The Deacon's Bench

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

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:

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

“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 […]

“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 […]