Advertisement

The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

November 2010 Archives

Does anonymity breed contempt?

posted by jmcgee

Well, according to this item, yes. (Is anyone surprised?) From the New York Times: There you are, peacefully reading an article or watching a video on the Internet. You finish, find it thought-provoking, and scroll down to the comments section […]

Advertisement

A prayer to St. Andrew

posted by jmcgee

O glorious St. Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend, St. John, you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led […]

Advertisement

The Advent Conspiracy, 2010

posted by jmcgee

From the folks behind the Advent Conspiracy, another powerful and provocative challenge to the world.

Advertisement

Bishop: Christmas can wait

posted by jmcgee

I preached on this topic last Sunday, and it seems I wasn’t the only one having this idea.  From the Salt Lake Tribune: Utah’s Catholic bishop is putting the brakes on Christmas. In his first pastoral letter to Utah’s 300,000 […]

From behind the counter, to behind the altar

posted by jmcgee

From Rhode Island comes this compelling vocation story of a guy who worked in a drug store, but who decided he was called to dispense another kind of medicine: Among the prayers that the Rev. Marcel Taillon offers during his […]

Epic: remembering Vietnam’s martyrs in California

posted by jmcgee

In what has become an annual near-Thanksgiving event, thousands convened in a southern California stadium to pray for, celebrate, and remember the martyrs who were canonized by Pope John Paul. Details: The ceremony at Cal State Long Beach’s Pyramid mixed […]

Lest we forget: happy new year!

posted by jmcgee

From the poetic pen of the Concord Pastor comes this beautiful prayer for this first Monday of Advent. I can’t think of a better way to begin a new year, and a new week:  With Advent begins a new year […]

Advent and the sound of silence

posted by jmcgee

Well, how is YOUR Advent going so far? I woke up Thanksgiving morning with a sore throat, which quickly turned into a cough, and I’ve been sniffling and wheezing ever since. (And for this, I got a flu shot?) I’m […]

Leslie Nielsen, RIP

posted by jmcgee

Another icon leaves us. But thank God for YouTube. Who can ever forget this?

Anglican bishop’s last act: laying his mitre and crozier at the feet of Mary

posted by jmcgee

The Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet in England gave his last sermon as an Anglican yesterday, and, as one report described it,”laid aside his crozier and mitre at the feet of Our Lady.” The final words from his […]

Most realistic CGI ever?

posted by jmcgee

Maybe.  Get a load of this striking ad for Silestone kitchen countertops, and read all about it.

“When wilt thou save the people?”

posted by jmcgee

A classic Advent scene, from out of a time capsule: the opening moments of the movie “Godspell,” from 1973, featuring a very young Victor Garber, long before he was on the Titanic.

Praying for Philip — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

That would be Philip Johnson, a seminarian from Raleigh, North Carolina, whose battle with brain cancer has sparked headlines: The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge is requesting prayers for one of our seminarians, Philip Johnson. Philip just completed his first […]

Heeeeere’s Jesus!

posted by jmcgee

The video below has been circulating for a while — YouTube says it was first posted three years ago — but I hadn’t seen it until now. It’s comedian Steve Harvey’s “Introduction to Jesus,” (a man, as he notes, who […]

A parish grows in Brooklyn

posted by jmcgee

From the In My Backyard Desk…an inspiring story of evangelization: What I found while teaching a Called & Gifted workshop in Brooklyn last week is absolutely unique. I’ve worked in hundreds of Catholic parishes in 100 dioceses on 5 continents […]

Homily for November 28, 2010: 1st Sunday of Advent

posted by jmcgee

Anyone looking for interesting holiday recipes may have stumbled on a new word that has entered the American lexicon: “Cherpumple.” It’s a desert, created last year by Los Angeles writer Charles Phoenix – a diet-destroying, gut-busting feat of cooking that […]

Blair v. Hitchens: who won?

posted by jmcgee

The answer to that may depend on whom you ask — though an informal poll afterward evidently found Hitchens to be more persuasive.  The BBC was there and offers some highlights: It felt like the event of the season. Organisers […]

The rite stuff: “Why am I driving 20 minutes to go to a fake wedding?”

posted by jmcgee

Seminarians spend part of their formation practicing just how to do the sacraments — everything from consecrating the eucharist to reconciliation. Recently, Long Island Catholic dropped in on one unusual rehearsal that actually involved a large number of parishioners: It […]

Starting a new year, moving the ribbons

posted by jmcgee

It’s something most of us aren’t even aware of, but it is done in countless churches around the world this time of year — and the Concord Pastor reflects on its meaning: This weekend I will observe a little ritual […]

Pope to journos: “Proclaim the Good News”

posted by jmcgee

Details: On Friday Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholic journalists to “courageously serve the truth, presenting the reasons for faith beyond ideological visions”. He was speaking to a group of editors and reporters from the Italian Federation Catholic Weeklies. In his […]

Thanksgiving dinner…in a cake?

posted by jmcgee

Those who thought the “cherpumple” was horrifying should get a load of this: Details, along with the recipe, can be found at Chow.com: Whether this Thanksgiving centerpiece incites horror, amazement, or confusion when it’s served, it’s certain to evoke some […]

Blair v. Hitchens: is religion a force for good?

posted by jmcgee

The Catholic and the atheist are about to square off in Canada in a debate that will address that very question: In advance of the debate, the two men sat down with The Globe and Mail to discuss their views. […]

‘Tis a gift

posted by jmcgee

“To be grateful is ultimately a gift to be be received from God. We ought to humbly ask for it. …Ultimately gratitude comes from a humble, contrite and transformed heart. Saying thank you is not a moralism. True gratitude is […]

Just desserts

posted by jmcgee

Ladies and gentlemen, behold, the “cherpumple”: three layers of pie baked together (cherry, pumpkin, apple).  Wash it all down with a tall, frothy glass of Pepto.  Details. 

“Make this very day a kind of prayer”

posted by jmcgee

Sometimes thankfulness can be hard to express. Most of us know someone who is having a difficult time this Thanksgiving. The woman who is spending her first holiday as a widow. The father who lost his job and is worried […]

Husband admits: abortion site a hoax

posted by jmcgee

Details: The husband behind the BirthOrNot web site that caused an international controversy over a vote on an abortion has now admitted the web site was a hoax. Pete and Alisha Arnold put up the web site under the claim […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by jmcgee

The Archbishop and his deacons. Read more about Dolan here. And there’s this stellar quote, from Deacon Bill Ditewig: I often tell the true story of a bishop who, while literally standing in the middle of his deacons, said, “When […]

The patron saint of Thanksgiving? Moses

posted by jmcgee

An interesting observation from author Bruce Feiler, to ponder as you’re preparing for tomorrow’s big feast: The real story of Thanksgiving has deep biblical roots. A few years ago, I set out on a 10,000-mile journey through the hidden symbols […]

“The pope smiled”

posted by jmcgee

“In the book’s German and English editions, the text cited the example of a male prostitute, implying homosexual sex, in which a condom would not be a form of contraception. The church opposes contraception on the grounds that every sexual […]

How to Handel a crowded food court

posted by jmcgee

Flash mob strikes again! This time, in a shopping mall food court. Hallelujah! H/T Fr. Steve

“When God calls you, you go!”

posted by jmcgee

Those are the words of a 16-year-old aspirant arriving for her first day at the convent in Michigan. This young gal was among several — including our own Mary Anne Marks! – featured on today’s episode of Oprah in a […]

Deacons today: “Please don’t call me Father…”

posted by jmcgee

U.S. Catholic has a nice, long look at the diaconate in its December issue — and a few familiar names pop up: Beverly Hills, California deacon and author Eric Stoltz often finds himself uttering the phrase, “Please don’t call me […]

TV brings back the heroic priest

posted by jmcgee

It’s happening on the sci-fi series “V” — and the character in question is portrayed by an actor who admits Catholic priests played a big role in his own life: The sci-fi series “V” — which returns in early January […]

Is the Tea Party Catholic?

posted by jmcgee

Some people are asking that question — and Catholic News Agency has some answers: CNA spoke about the movement with Dr. Steven Schneck, Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America, and […]

Vatican spokesman: condom issue relates to heterosexuals, too — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

The clarification has been clarified even further: The Pope’s landmark acknowledgement that the use of condoms is sometimes morally justifiable to stop Aids is valid not only for gay male prostitutes, but also for heterosexuals, according to the Vatican. The […]

Just in time for the holidays…

posted by jmcgee

…and the busy travel season, comes this elegantly crafted ode to one of the ugliest places on earth, New York’s Pennsylvania Station: Don’t stop to contemplate, if you’re there — you’ll be trampled. This holiday season, the quicker you shove […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“Love is at the heart of the Good News. Love is the gospel we proclaim, but must live that love, not merely pronounce it correctly. And we are to love as Jesus loved — without limit, without exception, being willing […]

Dolan on the pope, prophylactics and preaching

posted by jmcgee

The American Church’s most prominent prelate has given his first extended news media interview since his election as President of the U.S. bishops: In an expansive interview in the front parlor of his residence on Madison Avenue — the only […]

Petition asks to have Iraqi martyrs canonized

posted by jmcgee

Details: “We ask that the martyrs of Iraq be canonized, because the example of their lives and their sacrifice is an inspiration to us all as Christians, Arabs and non alike, living in the Middle East.” These are words taken […]

On condoms: “Evolution, not revolution”

posted by jmcgee

That’s one reaction to the weekend’s headline-grabbing news. From the Christian Science Monitor: Vatican officials are insisting that Pope Benedict’s new remarks on condoms are not a change in church teaching on contraception. But initial reaction in Europe and among […]

World’s largest Jesus statue dedicated in Poland

posted by jmcgee

Amazing. This isn’t something you can fit on your dashboard.  Details here. Video, below.

Pelosi on prayer

posted by jmcgee

“Do you think frequently of your father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., the former mayor of Baltimore? My father died the year I was elected to Congress, 1987. I think about my parents all the time, especially on Sunday when I’m at […]

Pope: “I am not opposed in principle to Communion in the hand…”

posted by jmcgee

Another nugget from the new book of interviews with Benedict: Pope Benedict has said in a new book that he is not opposed to the practice of receiving Communion in the hand. However he goes on to explain that he […]

As expected, here’s the “clarification” …

posted by jmcgee

… from Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, about the whole condom thingy: Pope Benedict states that AIDs cannot be solved only by the distribution of condoms, and, in fact, concentrating on condoms just trivializes sexuality, which loses its meaning as […]

On condoms, a lesson from Humanae Vitae

posted by jmcgee

“The Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from–provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.” […]

Iowa Trappists giving up the farm

posted by jmcgee

Some sad news from the monks at New Melleray: The Trappist monks of New Melleray Abbey have always worked the land to provide for themselves. All that will end today, as their cherished farming equipment is hauled away by new […]

Happy Sunday!

posted by jmcgee

Behind the condom controversy

posted by jmcgee

Over at America magazine’s blog, Austin Iverleigh has some intriguing background and analysis about the pope/condom story: The point argued by moral theologians was always this. The Church is opposed to artificial contraception, not condoms per se. Just as, in […]

Team spirit: a college rallies around its greatest fan

posted by jmcgee

Get a load of this wonderful story from ESPN, about Middlebury College’s biggest fan, and the team players who love him.  (Tip: keep a tissue handy for this one!)  H/T Concord Pastor.

In other pope news…

posted by jmcgee

Seems AP buried the lead.  Here’s the really interesting stuff.  From AP’s report on the new book about the pope, you’ll find this in the last two paragraphs: In the book, Benedict also offers insights into his private life, saying […]

Report: pope says condoms acceptable “in certain cases” — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

Don’t be surprised if the Vatican begins “clarifying” these remarks soon. But here’s what’s being reported at this hour: Pope Benedict XVI says that condom use is acceptable “in certain cases”, notably “to reduce the risk of infection” with HIV, […]

The surprising link between the new cardinals and deacons

posted by jmcgee

How cool is this? From the ever-observant Deacon Bill: I was doing a little surfing about the events and came across the liturgical aid used at this morning’s ceremony… …To my great surprise, of all the artwork available to the […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“You choose happiness, and you can choose happiness almost wherever you go.” – Fr. Bill Pruett, of Oklahoma City, OK, speaking of his new assignment. Read more here.

Archbishop Wenski appears in restored cathedral’s new window

posted by jmcgee

A new window in Orlando’s renovated cathedral is raising eyebrows: When the renovated St. James Catholic Cathedral is dedicated here Saturday, the new stained-glass windows will feature a few familiar faces: Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary — and Archbishop Thomas […]

Christ behind bars: inside prison ministry

posted by jmcgee

Ever wonder what it’s like to work in prison ministry? Here are some answers, from a few of those involved — and a growing number are deacons: Father Ernie Gauthier has kept going back to the jails, prisons and halfway […]

Brooklyn’s first Permanent Deacon dies

posted by jmcgee

The following e-mail landed in my in-box late this afternoon: Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio regrets to inform you of the death of Deacon Charles A. Postler. Deacon Postler died on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at Calvary Hospital. He was the first […]

Food porn: read, then go to confession

posted by jmcgee

“‘You’ve never had hotcakes like these!’” says Bob Evans’ menu. “We take two stuffed hotcakes, stack them with vanilla cream cheese, add more delicious toppings, then finish with whipped topping and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.’” — Nearly 1400 calories […]

I bet it was Standing Room Only

posted by jmcgee

H/T Jesus Creed

Conan’s priest arrested again — and he’s speaking out

posted by jmcgee

This fellow needs a retreat. Or something. Details: A suspended Roman Catholic priest once accused of stalking late night TV personality Conan O’Brien has now been charged with harassing a Boston TV journalist. Cohasset police say the Rev. David Ajemian […]

An abortion stunt?

posted by jmcgee

By now you may have heard about this couple inviting people to vote online whether or not they should have an abortion. Blogger Jill Stanek smells something fishy: A pregnant married couple is taking votes whether to abort their baby […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by jmcgee

Kentucky National Guard Chaplain (Col.) Patrick J. Dolan celebrates mass. Read more about him and his work.

Jonestown memorial planned

posted by jmcgee

It was one of the most horrific stories of the 20th century — a century that didn’t lack for horrors — and now plans are underway to erect a permanent memorial to the victims of the mass suicide at Jonestown: […]

Can marriage be saved?

posted by jmcgee

The institution we know and love — and love to know — appears to be losing ground, according to a new poll: Is marriage becoming obsolete? As families gather for Thanksgiving this year, nearly one in three American children is […]

A reminder about comments

posted by jmcgee

If you’re new to these parts and haven’t seen them, please take a moment to read the guidelines for comments. I don’t mind disagreement, or debate.  But please do it with respect and charity. Stay on topic, and be brief. […]

They’re back: Dominican Sisters appearing on Oprah again

posted by jmcgee

It’ll happen next week, according to this email posted at Aggie Catholics: The Dominican Sisters of Mary will be featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday, November 23rd. This is a new show that includes interviews with Mother Assumpta, […]

Pope calls for health care for all

posted by jmcgee

This may raise a few eyebrows. Details: Pope Benedict XVI and other church leaders said it was the moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens, regardless of social and economic status or […]

On provocative preaching

posted by jmcgee

“Preaching is about saving before it is about consoling, and God makes this clear to Ezekiel and to every preacher. I think a lot of people think that preaching is supposed to merely please and encourage them. There is a […]

Let’s play Pope-opoly!

posted by jmcgee

A board game based on a pope? Yep: Poles have a new way to remember the late Pope John Paul II: a board game that celebrates the Polish-born pontiff’s extensive travels. Marek Oczkowski, head of the Polish Board Games publisher, […]

How holy is your hometown? Check out America’s most religious cities

posted by jmcgee

Men’s Health magazine has compiled a list of America’s holiest cities — and it has a few surprises: Our list of America’s Most Religious Cities shows there’s a lot of praying going on in the Bible Belt. No shocker there. […]

Surprise: vocations climbing in Britain

posted by jmcgee

What’s behind it? Take a look: A total of 56 men began training for the priesthood in September this year, the National Office of Vocation said. That was up on the 49 who started the process to become priests in […]

More on Dolan

posted by jmcgee

John Allen offers his two cents: In Dolan, the bishops have turned to their most gifted natural communicator, a leader with a demonstrated capacity to project a positive image for Catholicism in the public square. Rather than electing a behind-the-scenes […]

Talking to your kids about…

posted by jmcgee

…”Star Wars.”  This video is something every parent needs to see!

Another brilliant T-mobile ad

posted by jmcgee

From the people who brought you that delightful dance in a Liverpool train station comes this exuberant and joyful medley at Heathrow airport. (If you’re keeping track, the most famous of these “flash mob” encounters is undoubtedly the “Do Re […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“You might interpret this as the bishops are tired of short and skinny presidents.” – The new president of the USCCB, New York’s Timothy Dolan, analyzing his upset election as only he can.

Bristol Palin and “The Situation” tape abstinence PSA

posted by jmcgee

This is certainly, um, different — though, with the unfurling ribbon of condoms smack in the middle, it’s hardly advocating abstinence.  I’d call the message, at best, mixed.  And unpersuasive.     Details: The video is part of the Candie’s […]

A deacon sticks his neck out …

posted by jmcgee

… on the topic of wearing the collar, after this post veered off the rails and became a debating exercise for deacons.  Snip: Should deacons wear clericals? In my opinion, this is a decision best left to the deacon in […]

BREAKING: Dolan elected head of USCCB — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

A surprise, and an upset: For the first time in the history of the US bishops, a vice-president standing for the presidency has been denied the top post, losing a stunning election to the archbishop of New York. By a […]

Church closings hit Brooklyn

posted by jmcgee

The City of Churches will soon have fewer of them.  From the In My Backyard Desk, another sign of the times: Facing a drop in attendance and a shortage of priests, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn plans to close […]

US bishops: go forth and blog

posted by jmcgee

That’s just one of the messages to emerge from the fall gathering of the USCCB in Baltimore: Roman Catholic bishops in the United States should go forth and blog, tweet and preach on the “new digital continent” of social media, […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by jmcgee

Details here.

Collared: a seminarian reflects

posted by jmcgee

There’s been much debate around these parts about deacons wearing collars (and even about priests wearing them). Now a seminarian from Long Island has added his voice: In the past decades seminarians were discouraged away from the collar in order […]

Georgia woman seeks to become deacon

posted by jmcgee

This has echoes of the story I posted recently from Chicago. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution: Diane Dougherty lives in a neat, white house that she shares with her cats, Pete and Gypsy Rose. She teaches second grade in Fayetteville. […]

A Catholic mother and “the current church”

posted by jmcgee

Andrew Sullivan has posted this letter from a Catholic mother: My husband and I are raising our sons in the Catholic Church. We are active in my church, I teach religious education, we perform corporeal works of mercy with our […]

On Wuerl: “He is where the majority of the bishops would be…”

posted by jmcgee

From Pittsburgh comes this very comprehensive look at a man who will soon be called Cardinal: When Cardinal-designate Donald Wuerl receives a red hat Saturday, he will also receive the opportunity to advise the highest levels of the Catholic Church. […]

“We get to carry each other, carry each other…”

posted by jmcgee

The always-resourceful Frank Weathers over at Why I Am Catholic just posted a couple great videos, dedicated to the martyrs in Iraq. Here’s Bono and U2: One love, one blood, one life, you got to do what you should.One life […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” – Dorothy Day. Read more wonderful insights from her, and about her.

Here come more Anglicans

posted by jmcgee

After news that some bishops are lining up to swim the Tiber, now it seems some priests are putting on their water wings, too: The Catholic Church will announce this week that 50 Anglican clergy are defecting to Rome following […]

What is the priesthood?

posted by jmcgee

“Priesthood is not, first and foremost, something we do, but someone we are. It is not an earned trophy. It is about an intimate relationship to the vine who is Christ. The Character of Christ the High Priest is branded […]

Your tax dollars at work

posted by jmcgee

Read this and weep.

Wisconsin remembers a champion named Campion

posted by jmcgee

A legendary priest from Madison, Wisconsin has died — and he’s left behind a remarkable legacy: For 43 years, Msgr. Thomas Campion was the face of the Catholic Church for thousands of shut-ins. His televised Mass, broadcast Sundays at 7 […]

Homily for November 14, 2010: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

Exactly two weeks ago, late on a Sunday afternoon, a young woman named Raghada al-Wafi ran to her local church, with some wonderful news to share with the priest who had married her: she was going to have a baby. […]

On exorcism: “We deal with angels and demons”

posted by jmcgee

Exorcism is getting renewed attention by the Church — and even the New York Times is taking notice: The rite of exorcism, rendered gory by Hollywood and ridiculed by many modern believers, has largely fallen out of favor in the […]

“They have been found worthy…”

posted by jmcgee

A newly ordained deacon at the North American College in Rome is sharing his reflections on his vocation, and the experience of receiving Holy Orders. He begins by mentioning his pre-ordination retreat.  Snip: I brought a copy of the ordination […]

Lesbian fired after posting wedding announcement

posted by jmcgee

Details: A gay educator lost her job at a Downstate Catholic university after she posted a wedding announcement for herself and her lesbian partner in the local paper. Laine Tadlock, 60, says bosses at Benedictine University in Springfield knew she […]

“The history of salvation is not mythology, but history”

posted by jmcgee

The prolific pontiff has unexpectedly issued a lengthy, major document on scripture, which biblical scholars will certainly be poring over: Pope Benedict XVI has issued a lofty and impassioned plea for everyone in the Church to rediscover the Bible and […]

Is Mark Rubio Catholic? Another answer…

posted by jmcgee

A little more news, following last week’s post. The e-mail below, sent to Florida writer Eric Giunta, comes from the senator-elect’s campaign.  Giunta wrote to the campaign, looking for an explanation.  Below is part of what they wrote back. (But […]

Priceless: a classic Fuji commercial

posted by jmcgee

This popped up on someone’s Facebook page today, and it’s irresistible.  A blast from the past that shows what happens when a Japanese baby is born. 

Want to feel GOOD about young Catholics?

posted by jmcgee

Get a load of this exuberant interview, from the website One Billion Stories. These kids are full of life, and full of faith. Bless ‘em. St. Mary’s – College Station, TX from OneBillionStories.com on Vimeo.

For the veterans on their day

posted by jmcgee

A great ad, with a beautiful and simple message.

Atheists prepare to spread holiday cheer

posted by jmcgee

Just in time for the holidays, atheists and humanists are out to spread their message of non-belief: Four separate and competing national organizations representing various streams of atheists, humanists and freethinkers will soon be spreading their gospel through advertisements on […]

A prayer for Veterans Day

posted by jmcgee

God of peace, we pray for those who have served our nation and have laid down their lives to protect and defend our freedom. We pray for those who have fought, whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war, whose […]

San Bernardino ordains three new deacons

posted by jmcgee

And the ordinations keep on comin’. These happened last weekend: Thomas Dewhirst recommitted himself to his Catholic faith in 1998, after years outside the church. About a year later, he felt God was calling him to become a deacon. He […]

Losing its Sheen: Peoria halts push for St. Fulton

posted by jmcgee

“Shocker” is how Rocco tweeted it, and that about sums it up: Nearly a year after Fulton Sheen was celebrated anew across the globe on the 30th anniversary of his death, the iconic prelate’s boyhood diocese has suddenly pulled out […]

It happened 35 years ago today: the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

posted by jmcgee

Who can forget the haunting ballad by Gordon Lightfoot?  The Edmund Fitzgerald went down on November 10, 1975.   Years later, the tragedy formed part of the first homily I ever delivered in homiletics class (and which I preached again […]

Back to you: a different view of the mass

posted by jmcgee

That would be the back of the priest, actually. Fr. Richard Simon writes of his experience recently saying mass “ad orientem,” facing away from the congregation for a small portion of of the liturgy. The reaction from the people in […]

Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for “blasphemy”

posted by jmcgee

Details, from the British paper the Telegraph: A Christian woman has been sentenced to hang in Pakistan after being convicted of defaming the Prophet Mohammed. Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother-of-five, denies blasphemy and told investigators that she was being persecuted […]

God in the details: why we love Conan

posted by jmcgee

This ad for American Express is clever, artful, lavish — and hilarious. I can’t believe he did this. 

Parishioners raise bail for accused priest

posted by jmcgee

How is this for a testament of faith? From UPI: A California priest accused of sex crimes against a 12-year-old boy has been freed on bail with money raised by parishioners who say they believe he’s innocent. The Rev. Alejandro […]

“Christianity survived in the Middle East because of married priests”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the eyebrow-raising comment made by a Melkite Archbishop, interviewed recently by Catholic News Service: Heading a southern Lebanese diocese that goes from the sea then east two-thirds of the way along the border with Israel, the one problem Melkite […]

George W. Bush: why I’m pro-life

posted by jmcgee

The former president is back in the public eye again, with a new book and a headline-making interview with Matt Lauer that includes, among other things, some personal insight into his political beliefs: The most startling anecdote he shared was […]

When a parish closes: “In the end, it is about the numbers of the faithful”

posted by jmcgee

Leave it to Msgr. Charles Pope, in the Archdiocese of Washington, to frame the ongoing story of parish closings in a way we rarely consider it: One of my own frustrations with the closing of large numbers of parishes is […]

The black genocide

posted by jmcgee

November is National Black Catholic History Month and, as part of our coverage, “Currents” attended a conference on Long Island focusing on the issue of blacks and abortion. A phenomenal number of black pregnancies end in abortion — as many […]

Pope to cardinals: let’s talk

posted by jmcgee

And they will have lots to talk about when they gather in Rome later this month: On the eve of the consistory to create 24 new cardinals, the princes of the Church will examine the entry of Anglicans into full […]

Portland’s fab four

posted by jmcgee

Portland welcomed a quartet of new deacons last weekend — and they come from a variety of backgrounds: New permanent deacons ordained Saturday at St. Mary Cathedral in Portland are a young father of two, a man who escaped Vietnam’s […]

So, how do you become an exorcist, anyway?

posted by jmcgee

Meet a man who knows — and whose story is about to become a major motion picture, starring Anthony Hopkins: Rare is the priest in the United States who holds the title of diocesan exorcist. Rarer still is the priest […]

Help wanted: no pay, great benefits

posted by jmcgee

That’s the gist of an ad the Capuchins have placed in Switzerland: Wanted: Bankers, traders or lawyers for full-time, lifelong position. No pay. An order of Roman Catholic monks in Switzerland has started an unconventional recruitment drive by advertising in […]

Iraq archbishop: “Christian people…should escape the ethnic cleansing”

posted by jmcgee

A Syriac Orthodox archbishop is urging Christians in Iraq to get out now — while they still can. From CNN: Archbishop Athanasios Dawood slammed the Iraqi government for not doing enough to protect the rights of minorities and urged Christians […]

Susan Boyle’s first music video: “Perfect Day”

posted by jmcgee

The other day, I posted on the new Christmas album by Susan Boyle. Now comes the release of what’s billed as her first video, an ethereal choral interpretation of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”. (For comparison, check out the original. Very […]

Las Vegas bets on deacons

posted by jmcgee

The diocese is preparing to ordain its first class of permanent deacons. Take a look: Come next spring, at least a few Southern Nevada Catholics may be a bit confused about some of the new faces they’ll be seeing around […]

The Episcopal Church’s first gay bishop announces retirement

posted by jmcgee

And it’s much earlier than expected. Details: Bishop V. Gene Robinson, whose consecration as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church set off a historic rift in the global Anglican Communion, announced to his New Hampshire diocese on […]

Duck!

posted by jmcgee

Amazing video below (h/t Rocco) of the famous giant thurible at Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Top speed: a reported 42 mph. You gotta see this to believe it.

The deacon ordained in Dachau

posted by jmcgee

Leave it to Deacon Bill Ditewig to unearth this incredible tale of Dachau’s deacon and his secret ordination to the priesthood. He’s also found this rare and remarkable video (in Italian, but with subtitles). Watch it and be in awe.

What a parish website can be

posted by jmcgee

There are a lot of awful ones out there, but I have to say that the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills may have one of the most appealing, attractive, informative and user-friendly sites anywhere. (Is it mere […]

King of kings: world’s tallest statue of Jesus

posted by jmcgee

Incredible, but true: That is one giant Jesus. Workers in a small town in Poland have completed what they say is the world’s biggest statue of Jesus Christ. At 167 feet tall, the one in Swiebodzin soars even higher than […]

Susan Boyle’s “The Gift”

posted by jmcgee

A recently released promotional video for her upcoming Christmas album, due out next week.

Fore! Golfer headed to the priesthood

posted by jmcgee

Check out this great vocation story, from Alaska: It’s easy to imagine a six-foot, tanned, 32-year-old Peter Hannah on the golf greens of Monterey, California, in textbook form, languidly driving balls 300 yards. But instead of an Izod shirt and […]

Homily for November 7, 2010: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

If you remember only one thing from this homily, I’m going to ask that you remember the name Willie Downs. Willie Downs is a young man in his early 20s from Whitehouse, Texas who absolutely loves animation. His greatest dream […]

“Christian roommate” case thrown out

posted by jmcgee

You probably remember this story from last month, about a woman seeking a Christian roommate. Now, an update: An American woman who placed an advert in her church for a Christian roommate has had a complaint against her dismissed. The […]

Home run: nuns score big by auctioning rare baseball card

posted by jmcgee

Further proof that God is a baseball fan: School Sister of Notre Dame Virginia Muller grew up rooting for the Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y. Ministering in Baltimore, she has more recently adopted the Orioles as her hometown […]

Where did God go on the battlefield?

posted by jmcgee

A soldier in Afghanistan offers some glimpses of military life today — and, to his dismay, there seems to be a distressing lack of faith: “There are no atheists in foxholes,” the cliché goes. It’s hard to imagine a soldier […]

Wisconsin standoff: donations plunge over new priest appointments

posted by jmcgee

Some interesting developments in Wisconsin are leading to a conflict between parishioners and their bishop — and it’s having a financial impact: St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Platteville, stung by a plunge in donations following the arrival of three controversial […]

How does your diocese stack up?

posted by jmcgee

Deacon Bill Ditewig poses some challenging ideas today about how to “do the diaconate right.” He picks five hallmarks of good formation: 1) Select only those applicants who have the gifts and abilities to be servant-leaders across the whole range […]

Is Marco Rubio Catholic?

posted by jmcgee

Not anymore, but there’s some confusion about it. From Damien Thompson: I came across this curious article from Politics Daily which (without apparently realising that it is doing so) reveals that he has abandoned the faith of his Cuban parents: […]

Forbes names Pope the world’s 5th most powerful person

posted by jmcgee

Only 5th? Details: Pope Benedict XVI won the No. 5 spot in a list of the world’s most powerful people, one of only two religious leaders in Forbes magazine’s list of 68 influential men and women. Benedict was sandwiched between […]

Sparky Anderson, “a great human being and a man of faith”

posted by jmcgee

The baseball world is mourning the passing of legendary manager Sparky Anderson, who died today at age 76. But as much as his heart belonged to baseball, it also belonged to his Catholic faith, which he embraced as an adult: […]

Justin Bieber: “I believe Jesus died on a cross for my sins”

posted by jmcgee

“Hollywood is … a scary place. There’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of bad things, but there’s also a lot of good things. I’m able to live my dream, I’m able to do a lot of good things. […]

What if you were shopping…

posted by jmcgee

…and suddenly everybody did THIS (see below)?   It happened at Macy’s last weekend, when 600 members of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, mingling with the other shoppers, unexpectedly burst into the “Hallelujah!” chorus. Just watch and try not to smile. […]

’80s flashback: “The Living Years”

posted by jmcgee

A friend posted this on her Facebook page. It struck me as particularly apt for November, the month of falling leaves and darkening skies, when we remember in a special way those who have gone before us, and pray that […]

Election 2010 and “the God gap”

posted by jmcgee

Religious voters — especially Catholics — may well have been the ones who turned the tide, according to analysts: As Democrats conduct a grim postmortem on Tuesday’s elections, some liberal leaders say one diagnosis is already clear: the party’s outreach […]

Cuba opens first seminary in 50 years

posted by jmcgee

It’s a dramatic move for the Communist island nation — and a sign, perhaps, that the country is turning a corner: With Cuban President Raúl Castro and several high-profile church leaders from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy and the Bahamas present, […]

Coming to TV: Molly Shannon as a former nun

posted by jmcgee

She was a scream as perennial Catholic schoolgirl nerd Mary Katherine Gallagher on “Saturday Night Live.” Now, however, Molly Shannon is taking that act in a different direction: HBO just picked up a comedy from veteran Simpsons writer-producer Tim Long […]

The iPad election: the view from my living room

posted by jmcgee

In my channel surfing last night, I couldn’t help but notice that both Nancy Cordes on CBS and Chuck Todd at NBC were proudly brandishing on the air America’s favorite new toy: the iPad.  This may well go down in […]

“What if I told you Jesus was a black man?”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the provocative opener to a terrific essay by my Assistant News Director, Shu-Fy Pongnon, who riffs on the subject at Patheos: “What if I told you Jesus was a Black man?” How I came to ask Marie this entirely […]

Bernardino boom: record number of seminarians

posted by jmcgee

What’s behind it? Some answers: A record number of 13 seminarians have begun formation for the Diocese of San Bernardino at Bl. Junipero Serra House of Formation in Grand Terrace, Calif. The men range in age from 18 to 40. […]

The future of journalism

posted by jmcgee

Okay. Time for a little rant.  I’ve been sifting through resumes and cover letters from job applicants. These are from people who are already working in journalism. They are, supposedly, professional communicators.  Most have been out of school for a […]

Boehner: Washington’s most powerful Catholic?

posted by jmcgee

He might have some competition from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but the man who will soon be the Speaker of the House could claim that title. Some details about John Boehner’s upbringing: He was reared in a […]

Elvis Costello: “Nuns taught me to read…”

posted by jmcgee

The musician weighs in on religion and his Catholic upbringing in an interview with the Globe and Mail: There are a number of songs addressing religion on the album, but they don’t seem anti-religious so much as opposed to the […]

Catholics and Anglicans may share churches

posted by jmcgee

Pope Benedict’s historic outreach to Anglicans continues to make history — and make waves: Anglicans who defect to Rome in protest at plans to ordain women bishops could be allowed to continue worshipping in their Church of England buildings, a […]

Is this the American Church’s most powerful woman?

posted by jmcgee

A tweet from a certain blogger suggested as much. Check out this profile of the woman who is, the COO of the Miami Church: Doing one thing at a time does not seem to be part of God’s plan for […]

“The souls of the just are in the hand of God…”

posted by jmcgee

The souls of the just are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth […]

“Oh Mary, Christ, God, please protect us”

posted by jmcgee

Those were the desperate prayers of the Iraqis held hostage during mass on Sunday — a crisis that ended in a bloodbath: Around 5:20 p.m., as the Christian worshipers stood and recited “Upon this rock I will build my church,” […]

Men get a “divine two-by-four across the face”

posted by jmcgee

Ouch. It happened in Connecticut, at a men’s conference that attracted hundreds of the faithful: The bright, sunny Saturday, Oct. 23, was a perfect day for men to tackle important projects: rake leaves, clean rain gutters, install storm windows, deepen […]

“I invite you to become saints…”

posted by jmcgee

“When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be […]

Chicago pastor pushes for women deacons

posted by jmcgee

It will be interesting to see how far this discussion goes. From the Chicago Sun-Times: The Roman Catholic Church is pretty clear on who may join the priesthood: men only. And the way church leaders see it, there’s no room […]

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.