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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Bio

A Roman Catholic deacon serving the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, Greg Kandra is News Director for the diocese's cable channel, NET (New Evangelization Television.) Prior to that, Deacon Greg worked for 26 years as a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to "The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric," "60 Minutes II," "48 Hours," (Emmy Award, Writers Guild of America Award) and "Sunday Morning." He was co-writer for the acclaimed documentary "9/11," hosted by Robert DeNiro. (Emmy Award, Christopher Award, Peabody Award, Writers Guild of America Award.) His radio essays were featured in the bestselling book "Deadlines and Datelines" by Dan Rather. He's also a two-time winner of the Catholic Press Association Award. Other places you may find him: AMERICA, U.S. CATHOLIC, CATHOLIC DIGEST, REALITY (Redemptorist Communications) and THE BROOKLYN TABLET. He also contributes homiletic reflections to the parish resource CONNECT!, published by Liturgical Publications. In November 2009, he began serving a three-year term as a consultant to the Communications Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Deacon Greg grew up in Maryland (Go Terps!) but he and his wife today live in the beautiful borough of Queens, New York. You can contact Deacon Greg at dcngreg@gmail.com.

Pope to make first visit to Rome’s synagogue

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Benedict will become only the second pope to visit the synagogue — and the timing is more than mere coincidence:  Pope Benedict will make his first visit to Rome’s Jewish synagogue in January, the Vatican said Tuesday. Benedict, leader of the world’s 1.1 […]

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“We know from our own broken marriage that hope is possible”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The pope has appointed a married couple — who admit they almost got divorced — to a high-ranking Vatican council.  Their unusual and inspiring story, from CNA: A married couple recently appointed by Pope Benedict to be consultors for the […]

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Con man posing as deacon charged with abuse

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An unusual abuse accusation out of Minneapolis: A man who alleges that he was sexually abused as a child by a con man posing as a Roman Catholic deacon went public Monday to challenge recent statements made about the case by […]

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A first look at summer: a glimpse at “Toy Story 3″

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With the leaves changing and the frost coming, here’s something to look forward to: a glimmer of warmth and sunshine, coming next June.   It’s the official trailer for “Toy Story 3.”  Enjoy.  

A Latter-day St. Damien?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From our Utah Desk…a curious news report out of Salt Lake City indicates that one of the men canonized a saint this past weekend has also been embraced by the Mormons.  And that’s not all: Father Damien, the Roman Catholic […]

You can do it

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Check out this little film of a bird learning to fly, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself moved to tears.  This is all of us, isn’ t it?   Learn To Fly from Christian Letruria on Vimeo.

Another warning

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just a reminder: Your Humble Blogger will be on satellite radio’s The Catholic Channel tonight, at about 8:20 ET, appearing on The Busted Halo Show with Fr. Dave Dwyer. You can catch it on Sirius Radio’s channel 159. Or XM’s […]

St. Columbus?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

These days, with efforts underway to elevate to sainthood contemporary figures like John Paul, Fulton Sheen and Mother Teresa, we tend to forget that a little more than a century ago, there was a great effort to canonize Christopher Columbus. […]

Scholar claims God created us, but not the earth

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And now, a little head-scratcher for a Monday morning.  A leading scholar claims that a botched translation has been misleading us for thousands of years: Professor Ellen van Wolde, a respected Old Testament scholar and author, claims the first sentence […]

Resurrection: finding new uses for old churches

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What can you do when a parish closes and the church is all-but-abandoned? Some novel solutions, in Albany: Old church buildings never die. They’re just revived for other purposes, be it a new house of worship or an artists space. […]

But is she housebroken?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A friend sent this along, and I can’t help but think that a saint whom we recently celebrated —  Francis of Assisi — would approve.  Meet Jessica, the hippo who’s also a family pet:

Know when to hold ‘em: meet the poker-playing priest

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just when you thought you’d seen it all…along comes this: A South Carolina priest made headlines this week when he starred in a new poker competition on US television this week. Father Andrew Trapp, an assistant pastor at Garden City […]

“It is just a miracle”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With a tapestry of the new saint fluttering outside St. Peter’s Basilica, thousands crowded inside the church to watch Hawaii’s most beloved citizen become a saint:  Pope Benedict XVI elevated Father Damien of Moloka’i to sainthood today, 120 years after […]

Albania asks for Mother Teresa’s remains

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Could Mother Teresa soon be on the move?   From the AP:  Albania wants the remains of Nobel Peace laureate Mother Teresa and the only post-independence monarch to be returned to the country, the prime minister said Friday. Mother Teresa’s […]

New York Times editorial on Fr. Damien: “Those with leprosy are longing for more”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s something you don’t see every day — a New York Times editorial about a Catholic saint: Damien de Veuster was a young missionary from the 19th-century Belgian countryside when he went to work at the leprosy settlement in Kalaupapa, […]

Hawaiian church to be renamed for St. Damien

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some interesting news from the Pacific, as Hawaii prepares to celebrate its first saint:  The Catholic parish in Kaunakakai will be renamed St. Damien Church as soon as Pope Benedict XVI declares the sainthood of the missionary to Molokai. Signs […]

Oops

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s nice to see this new ministry in a diocese getting some attention. But the errors contained in this article about deacons are really pretty embarrassing.

Homily for October 11, 2009: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few weeks ago, a remarkable story popped up, about fashion photographer Michael Belk.  His work has appeared in Vogue and GQ, but after many years of success, he felt compelled to do something more meaningful.  Belk is a devout Christian, who […]

Gingrich on Catholicism: “This is the place that I belong”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“I don’t know that I wanted to become a Catholic so much as I became a Catholic. I don’t know that it was volitional in that sense. Having gone to the basilica (The Basilica of the National Shrine of the […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Go and find him when your patience and strength run out and you feel alone and helpless. Jesus is waiting for you in the chapel. Say to him, ‘Jesus, you know exactly what is going on. You are all I […]

Now that you’ve won the Nobel Peace Prize…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…could you spare three minutes to watch this, Mr. President? Thanks.

Who is God? A movie looks for answers.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This unusual documentary, “Oh My God,” is hitting movie theaters this fall. The trailer below — featuring, among others, Ringo Starr and Hugh Jackman — gives an intriguing preview.     

Need a laugh? Here.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s Friday. The start of a long holiday weekend. Couldn’t you use a good laugh about now? Last night’s episode of “The Office” was sweet, funny, touching — and, in the final few minutes, uproarious. They offered what may be […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Ultimately, the Catholic who is very angry is a Catholic who is full of fear. He sees what is going on around him and he fears that God cannot overcome it. He fears that perhaps it is possible that our […]

The Nobel also-rans

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Before the prize was announced early this morning, the AP ran an item on the likely winners, which included this priceless sentence, buried deep in the story:   U.S. President Barack Obama is thought to have been nominated but it’s […]

The Vatican’s odd couple: Diaz and Benedict

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How will the new U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican get along with the pontiff? NCR’s John Allen sat down for a chat with Miguel Diaz and came away with some interesting insights: In some ways, one could think of Díaz […]

Vatican greets Obama’s Nobel Prize “with appreciation”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican had warm words for the Nobel committee’s decision:  News that U.S. President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was met with high hopes from the Vatican spokesman. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told journalists Oct. 9 […]

What if Dorothy Day were alive today?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

She might very well be pleased with this unusual endeavor in Ohio, which is taking her values into the 21st century:  The Dayton Catholic Workers Movement, a charitable organization that helps the homeless, is opening a new Dayton restaurant. The restaurant, the […]

October 24: Lay Fast for Priests

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With World Priest Day approaching on October 25, a number of people will be joining an international fast for the world’s priests:   Anna Rae-Kelly saw the Catholic priesthood becoming embattled as a result of the clergy abuse scandal that […]

The Catholic Church and gays

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“The Church hates gay people.”  Well, judging from some of the comments around here, that’s the impression some people have.   It couldn’t be further from the truth.  For a clear and concise explanation of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, […]

Busted. Again.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For those who have nothing better to do this long weekend: Monday night, at about 8:20 ET, Your Humble Blogger will be appearing on The Busted Halo Show, on Sirius Radio’s The Catholic Channel.  I appeared on the show a […]

Pax Obama?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I don’t think anybody expected this to move across the wire this morning:  In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international […]

Mourning “a priest’s priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Wilmington’s retired Bishop Michael Saltarelli died yesterday after a battle with cancer, and the local paper has an affectionate appreciation of his life and legacy.  It helps to remind us what being a bishop is all about:  With a strong […]

Mickey Rourke on the priest who saved his life

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In the Year for Priests, here’s a story that reminds us the impact a priest can have on just one life: Mickey Rourke has revealed that he was on the verge of suicide before he turned to the Catholic Church […]

“I’ve never seen anything like it…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I saw this story and realized it had occurred at a secular, state university, I thought it was nothing less than remarkable: The melodic voices of 32 University of Northern Colorado students wafted through the predawn of Oct. 1 […]

“Vocations come from being open”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This story from the Catholic Standard in Washington caught my eye, because the young priest now serves at the parish (and school) where I grew up.  He has some sound insight into vocations:      In second grade, right around […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Liberals are critical of [authority], although they’ll use it when they’re in power. Conservatives would tend to be less critical, but equally dependent upon it. Consequently, when you get into the church, you get the conservatives unhappy because bishops aren’t […]

Rhapsody in tan: a Beach Boy will finish some Gershwin songs

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From the “What Were They Thinking?” file…some curious musical news, courtesy the Los Angeles Times: In a surprise union of two quintessentially American composers from different eras, one the 1960s mastermind of “Good Vibrations,” the other the Jazz Age creator […]

Where do bishops come from?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Everywhere.  But there are a few places that seem to be especially successful at growing them.  The top greenhouses are written up right here.  Fascinating reading. 

“The left’s hostility to Catholicism is on gaudy display”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A man who may be testing the waters for a 2012 run for the White House has a few thoughts on what he considers to be serious challenges facing Christians in general — and Catholics in particular. Here’s former Senator […]

iGod: Catholic TV’s new iPhone app

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

My siblings in Catholic communications, Catholic TV in Boston, have produced an iPhone app.  Not only that, they’ve also produced a mischievously clever ad for it, below.

Further proof that it’s a big church — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Any church that can accommodate both Michael Moore and Sean Hannity — not to mention their monumental egos — is pretty darn huge.  (And pretty darn forgiving, too.)   You can read about their little chat here.   Meantime, a snip, […]

A tale of two weddings

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A missionary priest offers this beautiful glimpse at one part of the priestly life — and bearing witness to a precious sacrament, in two very different settings:   I had been away from Tanzania for one month enjoying a vacation […]

Priest, chaplain, husband

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Dallas is mourning the death of a man who had three distinct callings: The Rev. Paul F. Gray had a ministry that spanned more than 40 years and included service as a chaplain for the armed forces, the Dallas Police […]

Bishops apologize to Jewish leaders for “feelings of hurt”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After a few months of simmering tension, the Catholic bishops have offered Jewish leaders an olive branch:  U.S. Catholic bishops have tried to reassure Jewish leaders that interfaith dialogue will never be used as a means of proselytism or a […]

“Fight like hell to do any good”: the legacy of Aengus Finucane

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The world has lost a remarkable and spirited warrior in the fight for charity and justice — and attention must be paid:  The Rev. Aengus Finucane, a Roman Catholic missionary and Irish aid pioneer who braved civil wars and learned […]

Shore thing: new deacons for Wilmington

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A diocese in Delaware is about to gain a new batch of deacons (just in time for All Saint’s Day — and the Advent-Christmas rush that will follow!) Details: Fifteen men from throughout Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore will soon […]

African bishop: Obama election may be “divine sign”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, that notion fits in nicely with those who seem to think of the new president as some sort of messiah: Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American President of the United States could be interpreted as a “divine sign,” […]

Colbert v. Dawkins, Round 2

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Absolutely priceless. Enjoy.        The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Richard Dawkins www.colbertnation.com Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Michael Moore

Scientist claims he’s reproduced Shroud of Turin

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The age-old debate about the authenticity of one of the world”s most famous religious relics now has a new wrinkle.  From  Reuters: An Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively […]

Deacon gets papal honor. (Oh, and Mother Angelica got one, too.)

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A congratulatory shout-out to two stalwarts in Catholic communications: Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier of EWTN, who this weekend received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal.  There’s a complete write-up here that gives details. 

Miguel Diaz meets the press

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The new U.S. envoy to the Vatican, Miguel Diaz, had his first sit-down with reporters on Monday, and stressed dialogue and “collaboration”: Stressing the priorities that he said the Obama administration has in common with the Vatican, Diaz sketched out […]

Read it and weep

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the pleasures of the blogosphere is discovering new and refreshing voices. Many are gifted. A few are brilliant. And then there are those who defy any description. Every now and then, you encounter someone who just makes you […]

Apocalypse, huh?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A scene from the upcoming end-of-world blockbuster “2012” more or less exemplifies what it means to “Jump the Shark.” This just might be the disaster movie to end all disaster movies. Just watch this snip and try not to howl. […]

A leading economic indicator: robbing from poor boxes

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From Boston comes this story that shows that lengths some will go to — and the depths some will plunge — during hard times:  Whoever broke into St. Ambrose Church had to squeeze between a statue of St. Ambrose and […]

Words to live by: “Turn off the news”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As one who toiled long and hard in the network news business for nearly three decades, I can give this suggestion a hearty “Amen”:   I don’t mean to put anyone out of work in this difficult economy — I even […]

Are the heroes of Michael Moore’s new movie…priests?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You sorta get that impression, from this intriguing entry from Progressive Revival at Beliefnet:  Roman Catholic Priests are the surprising voices of clarity and conviction in Michael Moore’s new film Capitalism: A Love Story.   The Priests in this documentary, one of whom […]

“We all have secrets. Let’s smoke indoors.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Longtime readers know I’m a big fan of “Mad Men,” so I was delighted to discover this wicked parody. Anyone who is just now catching up with this absorbing series — and who feels completely adrift — can find all […]

At the “Red Mass,” a plea for the unborn

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The annual “Red Mass” took place in Washington Sunday — and some big names were in the pews. From the AP:  An American cardinal on Sunday issued a plea for the rights of the unborn at a church service that […]

From Maui, a big “Aloha” for Fr. Damien

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Church will get a new saint later this week — one with a unique American connection — and visitors are already en route to Rome for the main event.  From the Maui News:  Dozens of Maui Catholics have begun […]

Bishops address suicide: “Life matters”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

On the day when we marked Respect Life Sunday in the United States, the good people of Ireland marked a Day for Life.  And the bishops there released a pastoral letter on a subject many would rather not talk about: […]

“Mountain” climbing with Thomas Merton

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It had completely escaped my attention, but Doc Mac notes that it was on this day in 1948 that one of the great autobiographies of the 20th century was released, Thomas Merton’s “The Seven Storey Mountain.”  The book had a […]

Just what the Year for Priests needed — a chorus line!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is, um, interesting.  H/T Damien Thompson, who explains what’s going on here. “Mass” at Plobsheim, France, Pentecost 2009 from Donald Jenkins on Vimeo.

Here’s a first: a film festival named for a pope

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A decade after Pope John Paul’s historic letter to artists, a group of artists in Florida is putting on a film festival that celebrates the human spirit: Pope John Paul II’s legacy serves as an inspiration to people of all […]

Blushing in the blogosphere

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Several people e-mailed me to say, “Hey, did you know you’re in NCR?”   No!  But I’m humbled and delighted to be mentioned in some exalted company in this piece by Heidi Schlumpf.  Thanks for the props!   Check out […]

Homily for October 4, 2009: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When he was 16 years old, Dan Powell was playing football at a Boy Scouts camp when he was tackled, and suffered a traumatic injury.  He broke his neck.  Dan was left a paraplegic, paralyzed from the chest down.  He […]

Visitors to the Capitol can finally see ‘God’

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is the sort of thing that you don’t hear about in the mainstream press, but it’s worth noting:  When the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center opened in December 2008, the national motto, “In God We Trust,” was nowhere to be […]

Who started the fire?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Turns out, Billy Joel didn’t tell the whole story.  The fire actually began on Pentecost.  So: check out this interp of a classic, courtesy the indispensable New Advent and New Zealand’s Liturgy blog.   For those deacon candidates studying Church […]

The story behind one of the most famous pro-life photos in the world

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Photo: by Michael Clancy Many of us have seen it, but few of us have heard the story behind this iconic photo of a fetus clutching a doctor’s finger. But the man who took the picture wants the story to […]

Welcome, Miguel

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The pope greeted the new U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican today:   Welcoming the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI outlined wide areas of potential cooperation with the administration of President Barack Obama, but drew a sharp […]

Seeing Red

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Washington’s Catholic lawmakers will celebrate the annual Red Mass this Sunday, and a producer at CNN looks at some of the history behind this event:  The beautifully ornate Catholic church in the nation’s capital has seen its share of history […]

Happy One Week Anniversary!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And they said it wouldn’t last.   I’m marking my first week here at Beliefnet, after two years at my previous address, and so far, so good.  I haven’t broken anything, and the Pope hasn’t called to complain.    I’d […]

“The 13th Day”: the trailer for the movie about Fatima

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new movie about Fatima, “The 13th Day”, is to be released later this year, and screenings have been announced in several major American cities. If you’re curious, the movie’s trailer is below. You can also visit its website.

Can you hear me now? The problem of microphones in church

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Most of us are used to them these days, but that doesn’t mean we have to love microphones during mass.  The Catholic Register up in Canada gives this issue some amplification:   If every modern church has a box full […]

A deacon’s journey: “If you’re going to be a Catholic, you’d better be a good one”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From a paper in Minnesota comes this profile of new deacon, who has a remarkable story to tell:  After six years of prayerful study, Vern Behrends recently preached his first homily at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Worthington, beginning with […]

Vatican rep: free speech is not an obligation

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

We’re accustomed to defending all forms of free speech in this country.  But a Vatican archbishop is drawing a line in the sand:     While the freedom of expression is a right, states are not obliged to protect expression […]

“Love is everlasting”: St. Theresa and a heart aflame

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Like most of us, I have people in my life that I have a hard time loving.  So this morning’s entry for the Office of Readings, for the memorial of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus (or Therese of Lisieux, […]

Princess Di’s ancestor may become a saint

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That intriguing tidbit comes from Doc Mac:  Born in 1799 to Second Earl Spencer (whose descendants include Princess Diana), George Spencer studied at Cambridge and was ordained an Anglican priest in 1824. As time went on he began to have […]

Where should you get married in a recession?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Why, right here, of course.  

Bishop charged with possessing child pornography

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You see stuff like this, and words fail:   A Roman Catholic bishop who oversaw an historic settlement with victims of past sexual abuse by priests in Nova Scotia has been charged with possessing and importing child pornography. Bishop Raymond Lahey […]

Just joining “The Bench”? Welcome! Let’s get it started…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And have some fun with this, below. This is why God gave the world Steadicam. (Watch and see if you can spot the priest in the video…) H/T Andrew Sullivan

In Manila, a room with a pew

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This morning, my TV show “Currents” interviewed Laura Sheahen, from Catholic Relief Services in Manila, who described in harrowing detail the recovery efforts there after the devastating typhoon.   She also contacted her old pals at Beliefnet, and passed along […]

Church ordains convicted pedophile as minister

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This piece of news just boggles the mind:  A tiny Louisville church’s newest minister is a gifted music leader and popular among its three dozen members. Mark Hourigan is also a sex offender.  Almost a decade ago, long before he joined […]

A Catholic, a Methodist and a Lutheran walk into a bar …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

… and the result is doctrine!  Two of the three faiths agreed on the doctrine of justification 10 years ago — the Methodists chimed in a few years later — and they’re planning to mark the anniversary with a prayer […]

My pal, St. Jerome

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Today marks the feast of St. Jerome.  I have some special affection for this old saint– and an unusual connection to him.  In the 1930s, my father kissed his Slovak mother on the cheek and walked out the door of […]

Funniest license plate. Ever.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A longtime reader spotted this on a car belonging to someone who works for the Archdiocese of Washington.    

A good mad man is hard to find

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Could Flannery O’Connor have invented Don Draper?   An astute critic in America magazine suggests the answer is “Yes.”  Rev. Terrance W. Klein draws some intriguing parallels between O’Connor’s Gothic South and the 1960’s-era boardrooms of “Mad Men’s” Madison Ave.:  “Mad […]

Charities and the recession: “We’ve never seen anything like this”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you want to know how the recession is hitting some charities, this item from the AP lays it out:  For many social-service charities across America, the recession has delivered a staggering one-two punch. Sharp drops in donations and investment […]

In the spirit of St. Francis …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This has been making the rounds for a while, but with the feast of St. Francis of Assisi coming up this weekend, now seems a good time to revisit, reflect, and enjoy.  

Be it resolved: sisters matter

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When was the last time the United States government paid tribute to a group of Catholic religious?  It happened last week.  Take a look.   

Yes, you CAN subscribe!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Things are coming along nicely at my new digs.  I just finished hanging the curtains and plugging in the coffee pot.  And now we’re getting really fancy.   If you look to your right, in the upper right corner of […]

To paraphrase Olivia Newton-John: Let’s get digital, digital…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican has announced a theme for the next World Communications Day — and it’s all about new media:  For World Communications Day 2010, Pope Benedict XVI has chosen the theme “The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: […]

On Medjugorje: “Let us not act as if these ‘apparitions’ were worthy of faith”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Again, Medjugorje is in the news.  And again, it’s about the local bishop warning the citizens not to believe in the alleged apparitions. From the Catholic News Service:  Confirming young people from the parish in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje, […]

The unofficial anthem of the American Catholic parish

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I just got back from our parish’s annual fundraiser golf tournament and dinner dance.  And once again, it was confirmed for me that the great musical force that unifies the American Church isn’t Gregorian chant, or classic hymns like “Praise […]

A saint from California?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Maybe.  Evidence is being gathered to promote the cause for a bishop from Sacramento.   Details, from Scripps Howard:  In October 2007, Sara Sevilla eagerly awaited the test results that could explain why suddenly she had lost her sight. But […]

Who’s a person?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

There’s a growing movement to try and answer that question — and, just maybe, have an impact on abortion laws.    From the Los Angeles Times:  It is one of the enduring questions of religion and science, and lately of […]

“It never gets old, does it?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A favorite ad, that just seems worth re-visiting right about now.  I love the world. Don’t you?   

“He was just a simple priest”: remembering the papal visit to Iowa in 1979

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Incredibly, it’s been almost exactly 30 years since Pope John Paul II made his historic trip to America’s heartland, celebrating mass at a farm in Iowa.  (“We are all farmers,” he said at one point.)   Well, the spirit of […]

Unchained melody: a homily for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m not preaching this weekend, so I don’t have a homily to post.  But I can direct you to a superb homilist and writer, Fr. Jim Schmitmeyer, who offers some beautiful and compelling words about this week’s scripture.    Fr. […]

The Indianapolis deacons, one year later

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last year, I posted on the first class of deacons ever ordained for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.   One year on, how are they doing?  The archdiocesan paper takes a look:  A little more than one year after their landmark […]

“Let love shine forth”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Love for Christ and for one’s fellow men and women must be the hallmark of every Christian and every community. In the Acts of the Apostles we read that “the company of those who believed were of one heart and […]

Metropolitan Jonah and his amazing technicolor vestments

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This comes from our Eastern Rite desk. Check out these vestments.  This is why God gave the world Kodachrome. 

Just one word: wow

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Get a load of this:  The image above comes courtesy American Papist and shows, incredibly, over 800 men being ordained at once in Spain in the 1950’s.    Visit this link for more details and pictures that will make your jaw […]

On deacons: “They are absolutely critical”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new batch of deacons is about to be ordained in California, and the local paper is catching on to something many of us have known for a while:  Armando Hernandez   Photo by David Bauman, The Press-Enterprise  As the […]

“Here I am, Lord”: birth as prayer

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An alert reader wanted me to know about an essay by a friend of his, Susan Windley-Daoust, appearing in this week’s America magazine.  It’s a stunner: a beautiful and thought-provoking look at prayer and vocation, all seen through the experience of giving […]

Lord, be close to your servants who move into this home…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This morning, I was invited by a couple in my parish to bless their apartment.  This is one of the many unexpected joys of being in ministry, and it gives me a chance to meet people — literally — “where […]

A little Friday night lectio

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From the Christ-haunted mind of The Anchoress: I dash all of my fury, all of my love, all of my passion against the cross of Christ, and settle beneath their shards and fragments as they rain down upon me, and […]

Welcome to “The Deacon’s Bench”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here we are. To those of you who have been following “The Deacon’s Bench” at my previous address, welcome back! Good to have you here. Please excuse the boxes and bubble wrap. I hope to have the place tidied […]

Revealed: the pope’s computer!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Or so you might think…but I suspect his is a nice shade of Apple white… H/T The Papist

“You thank the Lord today for the gift of your child…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a not-insignificant development down at the bishop’s gathering in Baltimore — and one that we can only hope will have far-reaching acceptance and implications: In a gesture with clear implications for debates over abortion, the U.S. bishops this […]

O’Malley on Obama

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The always-interesting Michael Paulson at the Boston Globe has just posted an interview with Beantown’s cardinal archbishop, Sean O’Malley, in which he discusses the election, abortion, and a raftload of other things: Q: So many bishops spoke out on abortion […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Sharif, who knows 40 commands, has helped Jeffrey Adams adjust to his prosthetic leg, after he was wounded in Iraq. You can read his story, and others, here, from this morning’s New York Times. Photo: by Alan Polzner, for the […]

For the veterans, from Fulton Sheen

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“The great French preacher Lacordaire once said the vocation of a soldier is next in dignity to the priesthood, not only because it commissioned him to defend justice on the field of battle and order on the field of peace, […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice. If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision that African Americans were other people’s property and somehow less […]

Passing the plate

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

We just finished a stewardship pitch at my parish, so this item struck me as particularly interesting and timely: a review of a new book on Christian giving — or lack thereof. Coming as it does during some difficult and […]

They’re baaaaack

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“They” being the very public preachers (one, a Catholic priest) who became suddenly very private after Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination. Have no fear. They’re still around — and speaking up. An Illinois paper has a roundup of the […]

“It ain’t easy being a bishop”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Periodically during this election cycle I’ve wondered: “Why on earth would anyone want to be President?” And now I’m wondering the same thing about the job of bishop. Once, it was a job with plentiful perks; but increasingly, it’s all […]

Homily for November 9, 2008: Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is one of the more unusual feasts on the church calendar. It doesn’t commemorate a saint, or a biblical event. It celebrates a building. Specifically, the Lateran Basilica, in Rome. It’s the oldest of the four major basilicas in […]

“Every morning I break my fast with the men in the breadline”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“The men from the Bowery were there, ragged, dirty, jobless, most of them Longshore workers, teamsters, gandy dancers, sand hogs, restaurant workers, men who had led hard and dangerous lives. There were Irish, Italian, mostly, but other nationalities, too. Poles, […]

Sounds like a deacon, actually…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…though I was hoping to be more like Kermit. You Are Scooter Brainy and knowledgeable, you are the perfect sidekick. You’re always willing to lend a helping hand. In any big event or party, you’re the one who keeps things […]

Happy birthday, Dorothy Day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The striking icon above is by Nicholas Brian Tsai, and the open book of scripture contains this quote: He raises the poor from the dustand lifts the needy from the ash heapto make them sit with princes,with the princes of […]

What’s a dad to do?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Check out this wonderful short film from The Responsbility Project. How far would you go for your kids? Oh: it turns out the blog at this site is written by a former colleague of mine, Kathy McManus. Kudos, “Mackers”!

Advice to Obama: “Get on the phone if the pope calls”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen has penned an open letter to President-elect Obama, offering some unsolicited advice about how to deal with the Vatican, and he concludes with this telling anecdote about the last Democratic president: In […]

“Dear Senator Biden…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A bishop from Florida, John Riccard, has drawn a line in the sand — or maybe, at the altar rail — and has sent a letter to the vice president-elect regarding communion and conscience: I learned recently of your visit […]

“Because of God, I have the strength never to give up”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This sounds like exactly the sort of television we need: a program about perseverance, and hope, and more than a little bit of faith. It’s about a 30-something Sunday school teacher in Georgia named Ruby Gettinger and her struggle with […]

And, for the first time, a president who’s younger than me

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some interesting factoids from the Washington Post: History was made Tuesday when Barack Obama, 47, was elected president — the first man with a last name ending in a vowel (other than “y” or silent “e”) to ascend to the […]

A prayer for the unemployed

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The headline of the day: Unemployment Rate Leaps to 6.5%, 14-year High.   I suspect, in the months ahead, that number will get higher before it goes lower.  And so, a prayer: O Saint Joseph, we pray to you for […]

“Talk to a priest. Don’t believe what your hairdresser tells you.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just in time for the holidays, a group of priests in New York City (Staten Island, to be precise) is embarking on a mission to bring wandering Catholics back into the fold. Take a look: Since the summer, Monsignor Edmund […]

How he did it

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Barack Obama fared much better among religious voters than John Kerry did in 2004 — and this piece from the Wall Street Journal helps to explain why: The Obama campaign prevailed among Catholics despite sermons and letters from several conservative […]

Actually, Obama isn’t the first

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It was James Earl Jones. Anybody remember this? From 1972, “The Man,” a drama about the first black President of the United States.

And the next Vatican ambassador is … ?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Amy Welborn is thinking it may be a Kennedy. Or maybe Doug Kmiec? I’m thinking Obama may have bigger plans for Caroline Kennedy, who broke with Democratic orthodoxy when it was unfashionable, and who spearheaded Obama’s veep search. Seems to […]

A Wednesday prayer?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This morning, as is my custom, I had some deep conversations with myself in the shower. And I was wondering: if our show were on the air right now (it doesn’t debut until the spring), how would we cover The […]

B16: “Congrats!”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The man elected yesterday to be the leader of the free world received a congratulatory message today from someone who’s above his pay grade: Pope Benedict XVI sent a personal message to President-elect Barack Obama Nov. 5, congratulating him and […]

Quotes of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Tonight — tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama — whether they supported me or Senator Obama. I wish […]

The Catholic vote, the morning after — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Rocco called it, aptly, a “repudiation,” and now others are weighing in with their thoughts about how Catholics voted yesterday. Here’s Thomas Reese, SJ, from the Washington Post: Catholic voters ignored the instructions of a group of vocal bishops and […]

Two speeches, two crowds

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The world heard two remarkable addresses Tuesday night: John McCain’s gracious concession speech and Barack Obama’s soaring victory speech. But I was struck by this: when McCain mentioned his opponent, the crowd booed. That didn’t happen when Obama mentioned McCain.

“I am a man”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

On CBS News tonight, Bob Schieffer spoke of how he attended segregated schools when he was growing up in Texas. “A black person had never attended any of my schools,” he said. Correspondent Byron Pitts told Katie Couric about how […]

Anxious about the election? Want to throw something at Wolf Blitzer?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Then take a mental health break: the inspired “Mad Men” parody from Sunday’s “The Simpsons.” You’ll feel better. I promise.

Having a voice

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A colleague at work described to me the scene at his polling place, in a mostly African American corner of Brooklyn. Long lines. A sizable crowd. And a cheerful mood. “There was singing,” he told me. Singing?, I said. What […]

A very good reason to vote

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Free stuff! Is it lunchtime yet?

That’s the way it was

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A friend of mine recently sent me an e-mail, asking if I was going to miss working this election night. I’d toiled into the wee hours for more election nights than I can remember and now, for the first time […]

Quote for an election day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Voting is a civic sacrament.” — Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C.

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“My fellow citizens of the United States of America should be deeply concerned about any candidate for the presidency who supports legislation which permits the destruction of human life at its very beginning, the killing of babies in the womb, […]

Prayer before an election

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Lord God, as the election approaches, we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city, state, and country, and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community. We ask for eyes […]

The small white casket

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Hours before we cast our votes, here’s a sobering reminder of what is at stake, from Florida Catholic: More than two years after her ignominious death at an abortion clinic, baby Shanice Denise Osbourne was laid to rest at Our […]

“It’s all about taking care of God’s children”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a Catholic agency being run by a Mormon. From the Utah Standard-Examiner: About once a week, Northern Utah Catholic Community Services sports an additional face among its employees. That face belongs to Brad […]

Catholic TV producer: “People respond to truth, not pablum”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Once, “Catholic media” meant just your parish bulletin and the diocesan paper. No more. Here’s a story that shows how much things have changed (and it happens to be right up my alley), about a growing Catholic television station that […]

McCain rocked the house

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you missed it, his hilarious appearance with Tina Fey last night on Saturday Night Live.

Homily for November 2, 2008: All Souls

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

His name was John Robert McGraham. Most of his life was unremarkable. He grew up the second youngest of six children in Cypress Park, in Los Angeles. As a little boy, he loved comic books and he’d sometimes run through […]

All Saint’s Day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

God our Father, source of all holiness, the work of Your hands is manifest in Your saints, the beauty ofYour truth is reflected in their faith. May we who aspire to have part in their joybe filled with the spirit […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“About 80 percent in this town are Catholic but they’re still voting for Obama. The state is very conservative but everybody pays attention to politics and the issue here like anywhere else is a town that needs jobs. The economy […]

Be a saint: All Saints Day homily from 2007

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From last October, here’s part of my homily for All Saints Day 2007: Shortly after he converted to Catholicism in the late 1930s, Thomas Merton was walking the streets of New York with his friend, Robert Lax. Lax was Jewish, […]

Let there be life: “For God, there is no percentage”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here comes a beautiful reminder that you can never anticipate what God will do. It’s a poignant and inspiring story of faith, hope and life, from Florida Catholic: Friends and colleagues said “maybe you should interrupt the pregnancy” when Daniele […]

Sign of the times

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A Wisconsin Catholic school principal found himself in hot water this week for posting a sign supporting Barack Obama in his yard: The heated reaction to a Barack Obama sign appearing in the Catholic Memorial High School principal’s yard “reflects […]

How was it, Estelle?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The woman who made the funniest and most famous deli order in movie history has died. She’s Estelle Reiner, who uttered just five words in “When Harry Met Sally,” but ended up practically stealing the picture. (She’s lurking in the […]

Great expectations

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Longtime readers may remember the item I posted last year about Jessica Rowley, who was looking forward to being the “first pregnant Catholic priest.” Well, guess what? You can read more about her right here. She belongs to something called […]

Who wrote the bible? Maybe someone you know.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This story popped up in the Boston Globe a few days back, but it’s too good to pass up: In Rome recently, a parade of luminaries, starting with Pope Benedict XVI, spent the better part of a week reading the […]

Boo!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The good people at Busted Halo have recruited the esteemed saint expert, Fr. James Martin, SJ, to talk about all the saints (for All Saints) and, because they’re so closely linked, the neighboring holiday, Halloween. Take a look.

Four for Oregon!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Pacific Northwest can count four more deacons, and the Catholic Sentinel has the scoop: David Briedwell, a firefighter and paramedic, joined the Catholic Church in 1990. On a Marriage Encounter weekend, he felt grabbed. Before he knew it, he […]

So many dead trees. Does Al Gore know about this?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A friend in Florida sent me this e-mail, from his diocese. Evidently, it’s being circulated to all the parish priests: The 2008 Election is only a few days away and parish parking lots offer an easy target for outside organizations […]

Allam: “Extremism and terrorism” are mature fruits of Islam

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You probably remember the Muslim Who Became A Catholic earlier this year, when baptized by Pope Benedict during the Easter Vigil. He hasn’t forgotten his Muslim roots, and is speaking out: The Muslim-born journalist baptized by Pope Benedict XVI at […]

One bishop who won’t use the wafer as a weapon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This just in, from Charm City, via the Rocco Palmo Desk. This is part of a long and thoughtful statement being printed tomorrow in the Catholic Review, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien writes about abortion […]

Secular chaplains?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This morning’s New York Times has an interesting glimpse at a new wave in chaplaincy care — which isn’t always pegged to one particular faith: Some of the hospice patients talk about their impending deaths, or about God. Most just […]

And now, Zubik

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The bishop of Pittsburgh has added his voice to the chorus this election season — and he’s not telling people anything they haven’t heard before. From KDKA: Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik says he isn’t telling anyone who to vote for […]

The vanishing “Catholic vote”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Rocco has dug up this fascinating nugget from the LA Times, regarding the “Catholic vote”: National polls have shown for some time that, although Catholics are personally opposed to abortion, they believe it ought to be legal in nearly identical […]

“These are our parishes”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

New Orleans has now joined Boston as an American city where parishioners have moved into churches and are refusing to leave, to keep them from being shuttered. From USA TODAY: Parishioners occupying two Catholic churches in defiance of closure orders […]

Bring your laptop to the Reading Room

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a pretty remarkable piece of news — poignant and, perhaps, prophetic. For the first time, a major American newspaper is abandoning paper and ink: After a century of continuous publication, The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday […]

Solomon’s mines?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Scholarly skeptics who have doubted that King Solomon ever existed are being told: “Not so fast.” New archeological discoveries are casting new light on the ancient culture of the Middle East: A massive copper smelting plant in the biblical land […]

“Closing the adultery gap”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Whatever happened to fidelity? You have to wonder. And this analysis from the New York Times doesn’t provide any easy answers: A handful of new studies suggest surprising changes in the marital landscape. Infidelity appears to be on the rise, […]

Confused? No wonder

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few weeks back, I posted on the multiplying voter guides for Catholics that are blossoming this autumn. And now CNS is wondering if they’re just leaving people scratching their heads: If a group of Catholics were to sit down […]

Abortion and church teaching: “The short answer is: Biden is right” — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s a real eyebrow-raiser: the author of the Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Dr. Frank Finn, says that on the subject of abortion and church teaching, Joe Biden has a point: Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden is telling the Catholics in […]

Lest we forget

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The video I posted right here last month remains as potent and important today. In fact, it’s more necessary to watch it now.

“Pelvic theology”?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When John Paul penned his “Theology of the Body,” I’m not sure he had this anatomical notion in mind: Bill Roth, president of the Catholic Democrats political action committee, recently spoke about pro-life Catholics who strongly oppose the idea that […]

Jesus is my CEO

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Is it possible to run the Catholic Church like a corporation? Take a look at what this author thinks. He’s Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz, co-founder and president of Catholic Radio International. He offered these thoughts in Business Week: Catholic bishops are […]

The man behind “Mad Men”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader sent me this link, to a fascinating interview with Matthew Weiner, the genius behind my latest obsession, “Mad Men”. (After last night’s pitch-perfect season finale, I can’t believe I now to have to wait nine months for the […]

Finger on the button

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A couple years ago, I had a strange experience while giving out communion at mass: one of the congregants came up wearing a tee shirt from Hooters. Some people, of course, will wear anything to church. Which brings me to […]

Sunday morning food for thought

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will […]

Coming soon: women installed in ministry of lector?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. It’s a proposal — passed overwhelmingly by the Synod of Bishops — to admit women, formally, to the ministry of lector. Among other things, this is significant because lector […]

Joe the Congregant

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How is the economic crisis going to impact churches and synagogues? This weekend, there are some thoughts on that from Rabbi Marc Gellman, the Jewish half of the “God Squad” (the other half being Catholic priest, Monsignor Thomas Hartman). From […]

Homily for October 26, 2008, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (World Priest Day)

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It happens more often than you may think. Someone will ask me after mass, “Deacon Greg, if priests could be married, wouldn’t you like to be a priest?“ Well, the answer for me is no. God called me to this […]

Dancing with the stars: John & Barry edition

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is, in a word, brilliant. And hilarious. Happy Friday. Crank up the volume and boogie! h/t Rod Dreher. http://view.break.com/592648 – Watch more free videos

Catholics who are “politically homeless”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen hits a homerun, with a trenchant and clear-headed column about politics, the election, Catholics and those among the electorate (that would include Your Humble Blogger) who feel “politically homeless.” Take a gander: […]

A Friday reality check: what’s wrong with the world

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is so funny and so true: Louis CK explains to Conan why nobody is happy. H/T to St. Jude RE & RCIA Director’s Blog. Enjoy.

Just don’t confuse them with “Judas Priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Could the latest music sensation in Europe be…three singing priests? CNN has a fascinating report about this trio at this link. The story: You could call them New Clergymen on the Block: three Roman Catholic priests from Northern Ireland who […]

The young and the restless: “We have to meet them where they’re at”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How can you get young people involved in the Church? A recent gathering in Arlington, Virginia gave a tantalizing answer: At a youth rally this weekend at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Catholic teenagers came together to celebrate their […]

More Catholics swinging toward Obama

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Is Obama gaining among Catholic voters? This latest poll seems to indicate as much: The bigger news is Obama’s jump among white Catholics, where he’s totally reversed McCain’s lead. Last month, McCain led 48-percent to 41-percent among white Catholics. Now, […]

Calling all diaconate “pioneers”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader who was ordained a deacon in 1976 is wondering how many visitors to The Deacon’s Bench are “pioneers.” He asks: Can you elicit a survey of your readers to ascertain who are some of the ‘elders’? That is, […]

How the other half dies

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

At a time of skyrocketing health costs and difficult end-of-life decisions, some lucky souls are living it up right up until the end. This odd slice-of-death story comes from the New York Times: Marie-Dennett McDill loved the Carlyle Hotel. Mrs. […]

Pharmacists for Life: just what the doctor ordered

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From Virginia comes this impressive story about a pharmacy rooted in faith: A new drug store at a Virginia strip mall is putting its faith in an unconventional business plan: No candy. No sodas. And no birth control. Divine Mercy […]

A disgruntled electorate

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What this conservative columnist in Texas is hearing is ominous, but not surprising: I had a long, bleak lunch today with a group of Dallas friends and acquaintances. All conservative men, 35 and older. Everyone a serious Christian (I think […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese. The USCCB doesn’t speak for me. The only relevant document … is my letter. There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.” — Scranton Bishop Joseph F. […]

The new vocations: “The church is being transformed”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone worrying about the bleak vocations picture in the Catholic church might want to reconsider. It’s not as grim as you may think. Or so says a Catholic sociologist — and one reason for his optimism is (brace yourself) the […]

Bring him home: a prayer for “Beloved and his family”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Anchoress has just posted a prayer request for a soldier who has been seriously wounded. The A writes: I cannot tell you his name – but if you could storm heaven for “Beloved and his family” at this time […]

America, 2008

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The video below shows what happened when some Muslim McCain supporters encountered another McCain supporter who was distributing anti-Muslim, anti-Obama literature. H/T to Rod Dreher.

As the spirit moves you

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Many people can tell you they’ve had a moving experience in church. Here’s a church that had one itself. Below are a couple pictures that show the remarkable relocation of part of a Catholic cathedral in China — where it […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A candle spotted in San Francisco last weekend. And no, I don’t think that’s Martin de Porres. Details can be found here.

This is why we Catholics wear albs

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A gentle reminder to all of us: there are other reasons, besides the economy, for tightening your belt… Priest Loses Pants @ Yahoo! Video

What would Fr. Louis say?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Fr. Louis, of course, being Thomas Merton — who might raise an eyebrow over the historic naming of a Trappist to be a bishop. From Whispers: On Saturday, the Pope named Dom Yvon Moreau, abbot of Notre Dame du Lac […]

Psst? Looking for a cheap room? Try a convent

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That seems to be the advice of a travel writer at the New York Times, who today offers some sage advice for travelers trying to save a buck. In a word, pray: When Kathleen Mazzocco was researching places for an […]

Another “intrinsic evil”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While abortion gets most of the press — and the lion’s share of attention from the nation’s bishops — there is another hallmark issue of this particular election that has gone largely undiscussed by the hierarchy. Until now. Writing in […]

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 »

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