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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.

Free hugs!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Hot on the heels of this great video of a young man dancing his way around the world, my brother-in-law dropped me an email and said to go to YouTube and search “free hugs.” I’d never seen this before. It’s […]

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Carlin at his best: “Baseball vs. Football”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Around the newsroom today, more than a few people have said, “You know, his last HBO special wasn’t that good. He was pretty angry and bitter at the end.” But to appreciate George Carlin and his talent, look no further […]

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America’s faith: “3,000 miles wide and three inches deep”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Those busy people at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life have released more details of their ongoing study of what we Americans believe. Seems that we believe what we know — but what we know may not be […]

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“A kind of freaky horror show” — CORRECTION

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here in New York, you see the posters everywhere, and it’s jarring: people striking a pose, maybe dribbling a basketball or reading a book. But they don’t have any skin. And you can see their organs. It’s life, seen in […]

The dance of life

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Stop everything and just watch. This is just plain wonderful and will make you smile and laugh and cry and want to get up out of your chair and dance. A big fat hat tip to The Anchoress for spreading […]

Because it’s June, and we don’t hear this version as much…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As more brides prepare to head down the aisle this month, let’s take a moment for a little Ave Maria, okay? The Guonod version, as sung by Kathleen Battle. This, I think, is bliss.

Bringing ‘em back

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the topics tackled by the USCCB (when the bishops weren’t riding the teacups at Disney World) was how to woo back lapsed Catholics. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch talked to a few experts about that: In the St. Louis […]

More on the Legionaries in Baltimore

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few days back, John Allen interviewed Baltimore’s Archbishop, who had some pretty stern words about the controversial Legionaries of Christ. I posted an item on it, and got some interesting responses. Allen has now published a follow-up in this […]

The Pact

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Much has been written, and debated, about the bewildering news that 17 teenage girls from Gloucester, Massachusetts evidently made a pact to get pregnant. This is a tragedy. But, as this post over at Beliefnet reminds us, it may also […]

Noonan: “Tim was normal”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An Irish Catholic gal from Long Island muses on an Irish Catholic guy from upstate New York. Here’s Peggy Noonan on Russert: One of the greatest statements, the most piercing, was something Chuck Todd said when he talked on a […]

The apple, near the tree

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you didn’t see it yesterday, put down your coffee, shut the door, and click the image below. Luke Russert at his father’s memorial service. Just watch. This kid’s got it.

“Baby Priest Camp”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Now here’s an idea I can really get behind. It’s something referred to, only with a a little irreverence, as Baby Priest Camp. And it’s written about over at the blog “Gift and Mystery”, run by the newly ordained (okay, […]

“Oh oh, come take my hand, we’re riding out tonight to case the Promised Land”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Watching the Tim Russert memorial at the Kennedy Center this afternoon on MSNBC, I saw Bruce Springsteen pop up, and he sang this tribute to the newsman, his classic song “Thunder Road”: The screen door slams, Mary’s dress wavesLike a […]

Voice of the Faithful weighs in on women priests

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few weeks back, the Vatican decided to draw a line in the sand over the ordination of women as priests. Women who had been ordained illicitly and invalidly were to be automatically excommunicated. Now, Voice of the Faithful has […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“It has all been said so eloquently in the tributes that have come from some of the highest authorities in our nation and even around the world. … All that remains is to say thank you to the good and […]

“Raised by Jesuits”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The invaluable James Martin over at America has reminded us of something easily overlooked: Tim Russert was “an honorary Jesuit” who was educated by Jesuits, and spoke often at Jesuit commencements: Russert seemed to embody a certain ideal of Jesuit […]

It’s the time of your life, so live it well

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I heard that song the other day and it brought back happy memories of this delightful Pixar/Disney flick “A Bug’s Life.” The closing credits, with the out-takes and bloopers, are priceless. And the song is a Randy Newman gem. We […]

Flying the faith-filled skies. Or not.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone who’s flown lately knows that we have a lot to pray about. “Dear God, please don’t let them cancel my flight.” “Heavenly Father, I pray my bag does not have to be checked and that I don’t have to […]

“Preach the realities in a way that our people are impressed”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Priests, deacons and seminarians got an earful recently at a conference called “You Will Receive Power!,” focusing on how to grow in holiness. Juding from this account, it touched not-so-subtly on the topic of preaching, too: “I think that the […]

Behold, they make all things new

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This will make you smile: one memorable way to mark a crosswalk countdown. From Los Angeles, of course. H/T to Andrew Sullivan. Crosswalk Countdown – GuerilLA from Kelly Herrington on Vimeo. How cool is that?

Remembering Russert

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the more interesting Princes of the Church is a also a journalist — and he’s fondly remembering another journalist (and a prince in his own way), Tim Russert. From CNS: U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley had lunch in […]

“Our beloved colleague Tim Russert died this afternoon”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A clearly emotional Tom Brokaw spoke those words Friday afternoon. Our world, and the world of journalism, is poorer without Tim Russert in it. Brokaw said, in part: “Tim loved his family, his faith, his country, politics, the Buffalo Bills, […]

“He’s a great guy and a great priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s the sentiment expressed below about a priest who was falsely accused of sexual misconduct — and has finally been cleared. I couldn’t agree more. I know this priest. He traveled with us to Italy on pilgrimage in 2004. I […]

On priests, politics, and the pulpit

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Sifting through my “in” box, I found this very good piece by Fr. James Martin, picking up on a theme that was blazing hot when I left here: the notion of priests preaching politics from the pulpit. I don’t know […]

Looking for me? I’ll be with David Cook

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Deacon’s Wife and I will be away from the Bench for a bit, taking a much-needed break. See below. Posting will be light, but I’ll be back soon. Tanned, rested and ready to blog!

Another priest crosses the line

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Elsewhere, I posted about the priest who spoke at Barack Obama’s church last Sunday, and the furor that’s causing. But get a load of this: Msgr. Jim Lisante, former head of the Christophers, and a pastor in the Diocese of […]

“Heart speaks to heart”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For this feast of the Sacred Heart, you should check out this stirring homily, delivered the other night by James Douglas Conley, new auxiliary for Denver, whose episcopal ordination takes place this day. A grateful h/t to the always-alert Rocco […]

Obama’s priest – UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You have to see this to believe it. From the Chicago Sun Times, a video of Fr. Michael Pfleger preaching at Barack Obama’s church last Sunday. There’s a very good response to Pfleger’s fuming over the America blog, courtesy Jim […]

Remembering Harvey Korman, and taking the pledge

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Late word today that he has died, at 81. You’ll find tons of clips on YouTube, but this, from Blazing Saddles, remains definitive. And just plain hilarious. Bless him. And just in case you missed it, there’s also this wonderful […]

Buh-bye: women priests formally excommunicated

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Women who consider themselves ordained in the Catholic Church can now consider themselves not ordained — and not Catholic. Here’s how Reuters reports the news: The Vatican issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests […]

Finding God on the obituary page

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you’ve ever wondered just how they put together the obituary page, this little Q&A with a longtime editor at the LA Times, Jon Thurber, offers an answer or two — and some insight into how and when religion finds […]

Rounding up the sheep

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Catholics are a distinct minority in Alabama, but a paper there reports on some of the efforts underway to find and bring back lapsed members of the flock: Churches grow and shrink. That’s something that has al­ways happened in the […]

“The Liturgy of the Notices”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A very amusing, and very clever, dissection of a part of the mass that is often overlooked. A cheerful h/t to Bosco at The Naked Liturgist.

Bless me, Father…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When was the last time you went to confession? This author, a college co-ed, has a confession of her own to make: it’s been a while: Gary Stern of the Journal News reported that in the wake of Pope Benedict’s […]

Sydney Pollack, “a class act”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That was how George Clooney described him today, after learning of Pollack’s death yesterday at 73, from cancer. Everything Sydney Pollack did had intelligence and taste. And he was a terrific actor, as well as a gifted director. For my […]

Chuckles, anyone?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Monday is the feast of St. Philip Neri, famous for his joyful spirit and sprightly sense of humor. “A joyful heart,” he said, “is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.” In tribute to his own unique spirituality, I […]

For Memorial Day: “Every day I think of what you said to me on that bridge”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What his captain told Private James Ryan, of course, was contained in his dying words: “Earn this.” The beautiful conclusion of “Saving Private Ryan.” Lest we forget.

On your knees?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A number of people noticed that Pope Benedict distributed communion on the feast of Corpus Christi to faithful who were kneeling. Is something up? Catholic News Service says, no: The four dozen people who received Communion from Pope Benedict XVI […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“We prostrate ourselves before a God who, like a Good Samaritan, was first to bow to mankind as a way to rescue and give him new life, who knelt before us to wash our dirty feet. Worshiping the Body of […]

Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter killed

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Tragic news this morning about Steven Curtis Chapman, the popular Christian recording artist. His young adopted daughter was struck and killed by a car, apparently driven by Chapman’s son. Below is a song he wrote about his daughter a few […]

“We finally got a piece of the pie!”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Because we all could use a laugh right about now (and the feast of that saintly cut-up Philip Neri is just a few days away: here’s Adolph Hitler, as you’ve never seen him before. Trust me: you will howl. God […]

“You want me to do WHAT??”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Back on Ash Wednesday, I preached a little homily about penance, and suggested some things we might do during that penitential season of Lent besides simply giving up chocolate. I mentioned praying for strangers, praying for those we don’t even […]

What’s behind the rise in vocations in St. Louis

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How are vocations in your diocese? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting on the very good news coming out of that archdiocese these days — a surge in priestly vocations, thanks in large part to the efforts of the archbishop: […]

Priest bans autistic boy from parish – UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this story, out of Minnesota. I’m sure the priest must have very good reasons for choosing this course of action. But if I had to ask myself WWJD … well, I don’t […]

Henry Poole is here. Meet him for yourself.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I stumbled on this awesome little movie trailer over at Happy Catholic — a big fat hat tip for this one, Jules! — and now I have to agree: this could be a wonderful movie. I’m hoping so, anyway. Take […]

The narcissist in the rectory

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at Beliefnet, Rod Dreher this weekend blogged about an ongoing conversation with an old friend of his, an ex-priest. Dreher himself is a convert to Catholicism, who left the Church after the scandals of ’02, and is now in […]

Randy Pausch, still alive and kicking — and sweeping his wife off her feet

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An alert reader sent me word that the great Randy Pauschwas featured this weekend at the graduation ceremony at Carnegie Mellon. The local press takes note: The crowd rained a second standing ovation warmly on Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon […]

“I want to be a deacon…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I wish I had a dime for every e-mail I’ve received that has started with those six words. That’s usually followed by a request for more information. How long do you study? Can I keep my job? Do you get […]

I laughed until I cried

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

My father-in-law sent this to me and it slays me every time. I don’t know what’s funnier: watching Tim Conway, or watching Harvey Korman’s reactions. Enjoy. And keep Kleenex handy. You’ll be in tears by the end.

“God, you left the prophetess alive to tell the story”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Astonishing stories don’t get more astonishing than this one, from Rod Dreher’s column in the Dallas Morning News: On the afternoon of May 4, Jessica Johnson Palmer took her three children to a park to meet her former boyfriend. According […]

“Shenanigans”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An astute writer over at the Washington Post’s On Faith blog has taken a hard look at the Catholic League, and the recent dust-up over John Hagee. The writer is, in a word, skeptical: The Catholic League is not the […]

The conversion of Corapi

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Not long ago on EWTN, during Lent, they re-ran this spellbinding talk by one of their most popular preachers. I was wondering if there was a copy online, and sure enough, there’s a shortened version, about 10 minutes long, which […]

The Catholic Church as a franchise

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here’s a different way of looking at the Church, from the Wall Street Journal: Is the U.S. Catholic Church in a state of crisis? The bond market says no. In fact, investors increasingly view the collection plate as a […]

Rockville Center to ordain 13 new deacons this weekend

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And the long line of men in dalmatics continues. Bless ‘em all. This, from Long Island Catholic. (h/t to the blog A Long Island Catholic.) The scoop follows — and at the link, you can find pictures and bios of […]

Watch and listen and smile

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If this doesn’t lift your spirits, nothing will. It’s short and sweet. Go ahead. Shut the door and turn up the speakers and enjoy.

Speechless

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s what this fellow says we are, and he makes a very good, and very funny, point. Click and enjoy. H/T Brutally Honest by way of The Anchoress.

The diaconate returns to El Paso

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After being dormant for a long time, the diocese of El Paso diaconate program is alive and kicking — and is about to ordain its first class of deacons in more than a quarter century: For the first time in […]

Trenton ordains 11 deacons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You can add Trenton to the list of dioceses that is busily ordaining deacons this season. The write up is right here: Eleven men, four from Mercer County and one from Burlington County, were ordained as deacons in the Roman […]

“I am brought to tears of joy with the thought of becoming a priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The day after Pentecost, there are increasing signs that the Spirit is at work. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Catholic Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh received an honorary doctorate from St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe over the weekend, capping a week […]

Pearls before breakfast

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last year, the Washington Post ran a remarkable story about an unusual experiment in the Washington, DC subway. The reporter asked one of the most celebrated violinists of his age to play his fiddle — a priceless Stradivarius — on […]

Melding

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Another diocese is making some hard choices about closing parishes — but seems to have found an innovative way of handling it that may keep most churches open: The number of parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse […]

“I may not know art, but I know what I like”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

We could all use a little Monty Python right about now, don’t you think? I stumbled on this funny bit: the pope arguing with Michelangelo about his “Last Supper.” Which may explain why it was eventually done by DaVinci. Enjoy.

Aloha to Papa

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The pope’s visit is just a happy memory now, but one writer, from Hawaii, has just published her delightful account of her visit to New York. (H/T to Rocco, who always seems to be in the right place at the […]

B16, u r BFF, OMG!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Pope who has an iPod is getting into text messaging. (When is he going to start a blog, like one of his cardinals?) Here’s what is being planned for the World Youth Day gathering later this year: Pope Benedict […]

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Ordination season is fast upon us — and there’s news of some deacons about to be ordained in St. Louis: Archbishop Raymond L. Burke will ordain 13 men to the Order of the Diaconate at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 10, […]

50 reasons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a wonderful video, sent in from a reader (thank you, Mary!) that celebrates the rosary. Watch — and break out the beads!

Chaput: on priests, politics and battling “pastoral despair”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A nice blogger friend sent this my way last week, and I finally got around to reading it. Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput on politics, priests, laity and a lot of other important things. It’s just superb: Catholic leadership in the […]

99 balloons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A fellow deacon sent to me with five simple words: “A must for your blog.” He’s right. Watch this with a box of Kleenex handy. It’s incredible. And beautiful. And it will leave you utterly devastated.

Communion and politicians: Wuerl weighs in

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Archbishop of Washington, Donald Wuerl, has now joined Cardinal Egan in discussing the controversy over communion during the pope’s visit. From the Catholic Standard: A decision regarding the refusal of Holy Communion to an individual is one that should […]

Stephen Colbert and Anne Lamott seek grace, eventually

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is pretty damn funny. I wasn’t wild about Lamott’s last book, Grace, Eventually, but her first spiritual memoir, Traveling Mercies is a wondrous and hopeful and often hilarious collection of essays about her search for salvation as a recovering […]

“The Anchoress” drops her veil

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m sure there will be much buzzing about this in the blogosphere — it’s a slow news day, and people are getting tired of Jeremiah Wright, after all — but it seems one of the most mysterious (and eloquent) voices […]

What makes Giuliani different

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Those who lump him together with the likes of Nancy Pelosi or Ted Kennedy may be mistaken. Or so suggests Elizabeth Scalia, at Inside Catholic: As a politician, Giuliani has never been a legislator or a judge; he has neither […]

“Don’t call me a saint”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That was what Dorothy Day once said, and I alluded to her in my homily for Ascension Thursday. To mark the 75th anniversary of the Catholic Worker, Dorothy Day’s diaries have just been published. And a documentary on her life […]

Egan and Rudy, Part Deux

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The controversy swirling around Rudy Giuliani receiving communion at St. Patrick’s just won’t stop. The latest to weigh in is Phil Lawler at CWN, who notes: In his public rebuke to Rudy Giuliani for improperly receiving Communion during Pope Benedict’s […]

In a nutshell

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Life is hard. After all, it kills you.” — Katharine Hepburn

BULLETIN: Egan “regrets” that Giuliani received communion

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, this bit of news is interesting — and it will be even more interesting to see how it plays out over the next few days: Moments ago, Edward Cardinal Egan issued a statement saying he deeply regrets former mayor […]

A Jewish woman covers the pope

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What’s it like for someone who is not Catholic to be covering the Vicar of Christ for the media? Busted Halo’s radio show is produced by Robyn Gould, and she describes her experience working in the Catholic media and covering […]

“For me, Catholicism is just the right thing”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A story out of West Virginia this weekend points to something a lot of us cradle Catholics don’t think about much– the powerful and important impact of converts on our faith: Roseann Sodaro French finds it hard to explain exactly […]

John Allen reveals the story behind the story

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

So much has already been written about Pope Benedict’s remarkable meeting with sex abuse victims — but this piece by John Allen tells the story behind the story. It’s just one more reason why Allen remains one of — if […]

A deacon’s miraculous healing credited to Cardinal Newman

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Could an American deacon play a role in the eventual canonization of Cardinal John Henry Newman? Yep. Looks that way. CNS has the details: The sainthood cause of a 19th-century English cardinal has taken a step forward after the Vatican’s […]

The victims recall their meeting with the pope

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you’re wondering what transpired between the pope and the victimsof sex abuse whom he met during his visit, check out this remarkable story: Olan Horne, 48, a survivor of clerical sex abuse, believes that Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to […]

“There’s something comforting about a stubborn pope”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Even non-Catholics can’t help but admit that this pope is impressive. Take this, for example, from a columnist in Chicago, wrestling with the Church’s stance on abortion: To believe in God’s autonomy over human life, however, is a hard sell. […]

“Papal cheesy”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

MCPF Stephen Colbert turned to another CPF of Your Humble Blogger, Fr. James Martin, SJ last night for some analysis on the pope. And it was delightful. Click and watch and enjoy. These two should go on the road.

These kids are amazing

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

They’re name is Libera, and they performed as part of the pope’s warm up at Yankee Stadium. They’re really something. This is a song of theirs called “Far Away.” Enjoy.

“Ben-eh-dee-toe! Ben-eh-dee-toe!”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Still hungry for pope stuff? Those who are curious can read my wrap-up of the papal mass over at the CBS Evening News blog, Couric & Co.

No hard line from the pope on communion for pro-abortion pols

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

John Allen over at NCR confirms what I suspected after I spied Rudy Giuliani in the communion line at St. Patrick’s Cathedral: At least three times during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States, a prominent pro-choice Catholic politician […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

So let us lift our gaze upward! And with great humility and confidence, let us ask the Spirit to enable us each day to grow in the holiness that will make us living stones in the temple which he is […]

Anybody else catch this?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Watching the mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral this morning on EWTN, I got a glimpse of Rudolph Giuliani. In line. For communion. Maybe he just got a blessing. I dunno. He also popped up at the end of the mass […]

Because it’s Friday, and this is pretty cute

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A car commercial to make you smile. Enjoy.

Pope Benedict, “Cultural Catholic”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The excellent papal commentator and writer David Gibson has zeroed in on an important theme of Benedict’s visit thus far — one that, perhaps, has been overshadowed by all the headlines about the sex abuse crisis. From the Wall Street […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“I don’t go to Mass, but today I went with my mother, and his sermon there and his apology about the sexual abuse blew me away, and I had tears in my eyes that I wasn’t ready to have. It […]

Want to feel great? Watch this.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A beautifully produced video celebrating the Church. UPDATE: For some reason, the video has been pulled. Argh. You can still watch it by going to this link, scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the video titled […]

The pope and the abuse victims: how it happened

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

All you have to do is read the lead in the Boston Globe’s exclusive to realize this is a Big Deal: Pope Benedict XVI, in a dramatic move likely to alter forever the image of his pontificate, met this afternoon […]

What did you hear?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone who saw the papal mass this morning in Washington heard a real melting pot of music and languages, and Catholic News Service has an overview: The liturgical celebration of Pope Benedict XVI’s April 17 Mass in Nationals Park reflected […]

Bush to Benny: “Awesome speech!”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The president is a fan. H/T to Fr. James Martin, SJ from The Good Word, the preaching and scripture blog of America magazine.

Kumbaya, anyone?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

All poped out yet? Good. Here’s a pretty interesting nugget from today’s Washington Post on the pope and his music — or, rather, the music you will probably be hearing at the papal masses: Catholics don’t argue about abortion or […]

Father What-A-Waste

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s Katie Couric’s cheeky nickname for the dashing and telegenic Fr. Thomas Williams, who played football for the University of Michigan before becoming a priest with the Legionairies of Christ. He’s now a Vatican analyst for CBS News. And here’s […]

Magnificent bloggery, the papal edition

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at the New York Times, they have a running blog of various religious observers and experts, discussing the papal visit. Fascinating stuff. Some excerpts: From Fr. James Martin, SJ: “I am deeply ashamed,” Pope Benedict XVI said this morning, […]

Wilkomen!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In case you missed it earlier, here he is, stretching his legs at Andrews Air Force Base and saying howdy to the Bush family.

Who Benedict is — and isn’t

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The ink is starting to flow, and the analysis of the papal visit is going to be thick (and probably inaccurate). But over at Pajamas Media, The Anchoress has placed Pope Benedict in an interesting context. Seems all those nervous […]

But how do you wrap it?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What do you give the man who has everything? Some Catholic schools came up with a wonderful idea for the pope’s birthday: Pope Benedict XVI turns 81 on Wednesday during his stop in Washington, D.C., and Catholic school students say […]

Barack Obama’s Catholic “kitchen cabinet”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Everybody wants the Catholic vote, and now Barack Obama has even formed a Catholic advisory committee, according to the blog at America magazine: Here’s Obama’s Catholic Kitchen Cabinet: National Co-Chairs Senator Bob Casey; Representative Patrick Murphy (PA-08); Former Congressman Tim […]

Singing the praises of deacons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s not often that you see the diaconate celebrated in the Catholic press, or celebrated by pastors. But — in a convergence that must be unprecedented — both those remarkable phenomena can be found in this week’s St. Louis Review: […]

Praying with the pope

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican leaves nothing to chance. They’ve released all the prayers, readings, and even the hymns for the pope’s upcoming visit — and you can even download them. From CWN: The Missal covers each of the major public events on […]

Dwindling Catholic school enrollment: “A slow-moving disaster”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new report paints the clearest picture yet of what is happening in Catholic education — and what isn’t. USA Today has a snapshot: For years, parents at St. Joseph School, a tiny Catholic school in Petersburg, Va., have fretted […]

“We live it every day”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In its ongoing run-up to the pope’s visit, the Washington Post is taking a look at how some Catholics live, and has discovered — surprise surprise — that some of them really are Catholic: During an era when two-thirds of […]

Mass merchandising for the papal visit

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I remember going to the Mall in Washington to see Pope John Paul II on his first trip to the United States, nearly 30 years ago. Vendors sold tee shirts saying “I Got A Peek At The Pope.” They’ve gotten […]

The showoffs who have three kids

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If anyone wants to know what’s wrong with our culture these days, here’s exhibit A. It’s a commentary from the Washington Post. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Read on: My husband and I are getting ready to do what many […]

Hard times ahead for the Big Easy

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Hot on the heels of the news out of Camden, another diocese — in fact, an archdiocese — is bracing for massive “restructuring,” i.e., parish closings and mergers. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune: Archbishop Alfred Hughes on Saturday began asking […]

Camden announces largest closing of parishes in the country

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It may have not made big headlines, but I have no doubt it stunned a good many people in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey: a massive restructuring of the diocese that will see fully half of the parishes shuttered. […]

“All is gift, all is given”: a four-minute tour of my parish

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This terrific video was produced by Roger Aguinaldo, one of our parish’s trustees, to plug our Parish Expo next weekend. It’s geared to the theme of stewardship, and the idea that “All is gift, all is given.” It’s a nifty […]

An archdiocese prepares to ordain its first permanent deacons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Up in Canada, one region that has never had permanent deacons is about to see that change. From the Western Catholic Reporter: Members of the Edmonton Archdiocese’s first class preparing for the permanent diaconate will be ordained July 4 at […]

Study reveals that spirituality makes children happy

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What helps make kids happy? A Canadian study says it’s the same for them as it is for the rest of us — it’s all about what’s inside, not outside: Spirituality is a major contributor to a child’s overall happiness […]

Meet the deacon who’s building the pope’s altar

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

On a good day, I can hammer a nail straight into a piece of wood. Most days, I might add, are not good days. I have no talent for carpentry. So I was both envious, and impressed, with this wonderful […]

Name that church

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What’s the most popular name for a Christian church? A reporter in Chicago conducted an informal survey of the Windy City and found some interesting answers: If church names are any indication, St. Paul is the most popular saint in […]

Taking Christ out of Christianity

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

There aren’t many things these days that leave me utterly speechless. But this item did: That triumphal barnburner of an Easter hymn, “Jesus Christ Has Risen Today – Hallelujah,” this morning will rock the walls of Toronto’s West Hill United […]

“There are times you feel the Holy Spirit just needs a typist”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s something a lot of us can relate to: being brand new on the job and approaching your first big challenge. In this case, the job is being newly ordained — and the challenge is a little something called Easter. […]

News you can use

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Warning: Crucifixion Bad For Your Health

Remembrance

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

There is a remarkable mini-industry that has sprung up on YouTube: home-made music videos crafted from Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” Clearly, this film has resonated with people, and moved them to create something deeply personal from that […]

Braxton: a little background

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few readers have been wondering just what kicked up the kerfuffle in Belleville, and what exactly Bishop Braxton had done to incur such animosity among his priests. As usual, I turned to the definitive source on episcopal matters, and […]

Convert corner

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Coming into the Church this Easter? New? Just browsing around? Pull up a chair and stay awhile. And if you have a few free moments, wander over to this terrific blog, Catholic Converts. I stumbled on it when it got […]

Welcome to a new blog: “Helping Others with Cancer”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As we continue our journey through Holy Week, I got an e-mail from a reader, alerting me to a new and, I think, very interesting voice in the blogosphere. It is aimed at those suffering with cancer — both those […]

More on the Exultet, “this wonderful and only apparently simple melody”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Our good friends over at Zenit have posted a little something on the Exultet, of which I wrote a at some length a few days ago. Seems someone was curious about where this chant originated — and why it’s sung […]

Lubich on love

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

We should live in such a way that in our last hours we will not regret having loved too little. — Chiara Lubich, whose funeral mass was celebrated today in Rome, at St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. I don’t think […]

Humanae Vitae at 40: “This is when the door to the cafeteria opened”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The popular press is beginning to notice a not-too-insignificant anniversary this year: the 40th of Humanae Vitae. The Religion News Service takes note here: Asked about her church’s ban on artificial birth control, Emily Kunkel inhales deeply and pauses. “It’s […]

Jesus the Jew

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just in time for Holy Week, here’s a fascinating dissection of something often overlooked: the Judaism of Jesus: Recently a popular blogger — let’s call him Rabbi Ben — zinged the scholarship of a man we shall call Rabbi Rob. […]

I hate it when this happens

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Shroud of Turin Accidentally Washed With Red Shirt.

Waltzin’ Walken

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After watching again his funky dance in “Weapon of Choice,” I couldn’t resist throwing this into the mix. Christopher Walken and John Travolta from “Hairspray.” One of the more bizarre, but oddly enchanting, duets in Hollywood history.

Dueling headlines

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Social Encyclical Won’t Be Ready Before Summer Social Encyclical Due May 1?

The next must-see on my movie list

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Coming soon from Disney/Pixar. “Wall-E.” Take a peek. I dare you not to smile.

Spitzer’s other scandal: his abortion bill

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With all the news buzzing today about New York governor Eliot Spitzer, it’s perhaps useful to look at his recently proposed legislation on the issue of abortion. It’s set alarm bells ringing throughout the state. My parish is one of […]

Bound for glory: the journey toward baptism at Easter

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As we continue the countdown to Easter — 10 days until the Vigil! — it’s heartening and inspiring to read about those who are making the journey toward that baptismal font. The St. Anthony Messenger has a great piece this […]

Meanwhile, from the Awards Desk …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

‘Tis the season. Awards season, that is. And you might want to wander over to the Bloggers Choice Awards to see who the contenders are in different categories. (Your Humble Blogger is listed in Best Religion Blog.) There are a […]

Judge not? An aspiring deacon’s dilemma

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In New Jersey, a nominee for the state’s Superior Court happens to be a man training to become a Catholic deacon. And that may cause a conflict, according to this South Jersey paper: A judge in Middlesex County who is […]

The eighth deadly sin: bad reporting

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As Catholic stories go, it sounded like a bombshell: the pope had added seven new deadly sins that could send a person to hell — and one of them was polluting the environment! I was assigned to write that story […]

The Bar Mitzvah boy who is a jerk

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As we prepare for Holy Week, our Jewish brothers and sisters are preparing for Passover. And that led me to this peculiar video (h/t Rod Dreher) which is — as Rod put it — “jerky.” I agree with him. Why […]

Dancin’ Walken

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Bless her heart, the Anchoress has posted a terrific clip of Christopher Walken dancing in Pennies from Heaven. Most people forget he was a happy hoofer — taught by his mother, I believe — before he became one of the […]

Touched by an angel?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Those nuns who taught you in elementary school are now teaching science a thing or two about alternative medicine. Check out this item, from the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal: Here at the Providence Rest nursing home, which […]

Nun were better: remembering the sisters of the ’60s

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some will remember the mid-20th century as the “brick-and-mortar” era of the American Church — parishes going up, vocations booming, schools clogged with children in uniforms. And nuns. Lots of ‘em. I can still see them: the starched habits, the […]

A new monastery in Cuba?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An astonishing bit of news from the Havana Desk: Cuba has invited the Catholic Church to open a new monastery on the island and a German Benedictine order said Wednesday it would send four monks to establish a “spiritual centre.”The […]

Goodbye, Lucky

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I have, of late, been in a rather funereal state of mind. It hurts to lose a friend. But when someone showed me the clip below — unaware of just what’s been going on in my life lately — I […]

What creates ex-Catholics? — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s the serious, but provocative, question Rod Dreher posed in his blog this morning, springboarding off yesterday’s report from the Pew Forum: Why do you think people leave the Catholic Church? We tend to accept the explanation that suits what […]

Concern grows over priests using homilies off the Internet

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, this piece of news left me shocked, simply shocked, from CNS: A prominent Polish priest said young priests are using the Internet to plagiarize homilies for Masses. “If a priest takes another person’s text and presents it as his […]

“Falling Slowly”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In case you missed it, here’s the lovely song that won the Oscar, “Falling Slowly,” from the movie “Once.” The performance here is from “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Take this sinking boat and point it home,We’ve still got […]

Coming soon: a diocese with only 65 priests?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Grim news from the American northeast, where the number of priests continues its decline, and where dioceses are taking some radical but necessary steps. This, from the Sun Journal paper in Maine: The number of Catholic priests in the city […]

A prayer for Lent

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

God of all compassion, Father of all goodness,to heal the wounds our sins and selfishness bring upon usyou bid us turn to fasting, prayer, and sharing with our brothers and sisters. We acknowledge our sinfulness, our guilt is ever before […]

Vote for Obama = go to hell?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A Catholic journalist in the Washington Post is asking the question that may be on a few Catholic minds these days: is voting for Barack Obama a sin? Like most Maryland Democrats, I voted for Sen. Barack Obama in the […]

Former priest as deacon?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader dropped me an e-mail, wondering if an ex-priest who was married could become a permanent deacon. I told him I’d never heard of such a thing happening, and thought it highly unlikely. Curious, I dragged down my copy […]

Permanent deacons and the Latin rite: “A deacon is a deacon is a deacon”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some of my brother deacons were wondering about this when the issue arose last fall — and now it seems to have been answered. What about permanent deacons and the “extraordinary form” of the mass, or the Latin Rite? Here’s […]

I’d like to thank the Academy …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Who cares about the Oscars? Oscars, schmoscars. I just got word that I’ve won the Blog of the Day Award. I’m flabbergasted. If you’re curious to read more about this wonderful honor, you can visit the BOTD link, or just […]

Condom nation — and condemnation

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A commentator over at Bloomberg is suggesting that the real problem facing the poor of the Philippines is that they’re having too many babies. And he blames the Church. So, of course, he has a latex solution: “The most unprepossessing […]

“Reflections By The Bay”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That would be the Chesapeake Bay, in my beautiful home state of Maryland. And that happens to be the name of a wonderful little blog by a Redemptorist by the name of Fr. Andy Costello. A reader — another Redemptorist […]

“God opened the door”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As one of our correspondents at CBS likes to put it: “Everybody has a story.” And the story of this Protestant minister’s conversion to Catholicism, printed recently in the Catholic Explorer in Illinois, is well worth hearing: At the same […]

Hispanic deacons reflect ethnic changes in Church

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s a surprising, and heartening, bit of journalism from, of all places, the Chicago Tribune, about a demographic shift in the diaconate: When Sergio Lopez’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and told she had only three months to live, […]

Bill Clinton: “If you were really pro-life, you’d want to put every doctor in prison”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a remarkable piece of political theater: President Clinton blows up at a pro-life heckler at one of his wife’s rallies. You can read more details at this link, and there’s a brief MSNBC field report right here. h/t […]

“Not as easy as it used to be”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s Indiana Jones talking, in yet another moment of peril. And, after nearly 20 years, no wonder. At long last, he’s about to come back in the fourth installment of the franchise, and if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, […]

“In Spain, it’s harder to cut down a tree than commit an abortion”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s an eye-opener from across the Atlantic, courtesy the Associated Press: After same-sex marriage and fast-track divorce, Spain’s social revolution has hit a roadblock — abortion. The abortion law, severely restrictive during Gen. Francisco Franco’s dictatorship of the predominantly Roman […]

Gee, ya think?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A high-ranking Vatican official has put his finger on a big problem with the modern priesthood: The prefect of the Congregation for Religious has lamented that many Catholic priests are neglecting their duties under the pressure of conforming to secular […]

Deacons: a boom in Boston

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Up in Beantown, Cardinal Sean used his blog this week to throw a little attention on the diaconate community — and it sounds like it’s booming: I met with the permanent deacons’ community board, which meets six times annually. Deacon […]

“I teach Sunday school, mother******”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This has been making the rounds on the internet, and it’s classic: MCPF Stephen Colbert has a little smackdown with someone who is both creepy and funny.

Are converts happier?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A blogger over at Commonweal asked the question, and explains: The woman I plan to marry converted to the Roman Catholic faith as an adult ten years ago. She seems to have had an experience quite similar to the experience […]

It’s not “Conjunction Junction,” but “Vocation Station”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Remember Schoolhouse Rock? (If you don’t…well, nevermind. But the name of this new website hearkens back to that 1970’s classic.) A pal just sent this my way, and it looks terrific: a new website for vocations that specializes in the […]

“Put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Happy Valentine’s Day! As a footnote: I was pleased to find that this remarkable piece of TV history has been preserved on YouTube: I think it’s the last time they ever sang this together, on David Letterman several years back.

Unmarried, pregnant…and fired — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What happens when an unmarried teacher in a Catholic school finds herself pregnant? A paper in Minnesota explains: Emily Prigge was in her first year of teaching fifth grade at St. Felix School in Wabasha when she found out she’s […]

Clinton holds rally at Catholic college

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What are people thinking? It still surprises me that something like this is allowed to get this far, and actually take place: Archbishop Jose Gomez complained Wednesday about plans for a rally by Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, an abortion […]

Let’s face the music and dance

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An early Valentine’s Day offering: the brilliant (and too often overlooked) Fred and Ginger re-enactment from “Pennies From Heaven”. Starring Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters and movie magic. Enjoy.

The pope to deacons: “You give witness to the world today”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Holy Father had some warm words last week for permanent deacons — yes, you heard right: the pope actually chatted up the diaconate. It came during a Q&A with Roman clergy. Here’s the entire exchange, as reported by Zenit: […]

This will freak you out

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just click here and watch what happens. Your computer screen will never be the same. H/T, I think, to the Happy Cat’lick.

“Virgin of hope”: Pope John Paul’s prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The prayer below was offered by Pope John Paul II at the conclusion of the rosary, during his final pilgrimage to Lourdes in August, 2004: Hail Mary, poor and humble Woman,Blessed by the Most High!Virgin of hope, dawn of a […]

“Do not cross”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This news is not exactly the sort of thing you want to read as you’re getting ready to head to mass on Sunday morning. But it’s happening more and more: Armed sheriff’s deputies removed the last man from the Catholic […]

“Lead us to a place, guide us with Your grace…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Sunday, we’ll be marking World Marriage Day, sponsored by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter. Our parish will be hosting a special mass for the event, and Your Humble Blogger will be preaching for the occasion. (Homily to come!) In anticipation of […]

Lent: it’s not just about chocolate anymore

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Still stumped about what you can give up for Lent? Check out these 25 suggestions, courtesy Busted Halo. Some highlights: 15) Make a commitment to “fast” from cruel comments about others. 16) As a part of your Lenten almsgiving, make […]

Previewing “The Passion”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For the first Friday of Lent, when so many parishes will begin praying the Stations of the Cross, here’s a glimpse at one man’s vision of that seismic event — and a little piece of movie history, to boot. It’s […]

A saint grows in Brooklyn?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Now, for some news from my own backyard: word that the sainthood cause has been opened for the founder of Brooklyn’s first black parish. From CNS and Ed Wilkinson, editor of the Brooklyn Tablet: The process to declare a former […]

Better late than never

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I write a lot about late vocations around here — most deacons, after all, become deacons later in life — but a post earlier this week about the diminishing number of nuns and monks prompted this e-mail from one woman: […]

Everything you always wanted to know about Lent and Easter but were afraid to ask

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, now this little posting is pretty interesting: fun facts about Lent and Easter that have always had me scratching my head, and that now make eminent sense. My favorite one is at the end, regarding the 40 days we […]

Who will you vote for?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A deacon has performed a valuable service for his parish community, offering a workshop in Faithful Citizenship for those who will be voting in the Super Tuesday primary. This, from the Catholic Explorer in Illinois: With the Feb 5 primary […]

“It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Weird — and wonderful. Take a look at what happens when a couple hundred creative souls decide to just STOP and FREEZE in position in Grand Central Station. A frozen h/t to The Anchoress.

Unexpected monks

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s a little news nugget that made me go “Huh?” And then “Wow.” From the Boston Globe, a story about evangelical Protestants who are embracing, of all things, monasticism: S.G. Preston is a Knight of Prayer. Each morning at his […]

Sometimes, God comes to you…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…and in ways you’d never expect. This is just incredibly cool. The description on YouTube puts it thusly: This is a song about a church being moved hundreds of miles across the US on the back of a very big […]

One last great Super Bowl ad

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Before the Big Game, another awesome ad. This is the classic commercial that introduced the Apple Mac to the world: And this is the inspired take-off from last year that, I think, has proved prescient.

A prayer for Jim

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of my brother deacons, a classmate ordained with me last May, is seriously ill. Jim was taken to the ER earlier this week, and I finally was able to visit him in the ICU tonight. He’s hooked up to […]

The “Catholic” writer — and the “Catholic imagination”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A recent post about Catholic writers prompted a reader to ask: What exactly is a Catholic writer? I prefer “Christian writer” who happens to be Catholic -and who is espoused to catholic dogma. No? It’s a good question — and […]

BULLETIN: Maciel dead

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From the AP: VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Rev. Marcial Maciel, a Mexican priest who founded the Legionaries of Christ religious order and was disciplined by Pope Benedict XVI after sex abuse allegations, has died in the United States, his […]

Pssst! Want tickets to see the pope?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’ve been told it’s a lost cause, but American Papist has a few ideas. Check ‘em out. And good luck. I know the Diocese of Brooklyn has been given a grand total of three (3) tickets per parish. My parish […]

A Super Bowl room that is truly divine

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Looking for a room for the Super Bowl? No problem. Really. There is a little heavenly help available, according to this item in the New York Daily News: Nuns at a Phoenix monastery are renting out 10 of their rooms […]

Where the streets have no name: a stunning Super Bowl moment

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While doing a little search for more memorable Super Bowl moments, or at least some cool ads, I stumbled upon the one below. I didn’t see it when it first aired in 2002. But it is a stunner. Audacious, and […]

“My confessor, my friend”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader in South Carolina sent this column along with a note: “This guy sounds like a great priest.” He sure does: There are people who stand by you. People who inspire you. People you imagine will always be there […]

Sanctuary

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That is exactly what the immigrant in this story is seeking — and for the time being, a Methodist church is willing to provide it: A Mexican woman says she is “picking up the torch” from another illegal resident who […]

You are loved

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Every now and then, we all need to be reminded. A classmate once told me about some advice he received from a priest on the subject of preaching: “Just remember,” the priest said, “to tell the people that God loves […]

Ave Verum

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Anchoress just posted a lovely rendition of Ave Verum. Ironically, the version by Mozart was ringing in my ears yesterday morning: our choir sang it during communion at the 11:30 mass. Here’s a gorgeous recording I found on YouTube.

Lift high the cross

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is an interesting wrinkle in this election year — and I’m sure Massachusetts isn’t the only place confronting this issue: A Catholic church serving as a polling location won’t have to cover up religious images on election day. Officials […]

Tag. I’m it.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

My favorite gal in a wimple has just notified me that I’ve been “meme’d”, which I think is a good thing. The meme is this: 1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).2. Open the book […]

“Liturgy”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader sent me a note today from — of all places — New Zealand. He runs a spirituality website that is now devoting some time and attention to that precious prayer of the church, the Liturgy of the Hours. […]

A great Super Bowl commercial for 2008

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This one is slated to air during the 2008 Super Bowl, but it’s gaining a fast following on YouTube. Turn up the sound and enjoy.

Back from the brink: a Retrouvaille story

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Two of the great unsung heroes of the modern church are a couple programs designed to help marriages: Marriage Encounter and Retrouvaille. My wife and I made a Marriage Encounter weekend several years ago, and found it immensely enriching. But […]

A priest’s rant

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The following was sent to me, anonymously, from someone who spotted it on Craigslist. I can think of quite a few priests who might have written it. Take it for what it is: a colorful and frank (and, I think, […]

St. Louis coach: “My value judgment happens to differ from the archbishop’s”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here’s the latest on the controversy swirling around the St. Louis University basketball coach who is pro-Hillary, pro-abortion, and pro-embryonic stem cell research, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Surprised by the reaction to his pro-choice, pro-embryonic stem cell research […]

Go ahead. I dare you not to cry.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s another great commercial from Super Bowls past: Anheuser Busch, from 2005. Grab a hanky and watch.

Another sign of the coming apocalypse

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this: Faced with growing competition from cheaper rivals, Starbucks Corp. is testing offering small cups of drip coffee for $1 with free refills in its hometown. That’s about 50 cents less […]

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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