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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Hanging With Saints Archives

The Wisconsin woman who saw Mary

posted by jmcgee

Who is Adele Brise, the visionary who is responsible for the first approved Marian apparition  in the United States? The Compass has the answer: Adele Joseph Brise’s story began when she arrived from Belgium with her parents, Lambert and Marie […]

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Our Lady of Good Help: “Worthy of belief”

posted by jmcgee

For the first time ever, a Marian apparition in the United States has received formal approval. Details: Bishop David Ricken announced today that he officially approves the Marian apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion. […]

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Princess Diana’s relative moves closer to sainthood

posted by jmcgee

Some intriguing news from across the pond, courtesy the BBC: A distant relative of Princes William and Harry has moved a step closer to becoming a saint. A Vatican investigation has declared that Father Ignatius Spencer, who is buried in […]

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Lest we forget

posted by jmcgee

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord…  To learn more, check out this link or this one. 

Don’t let the light go out

posted by jmcgee

Hanukkah began last night — and this morning after, the Church is reflecting on four lights that were extinguished 30 years ago in El Salvador.  So, a reminder from the troubadours below, to all of us people of faith: don’t […]

Epic: remembering Vietnam’s martyrs in California

posted by jmcgee

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

Petition asks to have Iraqi martyrs canonized

posted by jmcgee

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

Losing its Sheen: Peoria halts push for St. Fulton

posted by jmcgee

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

“I invite you to become saints…”

posted by jmcgee

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

“All you holy men and women, pray for us…”

posted by jmcgee

I was pleased to see the Concord Pastor discovered this recording of John Becker’s beautiful “Litany of the Saints.” It’s been used a time or two in my diocese at the cathedral. While not as haunting as the traditional Gregorian […]

There be drama in “There Be Dragons”

posted by jmcgee

Beliefnet’s Movie Mom Nell Minow is featuring at her blog a promotional clip for the upcoming movie, “There Be Dragons,” about Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei.   The movie is due out in the spring of 2011.  Take a […]

F. Murray Abraham to star as John Henry Newman

posted by jmcgee

The award-winning star of “Amadeus” is scheduled to play the celebrated “blessed,” according to news reports: The first film about Blessed John Henry Newman is in the works. Italian director and screenwriter Liana Marabini, who specialises in directing films about […]

“Everything spoke of God and His presence…”

posted by jmcgee

“Brother André Bessette, originally from Quebec in Canada and a religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, experienced suffering and poverty starting very young. This led him to pay recourse to God in prayer and an intense interior life. […]

The Chile miners’ deacon saint

posted by jmcgee

Pictured above is a statue of St. Lawrence, patron of miners (and chefs). The statue — complete with dalmatic, miner’s helmet, and lamp — was carried to the site of the Chile mine accident in August, shortly after the 33 […]

A feast, and a first

posted by jmcgee

“O God, who bestowed on the Priest Blessed John Henry Newman the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church; graciously grant that, through his intercession and example, we may be led out of shadows and […]

“Make me a channel of your peace…”

posted by jmcgee

For this feast of St. Francis of Assisi: here’s that beloved hymn, sung before what may well have been its largest audience ever, a worldwide congregation of tens of millions, for the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997.  (Footnote: yes, […]

Saint of steel?

posted by jmcgee

A Pittsburgh priest (who was actually born in Massachusetts) is on the path to sainthood. From Ann Rodgers in the Post-Gazette: A Pittsburgh priest who heard the confessions of beggars and of the pope, and who was a voice of […]

A dog who prays? St. Francis would approve.

posted by jmcgee

Just in time for the great saint’s feast, this charming video has popped up on YouTube. H/T Sullivan.

A patron saint of sex abuse victims?

posted by jmcgee

That would be the soon-to-be saint Mary MacKillop — who evidently was (briefly) excommunicated as revenge for seeking to have a priest pedophile brought to justice. Fr. James Martin has details: the astonishing story of Blessed Mary MacKillop, an Australian […]

St. Greg the Great

posted by jmcgee

Today is the feast day of my patron, St. Gregory the Great — who, among many other things, was a writer and a deacon before he went on to becoming a pope and earning the title “great.” (When my wife […]

Mother Teresa: where it all began

posted by jmcgee

As millions around the world mark Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday, you might want to visit this link to see a compelling report by CNN’s Nic Robertson. He pays a visit to what used to be Albania, to Mother Teresa’s hometown, […]

Artists puts his own stamp on Mother Teresa

posted by jmcgee

If you’re wondering who painted the image of Mother Teresa that will soon adorn millions of postage stamps, CNS has the answer: The commemorative stamp of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta being issued by the U.S. Postal Service bears a […]

Abandoned

posted by jmcgee

Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures […]

Miracle deacon: “I’m just an ordinary guy, nobody special”

posted by jmcgee

Before he heads to Birmingham for the beatification of John Henry Newman next month, the deacon miraculously healed by Newman’s intercession is speaking out: Deacon Jack Sullivan got up from his seat next to Bishop David Zubik at the front […]

St. Clare, TV’s patron

posted by jmcgee

August 11 is the feast of a familiar saint, Clare of Assisi.  I know her well.  We have a beautiful engraving of St. Clare hanging in the small chapel of the NET, where I work, and visitors are often surprised […]

St. Lawrence, guardian of the Church’s treasures

posted by jmcgee

St. Lawrence by Deacon Lawrence Klimecki Today marks the feast of a patron for deacons, St. Lawrence, guardian of the treasures of the Church. St. Ambrose reports that when Deacon Lawrence was ordered by the prefect to turn over the […]

On Edith Stein, “Martyr for love”

posted by jmcgee

“St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was able to understand that the love of Christ and human freedom are intertwined, because love and truth have an intrinsic relationship. The quest for truth and its expression in love did not seem […]

“You. Did. This. To. Me.”

posted by jmcgee

Those five words are printed on my copy of a new biography of Mother Teresa, just published by TIME magazine, “Mother Teresa at 100: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint.” The author, Former TIME religion writer David Van […]

Our Lady of Glendale?

posted by jmcgee

Another curious case of a reported weeping statue of Mary, this time in suburban Los Angeles: The miracle stands atop the fireplace, flanked by artisan crucifixes and flower bouquets left by worshipers from across the U.S. For the past two […]

Here comes Don Bosco

posted by jmcgee

Salesians everywhere are excited to learn that the saint’s relics will be coming to the United States next month: More than 16 months after it began a world tour touching over 100 nations, a casket containing relics of St. John […]

John the Baptist in Bulgaria?

posted by jmcgee

Maybe, according to local news reports: Parts of St. John the Baptist’s relics might have been discovered during archaeological excavations in Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea town of Sozopol, report Bulgarian media. Archaeologists investigating the Sv. Ivan (St. John) island off […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“When you hoard all these things in the insatiable bosom of greed, do you suppose that you do nothing wrong in cheating so many people? Who is a greedy man? Someone who is not content with what is sufficient. Who […]

“Miracle” deacon to proclaim the gospel at Newman beatification

posted by jmcgee

Not really a surprising bit of news — but a very nice one nonetheless: Deacon Jack Sullivan, from the Archdiocese of Boston Massachusetts, is to proclaim the Gospel at the Cardinal Newman’s Beaitifcation Mass to be celebrated by Pope Benedict, […]

A saint for Oklahoma?

posted by jmcgee

A priest some consider a modern martyr is on the path to sainthood. Fr. Stanley Rother was murdered in Guatemala nearly 30 years ago, and his cause has now been sent to Rome. From Zenit: Father Rother (1935-1981) was a […]

Brooklyn’s first saint?

posted by jmcgee

It could happen. I didn’t get a chance to post this last week, but it’s noteworthy for so many reasons. Thursday night, Bishop DiMarzio formally opened the cause for the canonization of the late, great Msgr. Bernard J. Quinn — […]

Blessed Lolo: first beatified journalist

posted by jmcgee

On Saturday, the church is beatifying for the first time a journalist — Manuel Lorenzo Garrido, known as “Lolo” — and the video below is a poignant look at his life and work.

Prayer of St. Ephrem

posted by jmcgee

 Lord and Master of my life,   keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement,  lust of power and idle chatter.   Instead, grant to me,   Your servant,   the spirit of wholeness of being, humble-mindedness, patience, and love. O Lord and […]

Worth a thousand words: the mother of a saint

posted by jmcgee

The 100-year-old mother of Father Jerzy Popieliszko, Marianna, center, prays at her son’s grave in front of the St. Stanislaw Kostka church in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, June 5, 2010, ahead of the Sunday beatification of Jerzy Popieluszko. Popieluszko, the Solidarity […]

Prayer to St. Damien

posted by jmcgee

St. Damien, brother on the journey, Happy and generous missionary, who loved the Gospel more than your life, who for love of Jesus left your family, your homeland, your security, your dreams, Teach us to give our lives with a […]

What’s wrong with Jean Vianney?

posted by jmcgee

In certain quarters, some are arguing that the holy French priest selected as the ideal for the Year for Priests isn’t necessarily the best model for the vocation in the 21st century. From the Christian Science Monitor: “Vianney is thought […]

A Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker

posted by jmcgee

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of […]

Behold, a prophet and a saint

posted by jmcgee

Check out this preview of an upcoming documentary on a modern martyr, “Monsenor: The Last Days of Oscar Romero.”  It looks truly extraordinary.

Restless: St. Pio being moved

posted by jmcgee

One of the most beloved saints of the modern era is going to get a new resting place: The Capuchin friars of San Giovanni Rotondo have announced that St. Pio of Pietrelcina’s body will be moved into the new church, […]

What would they say?

posted by jmcgee

Years ago, an old friend who is a Sister of St. Joseph sent me a greeting card with this image on the front. I always liked it. “Women of Peace,” it was called: Eileen Egan, Dorothy Day, and Mother Teresa, […]

Remembering Romero

posted by jmcgee

El Salvador made history today, three decades after the bloody event that gave the 20th century one of its most famous martyrs: Thirty years after Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated as he celebrated Mass, a divided Salvadoran society still struggles […]

The odd couple: Nancy Pelosi and St. Joseph

posted by jmcgee

Um, isn’t that feast she’s talking about in May? I’m just sayin’ …

St. Joseph’s Day, 2010: real estate’s best friend

posted by jmcgee

With the housing market being what it is, more people are turning to everybody’s most venerated father and carpenter to help sell their homes. One take on the subject: Saint Joseph is known as the patron saint of this industry. […]

St. Joe

posted by jmcgee

For the beloved saint’s feast day, here’s a striking and unusual image of the carpenter and his young son, by artist John Collier.  Doesn’t he look a little like Patrick Stewart?  H/T Dymphna.

Report: Garrido to become first journalist ever beatified

posted by jmcgee

This is news to me — and, I expect, to a lot of journos. I hadn’t realized that no journalist has ever been named a saint, or even been beatified.   Take a look: Manuel Lozano Garrido, a Spanish journalist of […]

G’day: Australia gets its first saint

posted by jmcgee

And, it’s hardly a surprise: Mary MacKillop, a nun revered for her work with needy children as much as for her rebellious streak, is to become Australia’s first Roman Catholic saint on October 17, Pope Benedict XVI said Friday. The […]

Blaise of glory

posted by jmcgee

When I was growing up, going to Catholic school in Maryland, it was a yearly winter ritual: every February 3rd, the Sisters of St. Joseph would line us up and lead us into the church, to receive a blessing of […]

Here’s a pope quiz: how many are saints?

posted by jmcgee

Not as many as you may think — and David Gibson raises a few interesting issues in his New York Times piece: When Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree last month that nudged nearer to sainthood his controversial wartime predecessor, […]

Mother Teresa to be on 2010 stamp

posted by jmcgee

How’s this for First Class? The U.S. Postal Service has announced that Mother Teresa will be among those honored with her very own stamp next year: Nobel Peace Prize honoree Mother Teresa, legendary actress Katharine Hepburn, Negro Leagues Baseball and […]

John Paul, Pius both now “venerable”

posted by jmcgee

Two 20th century popes are on track to become saints: Pope Benedict XVI has declared his predecessor John Paul II ‘venerable’, moving the long-serving Polish-born pope closer to sainthood. The decree bestowing the title is the first step towards beatification […]

Could an excommunicated nun become a saint?

posted by jmcgee

Maybe. Things are looking up for the sainthood cause of a Sister of Saint Joseph from Australia: The imminent sainthood of Mary MacKillop is expected to be an early Christmas present for Australia’s Catholics. Nuns campaigning for her canonisation say […]

What’s his line? A classic Fulton Sheen moment

posted by jmcgee

As the world marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Fulton Sheen today, I thought it would be fun to look back at a memorable performance that still, all these years later, is a delight.   The TV star […]

“O Saint Nicholas, bountiful Father…”

posted by jmcgee

PRAYER TO ST. NICHOLAS OF MYRA O Saint Nicholas, bountiful Father and special Patron of our Byzantine Catholic Church. You are a shepherd and teacher to all who invoke your protection, and who, by devout prayer, call upon you for […]

Newman’s own: Deacon Jack visits Birmingham

posted by jmcgee

The American deacon who was healed through the intercession of John Henry Newman is now on Newman’s home turf: Deacon Jack Sullivan, whose miraculous healing in 2001 is the basis for Newman’s Beatification next year, has arrived in England on […]

The very model of a modern major catechist

posted by jmcgee

Just in time for All Saints Day (next Sunday), a friend sent along this clever variation on a familiar Gilbert & Sullivan patter song. Enjoy.

Little Flower, big news

posted by jmcgee

Wander over to The Catholic Key blog and you’ll find some remarkable news that connects the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux, with this week’s trailblazing move by the Vatican regarding the Anglican communion:  I am the Anglican Catholic Bishop […]

From Knight to Saint?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The founder of the Knights of Columbus may be inching closer to sainthood: The cause for sainthood of Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, took another step forward this week, with the submission of a supplemental report […]

Remembering Francesco Forgione — a.k.a., Padre Pio

posted by deacon greg kandra

On this feast of St. Pio I decided to revisit a homily I delivered earlier this year, when my parish dedicated a special chapel in his name. A snip: One of my favorite stories about him happened during the early […]

A saint for our times?

posted by deacon greg kandra

It seems that way. Devotion to St. Joseph is evidently picking up among homeowners (or home sellers). And the New York Times has more: Lord knows it’s rough out there in the housing market. Still, you had to feel bad […]

Sullivan’s travels: deacon cured by Newman will visit his oratory and grave

posted by deacon greg kandra

The deacon whose miraculous cure is leading to the beatification of John Henry Newman is about to make the most meaningful pilgrimage of his life, to Newman’s home and grave in England: Deacon Jack Sullivan of Massachusetts and his wife […]

The Birth of Mary

posted by deacon greg kandra

“The Birth of the Virgin Mary” by Esteban Murillo (Louvre, Paris) Father of mercy, give your people help and strength from heaven. The birth of the Virgin Mary’s Son was the dawn of our salvation. May this celebration of her […]

Popcorn with the pontiff: Benedict as film critic

posted by deacon greg kandra

The pope had some warm words recently for a TV film about one of his favorite saints: Pope Benedict XVI praised a made-for-television movie dedicated to St. Augustine, saying the two-part miniseries “represents every aspect of the human life experience […]

It’s Great: a little feast day chant

posted by deacon greg kandra

Have you sent out your St. Gregory the Great cards this year? (Me, I’m waiting for tomorrow and the big day-after sales at Macy’s…) But to put everyone in the mood, here’s a little Gregorian chant, below. Enjoy.

St. Juan Diego’s tilma: “completely outside” science

posted by deacon greg kandra

In the middle of marking two feasts of the Blessed Mother — the Assumption and the Queenship of Mary — Zenit has published a report on one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Virgin: Juan Diego’s tilma. Take a […]

Don’t kiss the saint

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s evidently the latest rule enacted in Spain as a way of averting swine flu. Details: For centuries, pilgrims have visited one of Roman Catholicism’s holiest shrines—the cathedral holding the purported remains of St. James the Apostle, Spain’s patron saint. […]

“She gave all that up to do this great work for the church”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m old enough to remember the excitement generated when Elizabeth Ann Seton was declared a saint in 1975. (It was an especially big deal in my neck of the woods, Maryland.) Now, they’re about to mark the bicentennial of her […]

A patron for handgun owners?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Um, yes. That would be St. Gabriel Possenti — if a group of “handgunners” gets its way. CNS posted a brief item about their efforts to have him declared their patron saint, and that led me to this website — […]

What’s the deal-ee-o with the giglio?

posted by deacon greg kandra

You might find an answer here, with a story we aired last night on “Currents.” And right here we have a profile of the #1 capo. Ah, Brooklyn! You can also find a write-up in the local paper. Enjoy.

An excommunicated nun as a saint?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Could happen. Really. That savvy saint expert, James Martin, S.J. has the following news about one controversial woman headed for sainthood: Mother Mary McKillop, the foundress of the Australian-based Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, was, in 1871, […]

The Newman miracle: one deacon’s “umerited gift” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Massachusetts deacon who was miraculously healed by the intercession of John Henry Newman is talking about the event that has lead to the late Cardinal’s beatification. Take a look: A day after Pope Benedict XVI ruled that John “Jack” […]

Pope: tests “seem to conclude” St. Paul is buried in his ancient tomb

posted by deacon greg kandra

As the year devoted to St. Paul draws to a close, there’s word that the Vatican ordered tests performed on the saint’s tomb and the bones it contains. From the Associated Press: The first-ever scientific tests on what are believed […]

A miracle for Emil?

posted by deacon greg kandra

An American chaplain and hero from the Korean war could be on the path to sainthood, if a miracle now attributed to him can be confirmed. The details: People in Colwich like to touch Chase Kear’s arm or his shoulder […]

Relic of St. Therese stolen in Toronto

posted by deacon greg kandra

A bizarre and sad bit of news out of Canada: A Catholic Church in Toronto is hoping for a miracle — that the thief who stole a saint’s relic will have a change of heart and return the holy object. […]

A Maryland miracle?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of this news of a possible saint in nearby New Jersey, Maryland (my home state — go Terps!) may soon make way for one, as well. From the Catholic Review in Baltimore: Go home and prepare […]

A saint in New Jersey?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some people are starting to think so. The local press is reporting that an investigation is underway to determine if a nun who died over 20 years ago is responsible for a miracle: If Mother Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory is […]

Over easy, with a side order of grace

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just in time for Mary’s month of May comes this little oddity from sunny California: A Mexican restaurant in this border town is drawing the curious and the faithful to see what some believe is a likeness of the Virgin […]

St. Joe, the working man

posted by deacon greg kandra

This seems a fitting and timely memorial to honest labor, on this day devoted to the patron saint of workers.

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 […]

Hello, Newman

posted by deacon greg kandra

That familiar line from “Seinfeld” seems apt, as the Vatican prepares to welcome the beatification of that other Newman, John Henry. From Whispers: A panel of theological consultors agreed unanimously that the inexplicable healing of an American man who was […]

“Jesus, I Trust in You”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This popped up last night on EWTN, and I was pleased to find it on YouTube (they do have something else besides Susan Boyle videos…) It’s “Jesus, I Trust in You,” performed by Angelina. “In the inevitable trials and difficulties […]

Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the irrepressible Fr. James Martin’s DVD “Who Cares About the Saints?”

Scorcese plans film on Japanese martyrs

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Zenit‘s Hollywood desk: An Academy Award-winning director is planning a movie on Japanese Christians martyred in the 17th century. Martin Scorsese will film the movie in New Zealand and release it in 2010, according to the Japanese daily Asahi […]

Candle becomes a burning issue

posted by deacon greg kandra

A controversial image of President Obama is causing a small war to break out in the California city named for a patron of peace: He may be the Second Coming to many San Franciscans – but one local Catholic priest […]

From Lourdes: “Love overcomes, love delights”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Fr. Jim Martin dropped me a line to let me know about this timely clip, from his DVD “Who Cares About the Saints?” It’s the portion that deals with St. Bernadette, and he recounts the story of the appearances of […]

A John Paul miracle for John Paul?

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert reader sent this my way: the poignant story of a baby in need of a miracle, and the namesake who just might provide it: Tracy and Tami Hauser are praying for a miracle and asking others to do […]

Happy St. Vincent Pallotti Week!

posted by deacon greg kandra

As Catholic Schools Week draws to a close, I was delighted to find this piece in the Catholic Standard about my alma mater, St. Vincent Pallotti High School, in bucolic Laurel, Maryland. The school has changed a lot in the […]

The saint in the underwear drawer

posted by deacon greg kandra

Fr. Jim Martin, whose beautiful book, “My Life with the Saints,” has become something of a modern classic, has now branched out into the DVD universe. Below is a snip from “Who Cares About the Saints?”, now available from Loyala […]

You are there: Fatima, 1917

posted by deacon greg kandra

Fascinating pictures capture a miraculous moment. H/T New Advent and Patrick Madrid.

The saint with the quill in his hand

posted by deacon greg kandra

January 24th marks the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers and journalists. McNamara’s Blog has more on his life and work. Below, a familiar and timeless piece of advice from the good saint — words welcome at […]

Homily for January 18, 2009: Dedication of the St. Pio Chapel

posted by deacon greg kandra

This afternoon, at the 5 p.m. vigil mass, retired Bishop Thomas Daily will celebrate mass at our parish, and rededicate what was once the baptism chapel. It will become a chapel in honor of St. Pio, “Padre Pio.” My homily […]

The Immaculate Conception

posted by deacon greg kandra

“We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, […]

Jolly old St. Nicholas

posted by deacon greg kandra

St. Nicholas, from St. Nicholas Anglican Church in Cardiff, Wales. Today marks the feast of the legendary and enigmatic St. Nicholas. While little is known about his life, the web is chock full of links and lore. You can find […]

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 […]

“The family that prays together…” priest up for sainthood

posted by deacon greg kandra

Archbishop Fulton Sheen isn’t the only gifted Catholic communicator in line for canonization. USA TODAY has the latest on the fabled and much-beloved Fr. Patrick Peyton: Recognized widely for his catchphrase — “the family that prays together stays together” — […]

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

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

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

Happy birthday, Dorothy Day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

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

All Saint’s Day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

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

Be a saint: All Saints Day homily from 2007

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

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

Boo!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

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

A couple of saints who are a couple

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I know of at least one saint who is married: my wife. (She has to be a saint, being married to me. Really.) But the official communion of saints doesn’t, otherwise, include a lot of people who shared a marriage […]

A heavenly Sheen

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For me, Fulton Sheen remains the gold standard for Catholic preaching — and his connection to the world of communications (notably, television) has always resonated with me. He also has a personal connection to my parish in Queens. In the […]

Little Audrey: a saint of silence?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Many will remember the story of the mysterious Audrey Santo, known as “Little Audrey,” who reportedly manifested remarkable healing powers during her short life. She was afflicted with a condition known as akinetic mutism, rendering her unable to speak or […]

October 7th: Our Lady of the Rosary

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Madonna of the Rosary (with Mysteries of the Rosary)by Lorenzo Lotto(1539) Oil on canvasChurch of San Nicolo, Cingoli The Rosary is a way of contemplating the face of Christ seeing him – we may say – with the eyes of […]

The communion of saints…online!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here’s something useful: a new online database listing every saint and blessed. It comes on something called the eCatholicHub, and it appears to be the first online resource of its kind. As they describe it: Starting in the summer […]

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 […]

The Little Flower

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church being a body composed of different members, the most essential, the most noble of all the organs would not be wanting to her; I understood that the […]

St. Pio: “Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Today marks the feast of St. Pio, Padre Pio — and the 40th anniversary of his death. Padre Pio has, in a remarkably short time, become one of the most popular and beloved saints in the Roman canon. Below is […]

Our Lady of Sorrows: “Can the human heart refrain, from partaking in her pain?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows Adriaen Isenbrant1518-35 Father,as your Son was raised on the cross,his mother Mary stood by him, sharing his sufferings.May your Church be united with Christin his suffering and deathand so come to share in his […]

No greater love

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I don’t think I’ve read a more gut-wrenching or soul-stirring story this week than this remarkable report from the Washington Post. I’m reminded of this Sunday’s gospel: “God so loved the world…” What will a father do for his child? […]

Pilgrim’s progress: more people taking spiritual journeys

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of my dreams is to one day take a pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St. Paul — visiting places like Corinth, sloshing around in a small boat on the Mediterranean, imagining what it must have been like to be […]

A Day like no other

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few months back, I posted some news about a documentary on Dorothy Day that is now being made available. With Day’s name once again popping up in the news, I thought I’d re-post the trailer for the film below. […]

What’s that strange sound coming from Staten Island?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It has to be Dorothy Day, turning over in her grave. To understand why, read this. “True obedience is a matter of love, which makes it voluntary, not compelled by fear or force.” -Dorothy Day

St. Greg: “Servant of the servants of God”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I couldn’t let the day slip by without a prayerful salute to my patron: St. Gregory the Great. Deacon, monk, writer, musician, pope. Among other things, he was the one who coined the phrase “servant of the servants of God” […]

Everybody’s got a hungry heart

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Everybody needs a place to restEverybody wants to have a homeDont make no difference what nobody saysAint nobody like to be alone. Everybody’s got a hungry heart…” That was how Bruce Springsteen expressed something St. Augustine had understood 1600 years […]

Saint Monica

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The mother of St. Augustine. We celebrate her feast today. The beautiful image above comes from St. Monica’s Church, in the Diocese of Trenton, from a study of the saint done by John Nava, who crafted the stunning tapestries of […]

Have you seen her?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The striking image above is a depiction of Mary in Filipino dress. The description here comes from the blog Stopping 2 Ask 4 Directions: The image above, by Araceli Dans, is the first depiction of the Virgin Mary by an […]

Beatification set for parents of St. Therese of Lisieux

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The pope has now given his formal approval, and the parents of one of the most beloved saints of modern times are on track for beatification this fall. From CNS: Pope Benedict XVI has approved the beatification of Louis and […]

To the Max

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Today marks the feast of one of the great martyrs of the last century, Maximilian Kolbe. And, fittingly, The Anchoress offers us — as part of her ongoing online retreat — some reflections on sacrifice. Giving more than you ever […]

The Madonna March

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just in time for an important Marian feast — the Assumption — a large group of soldiers is on the march, headed toward a famous shrine devoted to Mary. Amazingly, most of the Americans on this little pilgrimage aren’t even […]

St. Clare, the saint of clarity

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As she kicks off the first full day of her online retreat, The Anchoress reminds us that today is the feast of St. Clare, patroness of television. Trust me: this is a medium urgently in need of heavenly intercession! The […]

It happened in Lubbock

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Marian apparitions and messages are not all that rare — although those that are formally approved by the Church are. One that has not received that approval happened 20 years ago in Texas. It had a powerful impact on the […]

“Father Damien, I need your help…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last month, it was reported that Blessed Damien would finally be named a saint. Another miracle, we were told, had been attributed to his intervention. Now the woman who received that miracle is at last telling her story. From the […]

“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 […]

Our Lady of the Southern Cross

posted by deacon greg kandra

A friend sent this picture my way, and it has to be one of the most beautiful renderings of the Blessed Mother I’ve seen. It’s Our Lady of the Southern Cross, patroness of World Youth Day 2008. She is also […]

Homily for July 9, 2008: Memorial of St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions, the Chinese Martyrs

posted by deacon greg kandra

Tonight, my parish will offer a special mass to commemorate the Chinese Martyrs, whose memorial we celebrate July 9. This is my homily for the occasion. Anyone who saw the 2002 Super Bowl saw something unforgettable. And it had nothing […]

BREAKING NEWS: Pope approves miracle for Blessed Damien

posted by deacon greg kandra

It looks like the reports are true, and we are about to get a new saint. According to the AP: Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of a 19th century Belgian priest who ministered […]

“I am Our Lady of America”

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the more curious — and perhaps least-known — reported appearances of the Blessed Mother occurred in the United States about 50 years ago, and it’s still prompting debate among the faithful. She’s called “Our Lady of America,” and […]

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 […]

From “The Wanderer” to “The Thunderer”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Did you know St. Jerome has a connection to doo-wop? This, from today’s New York Times: An Italian-American bluesman records a song in Florida. An Irish-American disc jockey plays it at a radio station in Woodstock, N.Y. He tells a […]

Something about Mary

posted by deacon greg kandra

A favorite joke: St. Peter is giving Jesus His monthly tour around heaven. Jesus notices there are some new faces who clearly don’t belong there. He’s understandably concerned. “Peter,” says Jesus, “I know who these people are, and some of […]

An apparition approved: say hello to Our Lady of Laus

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, it took a while, but the Church — according to this report — has given her approval to an apparition in France: A Roman Catholic bishop said Sunday that the church has officially recognized that the Virgin Mary appeared […]

St. Isaac?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not far from my office is the beautiful church of St. Paul the Apostle, the headquarters for the Paulists. It’s a great place to visit on a lunch hour; they have Adoration on Friday afternoons and a little shop that […]

“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 […]

Praying for profits from St. Pio

posted by deacon greg kandra

As most have heard by now, Padre Pio’s body went on display yesterday, to mark the 40th anniversary of his death. And the New York Times takes a closer look at what that may mean for the people of his […]

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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

A milestone is reached in the sainthood cause for Fulton Sheen

posted by deacon greg kandra

A key moment in the canonization process of Fulton Sheen is drawing to a close, as Clerical Whispers notes: A milestone in the cause for sainthood of El Paso native Archbishop Fulton Sheen comes Sunday, with a special mass of […]

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

posted by deacon greg kandra

Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, intercede for the Church, protect the Holy Father, help all who invoke you in their necessities. Since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your […]

The three wise men’s next stop: Tucson

posted by deacon greg kandra

You’d think, after following that star from the East, the wise men would want to rest a while. But no. The journey of the magi isn’t over. They’re visiting Arizona this week, where fragments of the relics of the three […]

On Our Lady of Guadalupe: “The child in me has a sense of wonder”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is a time rich with Marian feasts, beginning with today (the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception) and ending with January 1 (Mary the Mother of God.) In the middle, of course, come two great feasts that prominently feature Mary […]

Prayer on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

posted by deacon greg kandra

Let us pray,[on this feast of Mary,who experienced the perfection of God’s saving power.]Father,the image of the Virgin is found in the Church.Mary had a faith that your Spirit preparedand a love that never knew sin,for you kept her sinlessfrom […]

Jolly old St. Nicholas

posted by deacon greg kandra

Since today is the feast of the legendary saint who is, in fact, Santa Claus, I thought you’d like to see how he is represented at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. The tapestries that […]

When heaven calls

posted by deacon greg kandra

If — like countless Catholics — you have your sock drawer stuffed with torn and crumpled Holy Cards, have no fear. Modern technology is creating a new kind of card, for a new kind of Catholic. You can now get […]

Our Lady of Guadalupe wins over a new following

posted by deacon greg kandra

The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe doesn’t happen until next week (December 12), but the Los Angeles Times has laid the groundwork with an interesting piece on how this particular vision of Our Lady is now being seen and […]

Fulton Sheen’s new book

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the Church’s most admired and beloved preachers has a new book coming out, nearly 30 years after his death: Basilica Press has announced the first new book by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in over 25 years. The book, […]

Singing a new song of Bernadette: a saint for today

posted by deacon greg kandra

With the 150th anniversary of the Lourdes apparitions approaching next year, there is more attention than usual being focused on this remarkable place — and now the bishop who oversees that corner of France has paid a visit to the […]

Remembering the Vietnamese martyrs

posted by deacon greg kandra

In a tradition that seems to be spreading, thousands of Vietnamese gathered this weekend in California to celebrate and commemorate the martyrs who were canonized nearly 20 years ago. The Los Angeles Times takes note: Several thousand Vietnamese American Roman […]

Argentina is blessed — and so is Ceferino

posted by deacon greg kandra

Very big news from south of the border this weekend,as Latin America celebrated the beatification, for the first time, of one of its own. From AFP: Tens of thousands of faithful turned out Sunday to witness a ceremony honoring Ceferino […]

Homily for November 1, 2007: All Saints

posted by deacon greg kandra

Originally published in CONNECT! by Liturgical Publications, Inc..Shortly after he converted to Catholicism in the late 1930s, Thomas Merton was walking the streets of New York with his friend, Robert Lax. Lax was Jewish, and he asked Merton what he […]

Biggest beatification. Ever.

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was an event that mingled pomp and politics in a way that is rare for a ceremony that was billed as strictly spiritual. But it resulted in a beatification for the record books: The Vatican held the biggest mass […]

Fr. Damien, priest to lepers, may soon be St. Damien

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the Church’s most celebrated missionaries may be closer to being officially declared a saint. A newspaper in Hawaii breaks the news: Father Damien DeVeuster, the Belgian priest who served Hansen’s disease patients at Kalaupapa, Molokai, and later died […]

Was Padre Pio a fraud?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few weeks ago, some people were running in circles with their hair on fire, saying Mother Teresa was an atheist and a fraud. Now, it seems, they’re doing the same thing about Padre Pio and his stigmata: John XXIII […]

St. Luke: physician, artist…blogger?

posted by deacon greg kandra

He was pretty prolific, after all, and gave us two pivotal works of the New Testament, which managed to recount the life of Christ and the early days of the Church. Not too shabby. He also stands as the only […]

Holy Hoosiers: the faithful flock to an Indiana shrine

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s amazing what a little sainthood can do. A shrine in Indiana is turning into a major tourist destination, and place of pilgrimage, a year after the woman who founded it was declared a saint. From the Indianapolis Star: Peace […]

Ecstasy

posted by deacon greg kandra

Since this is the feast of St. Teresa of Avila — “Big Teresa,” as she is sometimes known — I thought it worth posting what may be the most stunning image of her: the breathtaking sculpture by Bernini that manages […]

Mother Teresa: “She was the worst patient I ever had”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a side of Mother Teresa we haven’t heard much about: the saint-as-patient. Her cardiologist spoke at a gathering in Pennsylvania recently, and the Pittsburgh paper has the scoop: In the last seven years of her life, Mother Teresa was […]

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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