“You. Did. This. To. Me.”

posted by jmcgee

Those five words are printed on my copy of a new biography of Mother Teresa, just published by TIME magazine, “Mother Teresa at 100: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint.” The author, Former TIME religion writer David Van […]

On Arizona: “We are witnessing the early stages of ethnic cleansing”

posted by jmcgee

Is it hyperbole? A Unitarian minister, Rev. Peter Morales, describes his arrest for protesting Arizona’s new immigration law, and concludes: I was a journalist before entering seminary to become a Unitarian Universalist minister. I like to think of myself as […]

Finally, a car that runs on something we’ll never run out of

posted by jmcgee

You might almost call the prototype a Dung Beetle: A car that runs on methane gas produced by human waste has been launched and its makers claim drivers cannot tell the difference. The Bio-Bug has been converted by a team […]

A Catholic press first: Boston’s Pilot flies into Kindle

posted by jmcgee

One of the oldest and most respected diocesan newspapers in America just took a big leap into the 21st century, becoming the first to publish an electronic edition for Kindle: Beginning with its Aug. 6 edition, The Pilot will be […]

What the world has been waiting for!

posted by jmcgee

A pancake-flavored milkshake!

Homily for August 8, 2010: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

Last year, Fortune magazine broke the story of a remarkable gathering of some of the wealthiest men and women in the world. It happened here in New York, and it was hosted by David Rockefeller. Mayor Bloomberg was there, and […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“Being part of a religion is certainly an individual choice. It may not be for everyone at every time in their life. I know there are people who deeply worship God and pray to God every day, but for various […]

“Just promise me you’re not going to become a nun”

posted by jmcgee

An Evangelical Protestant attorney couldn’t make that promise to her mother when she announced that she was studying to become a Catholic. And now, she could end up spending her life in a cloister. Her amazing story, from the Catholic […]

Are weddings a threat to marriage?

posted by jmcgee

A writer at the BBC is posing that question, and I can think of several members of the clergy who might agree: Are today’s weddings a danger to the couples getting all the attention on The Big Day? [Rev.] Giles […]

Anne Rice: “I have to, in the name of Christ, step away from this…”

posted by jmcgee

A few days after her bombshell announcement that she’s “quitting Christianity,” author Anne Rice has given a lengthy interview to the Los Angeles Times to explain herself: Q) You were raised Catholic, became an atheist, then returned to Catholicism in […]

Lord, hear our prayer: Benedictine sisters cope with tragedy

posted by jmcgee

Sister Denise Mosier, OSB August 26, 1943 – August 1, 2010 The tragic story of the Benedictine nun killed in a Virginia car crash has grabbed a lot of headlines — but so should this story, about how her community […]

Tom Monaghan pledges to give away half his fortune

posted by jmcgee

He’s joined a growing list of zillionaires who have decided that, since you can’t take it with you, you might as well give it all away. From AnnArbor.com: Tom Monaghan, the founder of Ann Arbor-based Domino’s Pizza who now focuses […]

Altar servers visit Rome — and most of them are girls

posted by jmcgee

John Allen has the scoop: According to an old Italian saying, only cani e americani move in Rome in August – dogs and Americans. The sweltering heat, however, did not deter an estimated 50,000 altar boys and girls, mostly but […]

Looking for a miracle? Don’t use your GPS

posted by jmcgee

Modern technology can work wonders — but it can also lead you astray. From the Telegraph: A small, but rising portion of the six million pilgrims who flock to the world’s third most visited Catholic shrine in Lourdes are showing […]

Should Catholic funerals have eulogies?

posted by jmcgee

A priest who has a unique perspective on the question offers his own answer over at U.S. Catholic: I was spending a leisurely minute planning my funeral the other day-not a savory task, but a prudent one since I have […]

Arrested for praying: case dismissed

posted by jmcgee

Earlier in the week, I posted on the man arrested for praying outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. (There’s also a video of the act that some thought criminal.) Well, the charges have now been dropped: This afternoon, in a wake […]

Papal souvenirs go on sale in UK

posted by jmcgee

Looking for a little swag in advance of the pope’s trip to the United Kingdom? The store is open: Official memorabilia to mark Pope Benedict’s September visit to Britain went on sale this week with a Swarovski bracelet and baseball […]

Jewish donors supporting Catholic schools

posted by jmcgee

Surprised? The Boston Globe has the story: Richard J. Henken, a Boston real estate company executive, grew up in a conservative Jewish family on the south side of Newton. He attends services on the Jewish High Holy Days and considers […]

Faith? There’s an app for that

posted by jmcgee

And what started as a fad is becoming a trend, according to Reuters: Father Tom Eichenberger began a recent sermon by playing an iPhone ring tone of church bells into the microphone and talking about how praying is like using […]

A first for Yale: a Divinity School scholarship for Catholics

posted by jmcgee

And it’s named in honor of a prominent Catholic writer and teacher, and a favorite of The Bench: A scholarship in honor of the late Henri Nouwen, who taught at Yale Divinity School for a decade beginning in 1971, has […]

Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens …

posted by jmcgee

Julie over at Happy Catholic has tagged me, and asked me to name a few of my favorite things — or, at least, my favorite devotions. Okay, in no particular order: The Miraculous Medal Novena Chaplet of Divine Mercy Benediction […]

“Get Low”: Robert Duvall in a movie with a message

posted by jmcgee

The Academy Award-winning star popped up on “Currents” last week to talk about his new movie, and its undercurrent of faith.

Our Lady of Glendale?

posted by jmcgee

Another curious case of a reported weeping statue of Mary, this time in suburban Los Angeles: The miracle stands atop the fireplace, flanked by artisan crucifixes and flower bouquets left by worshipers from across the U.S. For the past two […]

Flashmob goes upscale: Flash Opera?!

posted by jmcgee

This is just plain swell.

The Priests set to sing for The Pope

posted by jmcgee

The Year for Priests may be over, but the melody lingers on: The Priests, a trio of clerics from Northern Ireland, are to headline a key event during Pope Benedict XVI’s state visit to the UK, performing in front of […]

The bishops and immigration: Kicanas speaks out

posted by jmcgee

The Bishop of Tucson, Gerald Kicanas, presides over a diocese that runs along the border with Mexico . He’s been vocal about immigration reform, and he gave an interview to “Currents” last week, just before the controversial new Arizona law […]

Who will we sing along with now?

posted by jmcgee

Word today that Mitch Miller has gone to the the big recording studio in the sky. He was 99. Enjoy this blast from the past. Remember when THIS was television?

A rosary for the unemployed

posted by jmcgee

Leave it to The Anchoress to craft this beautiful and heartfelt meditation. Don’t you know someone who could benefit from this prayer? A snip: First Mystery: Jesus in Gethsemane Prayer: Lord, I feel stranded and abandoned. Although I am surrounded […]

Man faces charges for praying outside abortion clinic

posted by jmcgee

A legal skirmish is brewing in Chicago, over the issue of public prayer outside a Planned Parenthood facility.  From FOX: A Chicago man says he’s fighting charges of disorderly conduct for simply standing on a public sidewalk and praying. Joseph […]

A vocations boom?

posted by jmcgee

It may be too soon to tell, but there are some encouraging signs around the country, beginning in California: From a young age, Juan Alejo has aspired to live a priest’s life. “Since I was a kid, I heard this […]

Clergy need a vacation, too

posted by jmcgee

Can I hear an “Amen!”? The New York Times looks at some worrisome trends involving people who do the work of the Lord — and need a break: The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over the last few years, […]

“Mass on the Grass”: a followup — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

Some readers may remember the “Mass on the Grass” from last month — a liturgy celebrated before a baseball game on a field in Illinois. Catholic News Agency has a followup: Thanks to discussions between a priest and a minor […]

Here comes Don Bosco

posted by jmcgee

Salesians everywhere are excited to learn that the saint’s relics will be coming to the United States next month: More than 16 months after it began a world tour touching over 100 nations, a casket containing relics of St. John […]

Church-run dining room feeds deportees at the border

posted by jmcgee

See how these Christians love one another, in this impressive story by Patricia Zapor of CNS. From The Tidings: Victor Hernandez Martinez, a blacksmith with his own business near Seattle, was on his third day at the “Centro para Atención […]

Chelsea Clinton and mixed marriage

posted by jmcgee

Seems the most celebrated wedding of the summer has thrown a spotlight on an issue that is becoming more common — and, sometimes, more problematic and complicated. From USA TODAY: Chelsea Clinton, a Methodist, and Marc Mezvinsky, a conservative Jew, […]

Who makes all those vestments?

posted by jmcgee

A California paper visits one of the leading manufacturers of church vestments to find out: It sounds like a New Yorker cartoon the way Mannix Delfino describes a recent Saturday afternoon in her Carson shop. “It was so cute, the […]

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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