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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Deacons Archives

“She’s one of God’s creatures, although she’s a Unitarian”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Blessing of the Animals is not uncommon around the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, in October. But in the city named for the saint, they didn’t want to wait for the fall: If Ursula could talk, she’d probably […]

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And the award for Best Dalmatic goes to…

posted by deacon greg kandra

This guy. From yesterday’s installation of Robert Carlson as the new Archbishop of St. Louis.

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Honoring Jim

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some of you may remember my writing about Deacon Jim Hynes, my deacon classmate (and fellow Disney fanatic) who died tragically last year after a brief but valiant battle with cancer. They’ve just put a stone at his grave, and […]

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LA prepares to welcome nine “deacon couples”

posted by deacon greg kandra

As is its custom, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is celebrating the upcoming ordination of nine new deacons by also saluting the candidates’ wives, who study by their sides during formation. What parishes get, it seems, is a two-for-one deal. […]

The son of a deacon receives five sacraments at one parish

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s something that doesn’t happen all that often, but it just did in Washington, DC: a man ordained to the priesthood received his fifth sacrament at one church. From the Catholic Standard: For Father Andrew Davy, it seemed only fitting […]

D-Day, the 6th of June

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s “D” for deacons. In addition to the ordination yesterday of nine men in Gary, Indiana, St. Louis also saw several ordinations: Bishop Robert Hermann ordained 11 men to the Order of the Permanent Diaconate at 10 a.m. Saturday, June […]

Gary’s got ‘em: nine new deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some happy news for a Sunday morning: Indiana has nine shiny new deacons for the Diocese of Gary: Many are called. Few answer. Dennis Guernsey jokes he’s a little deaf, but God’s call came loud and clear in mid-life. “I […]

More brothers in the City of Brotherly Love

posted by deacon greg kandra

And the ordinations keep rolling in. Philadelphia just added more deacons to the roster: The reading from Acts, chapter 6 at the May 30 Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul was most appropriate. “… So they […]

More on the new deacons of Brooklyn

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few days ago, I posted the first glimpse at the 20 new deacons ordained Saturday for Brooklyn. The diocesan paper has a complete write-up. The paper’s editor has penned an essay on the vocation right here. And there are […]

The Dodgers may have left, but Brooklyn does have The Deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

This just in, from beautiful downtown Brooklyn: a first glimpse at the newest of New York’s deacons, the class of 2009. Below, scenes from an ordination. I’ll post a link to the Tablet article when it’s published next week. Meantime, […]

Here come the new deacons of Brooklyn…

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m off to the diaconate ordination at St. James Cathedral. Will post pictures when I return! Woo hoo!

May 19, 2007

posted by deacon greg kandra

Happy Anniversary, brothers!

More Jersey boys: Trenton welcomes new deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

And now, Trenton. The Diocese ordained a baker’s dozen o’ deacons last weekend. The Monitor, the diocesan paper, has a full report: Thirteen men were ordained to the permanent diaconate by Bishop John M. Smith in St. Mary of the […]

Jersey boys: Camden’s new deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

Happy news from south Jersey: last weekend, they added 10 more deacons to the roster. From the Catholic Star Herald in Camden: Bishop Joseph A. Galante ordained 10 men as deacons on Saturday morning, May 9, at Church of the […]

New deacons for Brooklyn!

posted by deacon greg kandra

My own diocese is preparing to ordain the first class of deacons since Your Humble Blogger’s, and the hometown paper (The Tablet) has biographies of the candidates. Twenty men will join us, bringing the total number of deacons in my […]

Former deacon threatened with excommunication

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a curious bit of news about a former deacon determined to become a priest in a schismatic church: The Diocese of Scranton is notifying parishioners that James Calderone, a former deacon at St. Aloysius Church of Wilkes-Barre, will be […]

“The Simpsons” got new deacons??!!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, it’s Springfield. Massachusetts, that is. The article is right here, along with names and some details. I’ll try to post more when I know more. Congratulations, brothers!

The deacon who experienced a miracle

posted by deacon greg kandra

With John Henry Newman now headed toward sainthood, attention is being focused on the man who was miraculously healed by Newman’s intercession. He is a permanent deacon from Massachusetts. And the Boston Globe caught up with him: Lying in a […]

“We are called to preach who we are and what we are”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“As you go forth in your preparation, you will spend much time preparing homilies. But even more important is the preparation of the homilist. That means, we are called to preach who we are and what we are. We preach […]

“We lost a true giant…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The great Triple D — Deacon Doctor (William) Ditewig — sent this my way, and I’m happy to post it: a reflection on Deacon John Pistone, that Bill penned for the nation’s diocesan diaconate directors: “Standing on the shoulders of […]

Sing, choirs of angels: deacons on the Exultet

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some weeks back, I wrote about the challenge of singing the Exultet — and I’ve gone on record describing my own experience scaling that mountain for the first time. Now the refrain has been picked up by the Catholic Review […]

Soldier, deacon, teacher, priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

This obituary from the Philadelphia Daily News caught my eye: it’s about a priest who was ordained late in life and, in a rare exception, served as a permanent deacon for a number of years before entering the priesthood: The […]

Remembering Deacon John Pistone

posted by deacon greg kandra

A man who might well be reckoned a giant in the diaconate community has left us. A suburban Chicago paper takes note: One of the most influential figures in the Archdiocese of Chicago’s program to prepare men to become ordained […]

A designing deacon puts his stamp on Archbishop Dolan’s coat of arms

posted by deacon greg kandra

Below is a first glimpse (or second, thanks to Rocco) of Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s new coat of arms that will soon adorn St. Patrick’s. An explanation of what it all means — and a nod to the permanent deacon, Paul […]

A deacon on fire with the Lord — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has a new deacon — and he probably has one of the more unusual resumes in the chancery: Fire Chief James Clack aims to keep us out of blazes – in Baltimore and in the hereafter. […]

A father becomes a Father…at 80

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Canada comes this remarkable story of a permanent deacon being ordained to the priesthood — but like so many, his journey was unique: Growing up on a West Quebec farm in the 1930s, Gerard Lafreniere’s dream came to him […]

“Pews are empty because we haven’t done our jobs”

posted by deacon greg kandra

How can deacons help evangelize? The Tidings, the Catholic newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, this week offers one answer, with this intriguing look at a unique deacon ministry that is striving to meet people where they are: In […]

Deacons and the Chrism Mass??

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert priest sent this my way, and I thought it worth posting and discussing. From Zenit: Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university. Q: During Holy Week the Chrism Mass […]

St. Stephen, asleep

posted by deacon greg kandra

Googling around for background on this Sunday’s readings, I found this unusual depiction of St. Stephen — first martyr of the Church, and patron of deacons. It’s called “Saint Stephen Mourned by Saints Gamaliel and Nicodemus,” by a follower of […]

Deacon gets spotlight on Letterman

posted by deacon greg kandra

Does the guy below look like David Letterman? Letterman’s producers evidently think so. Read on: Tuesday night, the Rev. Deacon Larry Sisterman went to bed early, happy that he and his wife had finally finished their taxes. He awoke Wednesday […]

“This is a ministry with a proud history of service”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another deacon who’s worked in the media is making news in the Archdiocese of Washington: Deacon Al Turner, a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Washington and former ABC News cameraman, has been named the director of the archdiocese’s Office […]

Two deacon dads, one memorable wedding

posted by deacon greg kandra

This may be one for the record books. I got an e-mail about this from Jim Alt, editor and publisher of Deacon Digest. It’s the surprising story of a wedding where the father of the bride and the father of […]

“Do not let your hearts be troubled…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can’t believe it’s been a year. We miss you, brother. Deacon Jim HynesJuly 31, 1958 – February 26, 2008

Boston’s message to deacons: “Step up to the plate”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The deacons of Boston had their annual convocation recently, and The Pilot has the scoop: Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley briefed permanent deacons on new archdiocesan initiatives and emphasized the increased importance of their ministry in the coming year at their […]

Another view of Dolan and deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another reader, reacting to this post about a perceived slight by the new Archbishop of New York, dropped me a line, with a great story about Archbishop Dolan: [I’m] discerning a vocation to the permanent diaconate in a diocese that […]

What? No deacons?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A deacon writes: Deacon Greg: I fully realize from all the testimony that Archbishop Dolan is a good man. However, (and this may be my own shortcoming) he gets off on the wrong foot with me by no acknowlegement of […]

“A baker’s dozen” of deacons ordained in Atlanta

posted by deacon greg kandra

At the “calling of the candidates,” Miguel Echevarría of St. Catherine of Siena Church, Kennesaw, joins his fellow deacon candidates in the center aisle of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, during the Feb. 7 diaconate ordination as his […]

“God doesn’t call the qualified– He qualifies the called.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I stumbled on this inspiring story of a deacon in Florida Catholic, which focuses on his ministry as part of the diocese’s annual fundraising appeal: Now-Deacon Walt Skinner served his church as a youth minister for many years, but that […]

“God had other plans for him”

posted by deacon greg kandra

You may remember the sad story of Deacon Adam Crowe, who died suddenly, just a few months before his scheduled ordination to the priesthood. A reader alerted me to this touching tribute from a local paper in upstate New York: […]

Peachy: new deacons in Atlanta!

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Archdiocese of Atlanta ordained a fresh batch this weekend, and if you visit Padre Vic’s blog, you can see a nifty slide show of the whole event. Above, the boys before vesting. Visit the link to see the “ontological […]

“Marriage in the Lord”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several weeks back, I got a nice e-mail from Deacon James Keating, Director of Theological Formation for the Institute of Priestly Formation at Creighton University, asking if I’d like to give a listen to a couple of CDs that he’s […]

Deacons in the Archdiocese for the Military Services

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last week I posted this interesting item on deacons who serve as military chaplains in Canada. Now Roman Catholic Vocations has a follow up, with more details from the United States. The item below comes from the AMS (Archdiocese for […]

SSPX and married deacons: “completely unlawful”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader who is a deacon candidate sent this along to me, and it seems worth some attention. If anyone is wondering how the SSPX feels about deacons and celibacy, take a look: In the fall of 1995, the French […]

“The ministry of presence:” the deacon on the battlefield

posted by deacon greg kandra

This caught my eye over at the blog Roman Catholic Vocations: the story of a Canadian permanent deacon who is also a military chaplain: In an environment where death and brutality is inevitably part of the process, faith and religion […]

When a seminarian dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Diocese of Ogdensburg is grieving this week over the sudden death of a seminarian, Deacon Adam Crowe, who would have been ordained this spring. This tragic news hits especially hard in vocation-strapped Ogdensburg; Crowe was the only candidate for […]

The good Deacon Good has a website — and blog!

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got a nice e-mail the other day from Deacon Timothy Good, from the Diocese of Erie, alerting me to his webpage and blog. Drop and pay a visit: the link is here. And tell him hello from “The Deacon’s […]

The missing clergyman — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

When this item popped up on the wires the other day, it sounded like a clever idea: A new website was launched today which endeavors to ignite some Catholic enthusiasm and devotion onto your computer’s desktop. Catholic Desktops wants to […]

To serve and protect: police officers called to ministry

posted by deacon greg kandra

A surprising number of deacons in my diocese are retired cops — an indication, perhaps, of how deeply the call to serve others filters through every aspect of their lives. Now a paper in upstate New York has taken a […]

Ahoy! A deacon puts “both oars in”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some noteworthy deacon news from the Catholic News Agency: they’ve launched a regular column by Deacon Patrick Moynihan: CNA is excited to introduce a new current events and political column written by Deacon Patrick Moynihan, a permanent deacon for the […]

A deacon on a mission: “I still ask, ‘Why me?'”

posted by deacon greg kandra

You never know where deacons will pop up — or what you’ll find them doing. And this item from a paper in upstate New York gives a great example: A trip to Jamaica changed Kevin Carges’ life. There, he saw […]

A virtual church — and virtually me

posted by deacon greg kandra

Illustration by Dan Salamida Some doofus is babbling on in America magazine this week about blogging. But I do think the illustration is pretty hilarious, and bears an uncanny resemblance to the author. Oh: and if you’re really bored, you […]

At the inaugural: the Tuskegee Airman who is also a deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader sent this my way: the surprising, largely untold story of a special guest at the Obama inaugural: Among the millions who braved the cold to watch as President Barack Obama made history by becoming this nation’s first African-American […]

Speaking of deacons and social justice…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…which was a big topic of discussion following this post, the deacons of the Diocese of Brooklyn received a letter this weekend from Bishop DiMarzio. It begins with this quote from the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life […]

A reader writes

posted by deacon greg kandra

A deacon sent me this e-mail yesterday, which is challenging and thought-provoking — for me and, perhaps, for all deacons: I read your column (blog) regularly and enjoy it. It is obvious that you enjoy your ministry – especially your […]

What’s a deacon?

posted by deacon greg kandra

This chump thinks he knows.

Another deacon wades into the web!

posted by deacon greg kandra

A recently ordained deacon up in Canada has just launched his own website — a gift, he tells me, from his wife. The deacon is Lynn Pion from Edmonton Archdiocese in Alberta, Canada. The site is a small treasure trove […]

Luring back lapsed Catholics: “With hurt, there’s a call to reconcile”

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s a renewed push in many parishes to lure back Catholics who have wandered away from the faith. And this item, about one deacon’s efforts, illustrates one move underway in Memphis: Dressed in cream-colored robes, beneath a portrait of the […]

Where’s Waldo? Probably in church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another married man, a convert, is about to become a priest. The local paper in San Angelo, Texas, has the scoop on a cleric named Waldo: Waldo Emerson “Knick” Knickerbocker, a married former Episcopalian minister, will be ordained as a […]

Wholly family: “Ordinary lives touched in a special way by God’s grace”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With the Feast of the Holy Family on Sunday, the Catholic Standard in Washington has a wonderful glimpse at how one family aspiring to holiness produced two priests — one of whom is about to be ordained a bishop. And […]

Paul Weyrich: the deacon who launched a movement

posted by deacon greg kandra

The man who coined the phrase “moral majority” died last week — but most Americans may not have known that he was a Catholic and a deacon. The fine blog Get Religion has more: The most important thing to remember […]

The Big Easy’s big ordination

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader (and newly ordained deacon!) alerted me to this happy news: 23 men were ordained last week in N’ahlins. The Clarion Herald newspaper has a full write-up, including biographies of the men and more pictures (in a pdf file) […]

Ordering a refill of faith at “The Catholic Cafe”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I was cheered to find this item in a Tennessee paper about another deacon working in broadcasting. Is this a trend, or what? From the Memphis Commercial Appeal: Amid the clatter of plates and the sound of coffee being poured, […]

Deacons as airport chaplains: a ministry takes off

posted by deacon greg kandra

We tend to think of chaplains as being assigned primarily to hospitals or military bases — but you will also find them at some of America’s busiest airports. And — increasingly — they are deacons. From Florida Catholic: It’s lunchtime, […]

Setting sail in Columbus: 15 new deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

A thoughtful reader alerted me to this wonderful news, an early Christmas present to the Church: St. Joseph Cathedral was filled to capacity on Saturday November 29th to witness the ordination of fifteen men as Permanent Deacons for the Diocese […]

Remembering the anniversary of a giant among deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pope Benedict took some time yesterday to recall St. Lawrence, 1,750 years after his martyrdom. The Advent-related theme was about the importance of being watchful, and vigilant: “Vigilance means spending every instant of our time within the horizon of His […]

When a deacon dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few months ago, one of my classmates who was ordained with me just last year died after a brief illness. The deacons of Atlanta have now suffered a similar loss. I got the following e-mail earlier tonight: Deacon Dale […]

“Remember, Christ calls us to be the voice…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is noteworthy, mostly because it’s the sort of thing that doesn’t usually get much attention. But it should. It’s a story about a group of deacon candidates being admitted to the ministry of reader (or lector) in Kansas: Be […]

A first: the son of a deacon is named a bishop — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader who knows about this sort of thing wrote me with this exciting news, which has gone largely unreported: it seems the fella just named the new auxiliary bishop for Washington, Msgr. Barry Knestout is the son of a […]

A message from the pope: “Dear Deacons..”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lo and behold, the blog Roman Catholic Vocations unearthed this terrific address from two years ago, and it’s well worth reading. It’s Pope Benedict’s remarks to the permanent deacons of his own diocese in Rome, from February of 2006. A […]

A brush with the divine

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Texas comes this enlightening and inspiring story of a deacon of many talents — one of them, using a brush and paint: On any afternoon, artist Rolando Lujan could be found working on an art project, whether it’s painting […]

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 […]

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, […]

A deacon’s work in Appalachia: “From your hands to my hands to their hands”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A monsignor who lives nearby sent me the following, from one of our local newspapers in Queens: the story of a deacon doing some remarkable work among the people of Appalachia. Take a look: Imagine for a moment your life […]

Prayers, please

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Longtime readers may remember a deacon by the name of Tom Stonecipher; last year, I posted an item on him and his remarkable journey to the Catholic Church and the diaconate. Yesterday, the diaconate grapevine passed along news that Deacon […]

Like father, like son

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Back during Benedict’s visit to the United States, I wondered about the deacons serving beside the pope. Did anyone know who they were? Now, I have at least one answer, from the Catholic Standard — and his story is really […]

News from the Transitional Deacon desk

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A thoughtful reader by the name of John Vaskov sent along the pictures below with the following note: Last week we had the privilege of traveling to Rome for the diaconate ordination of 25 men from the Pontifical North American […]

Serving in Sioux City: four new deacons ordained

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

News from Iowa: a new crop of deacons has sprouted! From the Catholic Globe: During the ordination Mass to the permanent diaconate Oct. 4 at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City, four men were called forward. Byron Gene […]

Deacons in the Service of Life

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from the wife of a deacon, alerting me to a growing movement called Deacons in the Service of Life, an outgrowth of Priests for Life. A message by Deacon Neil Crispo on the website summons […]

“The leadership of our diocese is not supportive of the permanent diaconate…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Of the nearly 200 dioceses in America, a handful still do not have formation programs for the permanent diaconate. That’s led to some frustration, disappointment and resentment. Case in point: earlier today, I got an e-mail from a reader in […]

Department of Shameless Self-Promotion

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The good folks at Our Sunday Visitor have just published a special vocations section — and Your Humble Blogger is prominently featured on the front page. (Be afraid. Be very afraid.) The link will take you to the menu, where […]

St. Francis of Assisi, deacon: “We ought to be servants”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“St. Francis of Assisi at Prayer”by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1645. Many people mistakenly think that St. Francis of Assisi must have been a priest. Nope. He was a deacon. On this, his feast, we are reminded of his spirit of […]

New deacons in Indiana: “The journey is just starting”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A newly ordained deacon sent along this news: Indiana has five new deacons (he’s one of them), and there’s a full write up (and lots of pictures) in the Catholic Moment newspaper: In a celebration that blended prayer, music, pageantry […]

What’s cooking? Ask the deacon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I stumbled across this news story during my usual Google search this morning and thought: “They buried the lede.” A Mississippi chef who is also a deacon? That’s news! Take a look: Bill Vrazel gets a kick out of those […]

Palm Beach celebrates the “servants in the servant-church”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

During a recent trip to Florida, I was stunned to visit a parish that had not just one deacon, or two, but six. Yes, six. The vocation in the Sunshine State is booming. And Florida Catholic looks at this trend […]

Forever Youngstown: new deacons for Ohio

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With the end of summer, something else is beginning: a new crop of deacons flourishing in Youngstown, Ohio. I haven’t seen any ordination pics yet — Buckeyes, send them my way! — but the Catholic Exponent had a preview a […]

Kentucky’s other thoroughbreds: deacons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The continuing curiosity about and interest in the diaconate has reached the hills of Kentucky. A paper in Lexington has this write-up about the latest class of deacons ordained for the Bluegrass State: Richard Abbey has a new vocation. The […]

Should deacons wear the collar?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Every now and then, I hear from deacons and deacon candidates who ask that very question. Some have seen pictures of deacons in other dioceses in clerical attire and asked, “What’s up with that?” I can almost hear them scratching […]

A diaconate ministry takes off

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the prevailing truths of the diaconate is that you never know where, or when, you’ll encounter a deacon in the midst of his ministry. This piece from the Georgia Bulletin is a reminder of that: More than a […]

You’ve just been ordained a deacon, what are you going to do next?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“I’m going to Disney World!” Well, it helps if you live right down the road from The Mouse, like the gentleman on the left. A reader sent me his picture with the following note: “Congratulations to Deacon James Stokes — […]

The art of being a deacon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In my own diocese of Brooklyn, the local paper has just profiled one of my brother deacons, who has a unique ministry using his abundant talents as an artist. Frequent visitors to The Bench may know him as the creative […]

The deacon is a gumshoe

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Deacons come from all walks of life, but here’s a new deacon with a particularly unusual resume, from Canada: For almost 40 years, Jean-Paul Tremblay investigated crime, first as a supervisor with the Sûreté du Québec in Low, Hull and […]

Being a deacon: “Like being a grandfather — you don’t want to give it up”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A Michigan paper this weekend offered this very informative piece about the deacons of Detroit: More than two decades ago, John Connors heard God’s voice calling. “There was a little voice inside that said, ‘I have something more for you,’” […]

This is the kingdom

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you have a moment, wander over to The Deacon’s Studio and have a look-see. Brooklyn deacon and artist Bernard Deschler (a.k.a. “Boinie”) periodically posts his art (including some sly cartoons) that offer a different slant on the church, faith, […]

Lining up in Louisville

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some happy news from the Bluegrass State: the Archdiocese of Louisville will be adding 14 more deacons to its ranks at the end of this week. The local Catholic paper, the Record, has the news, for the record, including brief […]

“This blessed moment”: new deacons in Belleville

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A deacon from Illinois wanted me to know they’ve been busy ordaining more men in Belleville — and no, they aren’t priests. From the Belleville Messenger: Seven men were ordained permanent deacons July 26 at St. Peter Cathedral in Belleville […]

“O glorious St. Lawrence, blessed deacon of the church…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

August the 10th marks the feast of a great deacon and martyr of the Church, St. Lawrence. He famously died while being burned to death on a grill. (Significantly, the feast day which precedes his, St. Teresa Benedicta of the […]

Little Rock’s big class

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This picture appears this week in the diocesan paper of Little Rock, Arkansas Catholic, celebrating the largest diaconate class ever. The item notes: For the first time, the diocese is hosting formation classes in Spanish as well as English. The […]

“Seminarians learned from their parents how to live and how to love”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This story caught my attention for a variety of reasons — not least, because the event in question involved my old parish, where I served almost 40 years ago (gulp) as an altar boy. The archdiocese sponsors a special day […]

Getting out of Dodge

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Scott Dodge, that is. And if you visit his dandy blog, you will get a lot out of it. He’s got plenty of news, and ample spiritual food for thought. If his name seems vaguely familiar, I blogged about him […]

“I think we need to look at deacons differently”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Out in Wyoming, a local paper just published this interesting look at the Church of the West (West of the Mississippi, that is) and how it’s preparing for the future: The three men in black sat together on what traditionally […]

When God calls

posted by deacon greg kandra

The AP is sitting up and taking notice of the 25 shiny new deacons just ordained in Indianapolis. This is a very good overview of the vocation with some terrific insights into its growth: After resisting the idea for more […]

WYD: a letter from Sydney

posted by deacon greg kandra

A deacon from Sydney, Australia by the name of Elliott Casalegno sent me the following dispatch. It’s a great ground’s-eye view of what it’s like to be a part of this remarkable event. Read, and enjoy: It is my first […]

Ron Hansen: “Writing is a ministry”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m almost finished reading Ron Hansen’s superb new novel,“Exiles”, so I was intrigued to see this profile of the author — and deacon — and to read his thoughts on his twin vocations: Best-selling novelist Ron Hansen stood in the […]

O Canada! Edmonton welcomes its first deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some happy news report from our neighbors to the north, as the Archdiocese of Edmonton just ordained its first class of deacons: It was with joy and awe that the Edmonton Archdiocese welcomed its first class of permanent deacons July […]

Hartford and Washington welcome new deacons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And the ordinations continue! The Archdiocese of Washington just ordained 16 new deacons, and assigned them to their new ministries. You can read all about it in the Catholic Standard. And the Archdiocese of Hartford in Connecticut just welcomed eight […]

Who says ‘It don’t rain in Indianapolis’?

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s raining deacons. Fr. Bede Cisco, Director of Diaconate Formation for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, kindly alerted me to a wonderful spread on the recent history-making ordination in the Criterion, the archdiocesan newspaper. Do give it a look. And visit […]

More on the Hoosier deacons — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several days ago, I mentioned The Indy 25, a big batch of deacons ordained in Indianapolis in its first-ever class. Now, a local paper has picked up the story: The Archdiocese of Indianapolis, cut from the wilderness nearly 175 years […]

Georgia on my mind

posted by deacon greg kandra

The diaconate is becoming such a presence in the Church, even the secular media are sitting up and taking notice. This, from the Savannah Morning News, in Georgia: The Rev. Bienvenido Perez Jr. assists at Mass every weekday at the […]

Big news in Little Rock: its largest deacon class yet

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The diaconate vocation keeps growing by leaps and bounds — and this item from the diocesan paper in Arkansas confirms it: The Diocese of Little Rock has accepted 50 men to begin the diaconate formation process, making it the largest […]

A new deacon: making room at the inn

posted by deacon greg kandra

In Massachusetts, there’s a great story that shows both the diversity and uniqueness of the diaconate vocation. The new member of the clergy is an innkeeper in New England (why do I keep picturing Bob Newhart?), and a convert, who […]

The Indy 25

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got a heads-up the other day from no less than two people that the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is about to make a little history, ordaining its very first class of deacons. Twenty five men will receive the sacrament of […]

Boston’s diaconate ordination

posted by deacon greg kandra

While I was on vacation, Boston added 26 more deacons to Beantown’s roster. And the website of the diocesan paper, The Pilot, has a terrific photo essay, complete with audio. (The full write-up can be found right here.) This, I […]

Serving the Father, while being a father

posted by deacon greg kandra

For Father’s Day, a paper in Salt Lake City ran a terrific profile of a deacon with a young and growing family. How does it do it? Take a look below. (A jolly H/T to Jeff the Curt Jester, btw!): […]

The City of Angels welcomes new deacons — and their wives

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert reader sent this my way: an article from The Tidings, the Catholic paper of Los Angeles, on the ordination of deacons there last week. Read closely — there are some interesting details about the ceremony and the inclusion […]

I wonder if they have this on Amazon.com…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sing a new song!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last weekend — the weekend when I celebrated the anniversary of my own ordination just one year ago — our neighbors to the east welcomed some new deacons, as the Diocese of Rockville Centre (on Long Island) ordained 13. Visit […]

God-smacked

posted by deacon greg kandra

That is how this article describes the experience of one newly ordained deacon, who says his spiritual journey was something like Paul on the road to Damascus. It’s a great yarn, from the Grand Forks Herald: His spiritual re-awakening in […]

“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 […]

Happy Anniversary!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Where were you on May 19, 2007? This is where I was: face down, on the floor of a basilica in Brooklyn. It was one year ago that I was ordained to the order of deacon. Congratulations and blessings to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Just in time for the pope, a fresh batch of deacons!

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader sent me some news several days ago: a new group of deacons was ordained earlier this month in the Diocese of Worcester (Massachusetts). The local Catholic paper had the news: Bishop McManus will ordain seven men into the […]

Every pope needs a deacon. Or two.

posted by deacon greg kandra

From vespers at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, April 16, 2008. Anybody know who those two lucky fellows might be?

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: […]

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 […]

The deacon in a wheelchair: “If I could change things, I don’t know if I would”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here is a story to give hope and uplift to anyone who has ever faced problems in life that seemed insurmountable: testimony by people from all walks of life who are living with physical challenges. One of those people: a […]

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 […]

A deacon’s ministry behind bars

posted by deacon greg kandra

You never know where a deacon will pop up. This item about a deacon in prison ministry comes from a newspaper in Canada, and columnist Peter Duffy. It illustrates the surprising and vitally important work deacons are doing beyond the […]

Welcome to a new blog: “Art and the Catholic Church”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A hearty “Deacon’s Bench” hello to a shiny new deacon’s blog — from Brooklyn, no less! — focusing on art and the church. It’s the brainchild of an artist and brother deacon by the name of Bernard M. Deschler, whose […]

Rejoice, heavenly powers: my first Triduum as deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last time I checked, I still had a pulse. Over the last four days, there were times I wasn’t sure that would be the case. But at this late hour on Easter night, I can finally say, with certainty: I […]

Mentioning the unmentionable from the pulpit: “I was honestly shocked”

posted by deacon greg kandra

When was the last time you heard contraception or Natural Family Planning mentioned in the pulpit? A show of hands? Me neither. But a deacon in Alaska took up the subject not long ago — and had a powerful impact […]

Ireland’s “Year of Vocation”(s)

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Clerical Whispers, there is news about a “Year of Vocation” being trumpeted in Ireland — a place that needs vocations (singular and plural) more desperately than most of us can imagine. (N.B. near the bottom, a reference to […]

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 […]

Deacon Jim Hynes, 1958-2008

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not long ago, I posted about Deacon Jim, classmate and brother deacon and friend, who was diagnosed with cancer. Last night, Jim’s journey came to an end. Lord, who shall be admitted to your tentand dwell on your holy mountain? […]

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 […]

Hugs and happiness for Atlanta’s new deacons — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Archdiocese of Atlanta welcomed a new batch of deacons a couple weeks back — and the Georgia Bulletin was there. The remarks by Archbishop Gregory struck me as especially vital, and necessary: Twenty robes and neatly folded stoles rested […]

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, […]

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 […]

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: […]

The other Atlanta Braves: 20 new deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

Nothing, I think, is quite as rare as an ordination during Lent. But that’s not stopping the gang down in Atlanta, where a new class of deacons is about to be ordained tomorrow. From the Georgia Bulletin: There will soon […]

Insurance agent, waiter, husband, father, deacon…and priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Wisconsin paper has the story of a deacon — soon to be a priest — who has followed an unusual career path: After working as an insurance agent and a waiter at Tippin’s, Mike McLain is now adding deacon […]

Deacon Dave’s “ministry of lights”

posted by deacon greg kandra

For a quarter century, a Catholic deacon in California has transformed his home into a cosmic light show for Christmas. Now, he’s at it again: It’s one thing to get the ladder out, drag the holiday light string up to […]

The deacons of December: Tyler, Texas welcomes 35 this month

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A thoughtful reader sent along this article from a paper in East Texas, with the happy news that still more new deacons will be joining our ranks this month: Bishop Álvaro Corrada, SJ, will ordain 35 men to the permanent […]

They clean up nicely, don’t they?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Below, a new shot of the Five Amigos, just ordained in San Bernardino: Congratulations, again!

High five: San Bernardino ordains new deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

A regular visitor to The Bench, Pete Bond, sent me this wonderful bit of news: Saturday, he and four other men will become the newest members of the diaconate family in California: As most of the faithful are aware, “Gaudete” […]

Maryland deacon charged with incest

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Grim news from the Archdiocese of Washington, where a deacon has been charged with sex abuse: Police have charged a Roman Catholic deacon with incest for allegedly abusing an underage female relative in the 1960s and 1970s. Dan Paul Stallings […]

With six you get deacons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Conveniently — and meaningfully — the Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts ordained new deacons yesterday, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception: Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell ordained six men as permanent deacons of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield […]

A deacon’s son — and seminarian

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to be a seminarian today? This piece from a paper in Salt Lake City profiles one seminarian — who, it turns out, is the son of a deacon: “Whether you’re new or almost finished with your seminary […]

Seattle slew: 21 deacons ordained in Washington

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader sent this along late Sunday: a fresh dollop of deacons (21 of ‘em) in Seattle, ordained just before Thanksgiving. Is that something to be thankful for, or what? Here’s more: Some are converts. Others are “cradle Catholics.” Their […]

The deacon with a badge

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve always been impressed at the surprisingly large number of cops and former cops who find themselves attracted to the diaconate. There are a number of them in the Diocese of Brooklyn — each enthusiastically continuing the vocation to serve […]

The doctor who’s a deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Many of us know what it’s like to have God get under our skin. But here’s a story of a deacon in California who perhaps understands that better than most: he’s Dr. David Sire, a dermatologist with a powerful backstory […]

Alex Jones: the evangelical who became a Catholic deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the more celebrated Catholic converts — and a recently ordained deacon, by the way — is former evangelical Alex Jones. He now spends much of his time traveling the country, talking about his journey back to the Church. […]

Permanent in Portland: deacons ordained in Oregon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Deacon doings out in Portland, Oregon: news that they’ve just ordained a half dozen more men to the diaconate: Six men were ordained permanent deacons Saturday for service in Catholic parishes of western Oregon. “Today’s celebration is all about service, […]

Deacons taking root and flourishing in Virginia

posted by deacon greg kandra

If anyone doesn’t know what deacons are — and, from experience, I can tell you that many don’t — here’s some help. A leading newspaper in southern Virginia, the Virginian-Pilot, has a surprisingly in-depth (and, for once, surprisingly accurate) article […]

“What can I do for you?”: reflections on the diaconate

posted by deacon greg kandra

I stumbled across this excellent reflection on deacons and it’s too good not to share. It’s by Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland, Oregon: “What can I do for you?” With those words Archbishop John Foley began his homily in St. […]

Ask the deacon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The following item appeared in my parish bulletin last weekend. It got a lot of reaction, so I thought I’d post it here. Enjoy. This weekend marks my five-month anniversary as an ordained member of the Catholic clergy. Time flies […]

Orlando’s first deacons: “God called me and I wandered in”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The very first deacon class of the Diocese of Orlando celebrated it’s 25th anniversary last month, and the Florida Catholic newspaper took note: They were the class of ’82. Thirteen men, sent forth by their pastors at the behest of […]

Motown’s newest hits: deacons!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An alert reader pointed out that Detroit has just ordained a batch of deacons — 15, in fact. The Michigan Catholic newspaper has a terrific write-up, complete with biographies of the men, pictures and short essays about their vocational journeys. […]

Ahoy! Cape Cod ordains deacons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Word is filtering down from from Massachusetts that they’ve just welcomed a new crop of deacons. From the local paper: Six Cape and Islands men were among the 13 ordained as permanent deacons yesterday at Corpus Christi Church, said a […]

A new blog, from a deacon candidate

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I noticed a new website on my sitemeter, checked it out and, lo and behold, it seems to be all about one man’s journey toward ordination as a Catholic deacon. There’s a lot of interesting material here about the author’s […]

See you at Spago, Deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something that’s so unusual and rare, well, it’s just, just…incredibly cool: a deacon who’s a novelist, and who just had his book made into a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt. Ron Hansen has been published a lot in […]

Wanna be a deacon? Pull up a chair.

posted by deacon greg kandra

More dioceses are helping men to discern a vocation to the diaconate, often with “nights of information” or Q&A sessions where those who feel called can hear speakers, listen and learn. It’s also a great opportunity for wives and families […]

Here come more deacons: 25 ordained in Joliet

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just when you thought ordination season was over…another crop of deacons has popped up. Welcome! This fresh batch of permanent deacons comes to us from the Diocese of Joliet, in Illinois. The Catholic Explorer has the write up: Twenty-five men […]

What’s it like to be a deacon’s wife?

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to be married to a member of the Catholic clergy? My wife, seen with Your Humble Blogger on the left (in the recessional at my Mass of Thanksgiving, after being a deacon’s wife for less than 24 […]

Priest “assaulted” deacon?

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the blog Clerical Whispers, we get this piece of news about a priest in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia who has been suspended because of an argument he got into with his parish deacon: The Rev. Joseph J. Clark, […]

Previous Posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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